Monday, December 31, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 61

Episode 61 – December 30 – Another Sunday. These are always the slowest days around and tend to drag on the longest. For some reason they seem even longer than Saturdays. Yes, Kris, there really is something in a Sunday. I really shouldn’t have posted this link because I found myself singing along with it. At least, at home or in the crowd I can belt out his songs. The funny thing listening to this song it reminded me something I missed from long ago. Since moving to North Vancouver, I have not heard the sound of church bells on Sunday morning. I remember growing and always hearing the bells coming from Our Lady of Sorrows. Jen Jen, I may have to borrow your new/old clock.
I am definitely sleeping better with the combination of a much quieter room and being able to sleep on my side with my legs curled up a bit.
Layla is back again today and that’s a good thing.
Looking at myself in the mirror while shaving, I have come to the conclusion that I’m in dire need of a haircut as well as a pedicure. My eyebrows desperately need clipping; I’m beginning to look a lot like Andy Rooney. I’d also swear that the hair on my legs is getting longer and thicker. A spa day may need to be in order. And I think I’ve even earned a facial after all this.
Doing some statistical analysis, I have figured out that my followers are almost as pathetic as me when it comes to night life. It seems that the highest page visits during the week are on Saturday. Interesting though, the lowest day seems to be Friday. I will respect all of you more if you tell that you partied so hard Friday nights you are too hung-over to do it all again Saturday night.
I almost made a terrible fashion faux pas today and I have to at least partially Layla. They were out of larger sized gowns when I washed up this morning. The horror! The horror! I would be wearing the same outfit two days in a row. People will think I slept in my Saturday night clothes. Luckily, Layla was able to find a new one before company arrived.
My company was my good friends, Scott and Lorraine. They came by this afternoon bearing more goodies! Muffins! They took me downstairs again to the cafeteria for a cappuccino. We had a great visit, yakking about everything. 
I’m sure glad Layla was around to supervise my wheelchair transfers today over a less confident nurse or one who is more by-the-book who probably would have freaked out because to and from the bed at one point I was full weight bearing on my right foot without braces. This is supposed to be a no-no. Layla alos made sure I was upgraded on my chart to “Stand-by” as opposed to “one person assist” on my transfers. This means the nurse or physio is just there to supervise my swan-like bed hopping. At one point, I was rated as “four person assist” with the overhead lift.
I have come to the conclusion that the bed scale is totally effed up. Layla weighed me again and it had me down 36 kilos from the maximum reading and 31 down from the figure last week. I could only wish.
Layla and I had both forgotten to check my blood sugar before breakfast so we thought we would do it before dinner. When she came in to do it, I spoke loudly “If the reading is way off, blame Edna and daughter. It’s their fault!” I was actually referring to Carol who kept bringing me over the Cookies by George but her other daughter, Janet was here at the time and totally out of the loop on the joke but had a good laugh when she realized what was going on. The reading happened to be 4.9. So Layla  exclaimed “Quick get Dennis another  cookie!”
Dinner came and because I missed the dinner fairy, I got roast beef. I hadn’t had beef that tender since Panama last February. In other words, I could just as well be chewing on my flip flops. I had to saw through it rather than just cut it. Poor Edna, with her broken wing, she would have had no luck at all even with her daughter helping. They ended up just giving up. The calories I burned up just cutting and chewing earned me a muffin.
Once again I must reiterate that semi-private is truly an oxymoron. Nothing is really confidential in this room. I hear everything that goes on with Edna and the converse is the same. I am lucky that she has such a friendly family but they have to stop tempting me with all those cookies and beer. And turns out that Edna’s granddaughter, Kim’s aunt is my friend and co-worker, Trish. Another small world moment.
*Lorraine’s going to haunt me again for that link* ;-)
Finished off one of my berry muffins and hit the sack.
To be continued...

Sunday, December 30, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 60

Episode 60 – December 29 – Well I guess you could call this the diamond jubilee episode even though 75 is also considered diamond. Hopefully we won’t have to deal with that controversy.
The good thing is that I have Layla back as my day nurse so the weekend won’t be totally boring.
Pam called around 11 to let me know Clarabelle is okay and running fine. That’s one less thing to worry about.
Adrienne came by at 10 and told me she had a lot of free time so if I was up to it she could come back before lunch and we could walk some more and then transfer into the wheelchair to sit up for lunch. I, of course, was more than up for the idea. We doubled the amount of walking I did yesterday with even less effort and we didn’t even bother with a physio assistant being that the only thing the assistant was used for was to carry my water cup. We then got back to the room and performed another graceful bed to wheelchair transfer.
We had Kelsey, the on-call OT came by and made some adjustments to the angle of the wheelchair legrests in hope of reducing the pressure on my coccyx. The changes helped but I’m still having tailbone problems. It doesn’t make sense why I don’t get the same problem in bed. In the chair, after about an hour my tail bone feels brusied. In bed the butt pain is caused more by sheering and feels more like a scrape or a burn. The sheering effect is unfortunately normal but is lessened now that I can shift around much more.
I discovered that Adrienne has the same form of directional dyslexia, I have. She told me to turn left and I made her point instead. She was relieved to hear she wasn’t the only one with this problem. I’m a great navigator on road trips but the driver has to watch for my hand signals through the corner of their eyes. BJ’s sister, Sue who was an elementary school teacher once told me of a hint she would teach her pupils. “Look at the back of your left hand and it form an L for left.” Me: “but the right hand doesn’t form an R”. She just gave up and wrote me off as hopeless. This is a warning to anyone getting spoken directions from me, make sure I go over them one step at a time and let me think them through.
I had another small victory getting ready to get up to walk. I was able to put my left sock on myself and was only an inch or two away from getting the right one on. It may sound trivial but anyone who has any injury to your knees, hips or back will know how difficult this simple task is.
I’m also quite proud of my wheelchair to bed transfer today. Layla came into assist just in case I had problems but I managed to do it smoothly in just a couple of moves basically hopping on my ass. Layla only had to deal with the aftermath of moving my tables back in place and returning my wheelchair to storage.
I do believe I’m ready for the next whatever it may be. I think I’ve proven that I can weight bear and need to get past the Frankenstein walk. Unfortunately, the next step has to be authorized by the doctors and they are nowhere to be found over the holidays.
Obviously, doctors are not the only ones who take time off during the holidays. It appears that there is a shortage of nurses even in the casual pool. Today because there was no one available, Jayne and Sonya were working on the directly with the patients as primary caregivers. Sonya usually handles new admissions up from surgery then turns them over to other RNs. I had not seen Jayne doing any traditional nursing duties until today. Her duties normally are more administrative. They even brought in a casual care aid at around mid-morning. The problem with bringing in a casual when you are this short staffed is that a casual requires more supervision and you possibly lose the benefit of extra staff.
Being in adjacent the nurses’ station gives one a great view to observe everything going. It is interesting to watch the families of new arrivals running back and forth to the counter asking questions and demanding immediate attention because Mom is apparently the only patient on the floor.
I keep coming back to this topic but let’s face it I live in my bed and everything I do; I do it in my bed. Layla for some reason always seems to do a two for one swap for my urinal bottles; for every one she takes away she brings me two empties. By the end of my shift I’m well stocked for a long road trip.
Cat took over as my night nurse. She is a complete change from Layla. Both are great nurses but while Layla is always so happy-go-lucky; Cat is more serious and caring.
I’m finally beginning to make a little more headway reading “Shantaram” and I was able to knock off over a hundred pages so that’s 300 down and only 600 to go.
Another Cookie by George, another orange and another blue pill then it was light’s out.
To be continued...

Saturday, December 29, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 59

 Episode 59 - December 28 – Today would have been the 61st birthday of one of my most beloved friend, Barb aka BJ. We were close friends for almost thirty years. She was always there for me if I needed a hug or a swift kick in the butt and believe there were many times both choices came in to play. I still have to urge to pick up the phone and call to tell her about the happy things and to ask for advice the not so happy things. If you’re on Facebook you can click on this link to my photo tribute that tells you all about our special friendship.
This also marks the end of the eighth week since my surgery.
My sleep was not quite as good as last night because Edna had some issues and the nurses were in and out several times. None the less, I was reasonably well rested being able to sleep on my side finally.
Cat is back was back as my day nurse again so I knew I’d be well looked after under the assumption that my big move would not likely come today.
Jayne, the charge nurse for the floor came into see me about a minor thing but ended up talking quite a bit longer. Basically, she is extremely unhappy with my progress but not because of me but the slowness of my treatment. She thinks that they should have weaned me off the overhead lift at least a week ago and I agree. She also felt that the physios should have me up walking at least twice a day and considering that there are very few elective surgery patients on the floor at this time of year and mostly long term elderly patients there is no reason not to treat someone that could benefit from it and get him up and going quicker.
Edna’s daughter, Carol, is almost as bad an influence on me as her husband. Edna’s financial advisors sent her a very large assortment from Cookies by George and Carol made sure I acquired a couple. Me like cookie!!
Bryan stopped by before lunch just because he was in town. What a good kid! :-)
Adrienne, the physio came in and wanted to know if I was up to doing some walking.  Well, the answer to that was obvious. They got everything set up by adjusting the bed and the walker and then we were in business. I surprised everyone by walking a lot further than they expected; at least three times longer than I did yesterday and I’m sure I could have gone further. Besides the fact that they are obviously going to slow with regard there is a time constraint on the physios. We also had another project to work on; the wheelchair transfer.
This is something that I had been mapping out in my mind for the last couple of days now that I could sit in the chair. Having worked in the wheelchair business I knew the basic mechanics of wheelchair transfers and had done it many times for demonstration purposes. Adrianne and I went over what we were going to do while we waited for Cat so she was aware of what we were doing and how I was getting back into bed. Our timing was great because one of the physios, Leanne, arrived from the fifth floor to find out how I transferred. Apparently they don’t have overhead lifts on the fifth floor. As a precaution Adrienne kept the sling in the chair in case we couldn’t get back manually. I made it no problem so we decided to try the reverse. I did it again on my own although it was pretty. Imagine a drunken walrus flopping onto a rock. Hey, I wasn’t auditioning for Swan Lake. So once again, I had to get back to the chair and managed fine.
Adrienne did something that so reminded me of BJ. Every time Barb would come over to my apartment, the first she would was run to the kitchen and grab a pitcher of water and perform emergency resuscitation on my plants. Adrienne took one look at my poinsettia on my table and rushed it over to the sink. Gardening indoors or outdoors has never been my forte.
One thing I am beginning to realize is that the longer one is laid up in bed the worse their concentration and short term memory gets. This evening I could not remember if I had my meds with my dinner, I hit the call button and asked Cat if she had brought them already and she said she had. I do remember us discussing some issues regarding a couple of them but I cannot remember taking them. Cat says it is on the chart so I guess maybe I took them. And before anyone says anything, I will point out that none of the drugs involved are any of the fun ones so that’s not the reason. And for that matter, none of my meds excluding my sleeping pill are in the fun category any way.
I had asked the Crown Prince to move Clarabelle out of the carport into another space to provide room for a friend’s daughter to park in while she’s in class at Capilano University. He called me back and told me she wouldn’t start. I found this puzzling because Pam had emailed last week to tell me that Dennis had been starting her up weekly and she was purring like a kitten. I called Pam and she said she’d get Dennis to double check and sure enough she wouldn’t turn over. He would have tried jumpstarting but he couldn’t find the battery. This is not a surprise because it’s hidden under the floor board on the passenger side. Dennis will try again tomorrow. I hope she’s okay.
While doing my leg exercises tonight, I realized that I could still see the tan lines caused by my flip flops. God has a sick sense of humour.
With compliments of Edna and her co-conspirators I enjoyed another Cookie by George and my orange and with the aid of my little blue pill, I drifted off to la la land.
To be continued...

Friday, December 28, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 58

Episode 58 – December 27 – I did something I haven’t done in over 8 weeks, I slept on my side with my legs partially curled. It felt so much more natural than the way I’ve been sleeping for all this stay; flat on my back with my legs locked straight out. I woke up with a few different old guy aches and  pains but I worked those out quickly. And I’m expecting a thank you note from my butt for giving it a few hours rest.
My nurse for the day was Cecelie who is very much on the ball. I may have spoke of her before. She and her husband moved to Shanghai to work and as a way to see the world and she’s back home on a working holiday.
Once again, I would like to point out that my main purpose in writing this journal is not to elicit sympathy but more for my own therapy. In the process, I have shared my feelings both positive and negative. In doing so, I have always hoped to bring you a few smiles, a few tears and a few giggles. I was reminded once again last night that my ordeal is just a temporary setback when I received a note from a friend about a family member who has also been hospitalized for almost the same amount of time as me but with a much less optimistic outlook. My thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family.
Yesterday was Wednesday and normally it is my regular shower day but because of lack of staff on a holiday it got postponed until today. Cecelie had the nurses’ aide, Jane go upstairs for the shower stretcher. Neither Cecelie or Jane had done my shower before and Cecelie did not realize that moving me would take two people but we figured out that Cecelie wouldn’t be necessary for the actual washing just to help push the stretcher to and from. The big change for the trip today was that I suggested that if we got the bed higher than the stretcher I could probably do the transfer without the overhead lift. I was more than successful and did not require any assistance at all back and forth. It was also great being able to sit up on the trolley and wash myself.
When I’m finished my shower and I’ve been for the most dried off with towels, the procedure is to wrap my body in a couple of warmed up flannel sheets so it looks like a shroud and I have a towel on my head the help dry off my hair. I always have the urge to pull the towel over my face while in the elevator and then pop my head up at the right time and freak out someone passing by. I am a very sick and twisted man. Hee hee!
I do not know how it took me so long and if you know me and my clumsiness you would be wondering the same but after 58 days I finally did it but it did take some help from Cecelie. After getting back into bed I was reaching out to roll my bedside table closer and she saw and tried to help. We managed to knock a partially full urinal bottle onto the floor. It may have been the first time but I’m sure I am quite capable of doing it one or two times more.
I received a professional visit today from the charge nurse on the rehab floor, Katha, who needed some more information about my general health and then informed me that I should be transferred down to the rehab floor by the end of the weekend. . Maeve the OT came in and got some more details about my townhouse layout. On the rehab floor, I will be getting much more intense and consistent physiotherapy. I can’t wait to abuse my body more. I’m such a masochist. We are moving in the right direction.
Dad and Betty came by just before lunch and beefed up my mandarin orange supply. I better get out of here soon. The supply of the actual Japanese ones should be just about depleted in the stores. And before you ask they, no, they did not bring up another milkshake. They did bring me the latest issue of Liverpool FC and he brought me up to date about his younger brother.  And of course, we talked about the big Notre Dame/Alabama game coming on January 7. That was my new goal for a release date because I so want to watch that on my big screen at home but because of all the lost therapy time over the holidays I’m betting it’s going to be at least the end of the week.
I was almost beginning to think that I wasn’t going get any therapy today and likely wouldn’t have if I didn’t ask about it. The physio on my side of the floor only worked a half day but Jennifer who  had been treating me originally came over from the other side and got me up in the walker or actually for the most part I got myself up in the walker and I ended walking about twice as far as Monday and I made a point of not letting Jennifer or assistant help get back in bed. Even Jennifer who had been working with me since the beginning was amazed at the progress I’ve made since last week. The only thing she helped with is taking off my socks and braces. The non-slip socks are provided by the hospital so I’d to thank you all once again for paying your taxes. I love socialized medicine! Actually, I think the hospital also provides them provides them as a cheap way to polish the floor because most patients shuffle not walk.
I have become so used to the call bell ringing all the time; I’m tempted to hit my button when it isn’t ringing. ;-)
I’m so glad I decided to hold off eating the turkey dinner Santa Andy brought me Christmas night. There was only one entree choice tonight, baked chicken. My plate arrive beige again; chicken with gravy, cauliflower and mashed potatoes. On the other hand, the turkey dinner was delicious and plentiful. It smelled so tasty the nurses in the hall could pick up the scent. Thank you again, Andy!!
I found a new pastime...I use my reacher to draw pictures scratching the dead skin on my feet.  Ewwww!!! ;-)
A friend posted a clip of Anne and Nancy Wilson of Heart performing “Stairway to Heaven” at the Kennedy Center Honours Gala paying tribute to Led Zeppelin one of this year’s recipients. I made a point of rewatching it a couple times. Click here for the link. The arrangement is fabulous.
Esther was my night nurse tonight for what could be for the last time if I move downstairs in the next few days.
Just before retiring for the evening at 10:30, the Code Red signal went off again in Evergreen. I was always a bit skeptical about the cause but I confirmed it from Edna’s granddaughter who works there it really it someone burning toast or leaving things in the microwave.
To be continued...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 57

Episode 57 – December 26 – Today is Boxing Day in Commonwealth countries. I would like to explain its origins to my American followers but that’s a bit cloudy. These days it has become a shopping frenzy where retailers try to dump the stock they weren’t able to move and morons line up all night outside electronic stores to buy outdated devices at prices that their next generation will be available within four months.
This also starts the ninth week of my incarceration.
Barb is my day nurse again today. While checking my vitals she mumbled something to the effect of “This has been the weirdest Christmas ever”.’re telling me this. I have also pretty much given up on convincing her to call me Dennis.
This was one of these days where the boredom really sets in. I find that I can find myself even too bored to read, write or even watch a video. This happens even sometimes at home but I least I can change my scenery. Weekends and holidays suck especially when you have a tediously slow nurse. You are constantly waiting for even the smallest things.
A good example today was getting into my wheelchair today. Barb came in at 11:50 and asked me if I wanted to get up in my chair. At that time, Ruby was there to assist. Because I hadn’t been in the chair since the brace order had been changed so I asked if they needed to be put back. They both went off to re-read the order and to get the chair. They were gone for at least five minutes meanwhile I got organized to move. Then Barb came back and got the bed moved over and the sling put underneath me. She then went off to find Ruby. The problem is that every time a nurse leaves a room she gets distracted by another nurse or patient and delays the process. By the time, both of them were back for the lift it was 12:20.
While the transfer was going on the food service dude arrived with my lunch tray. He had no access to my overbed table which was stuck in the corner of the room and my laptop and other stuff were piled up on it. Barb told him to hold on a few minutes. When he asked where should he put it my patience was already at the breaking point and I just snapped “Figure it out”. Barb smiled and looked at me and said “I’m glad you finally said it. I have been wanting to say that to those guys for a long time.” The simple solution was just go do the other rooms in the row first and bring the wagon back thirty feet and do our room.
I had Ruby do one more favour and that was to fetch the sushi Ed and Lois had brought me from the patient fridge and to check the medication fridge because Denise had told me last night she was going to leave me some more munchies . I was able to supplement my chicken salad sandwich and Italian vegetable soup with cocktail shrimp, Rosita’s spring rolls and California rolls. Thanks Ed, Lois, Denise and Rosita!
It was much more pleasant being in the chair without the braces. I was able to bend them quite a bit more than even in the bed and it also relieved the pressure on my coccyx. I was also able to cross my feet and even get a glimpse of the bottom of them. This is when I discovered that they were in even worse shape than the tops. The calluses were breaking up and peeling around the edges. The aesthetician who gives me my next pedicure is going to get a big tip and she is going to earn it.
The little Iranian cleaning lady is driving me nuts. Rather doing everything at once she is in and out of the room constantly and of course like everyone else here she will move curtains to do something and leave them where there are. Do they leave their front door open at home?
Well, the physios didn’t show up again today. Realistically, the biggest problem about being here over Christmas and New Year’s is that this is my most crucial time for therapy. I walked on Friday, nothing Saturday, stood a bit and walked a tiny bit on Sunday, walked on Monday, nothing for two days and supposedly will get therapy on Thursday and Friday then were back to the weekend and another day off on Tuesday. With a good run of consecutive days of therapy I could at least be able to walk a little with a walker on my own and then I could be well on my way.
Without the braces the flexibility in my knees is improving but I’m just shy of being able to apply the cream on my snakeskin.
 Edna’s daughter, Carol and her husband, Terry came in to check on her and Terry stopped at my bed and pulled a Granville Island English Bay Pale Ale out his pocket and handed it to me. I originally turned it down but he told me to keep it for the future if I didn’t want it now. I was in the middle of my arm workout so I put it on the bed beside me. As I was doing my exercises, I could feel the cold can on my hip through the bedsheet. I finally gave in and when Terry heard that distinctive sound of the pop top, he came over and pulled my curtain across so I was out of view of the nurse’s station. I normally don’t drink beer but I do enjoy one occasionally. This one tasted so good! And it hardly affected my pre-dinner glucose count at 6.3.
Demetrios was my night nurse. Although it was the first time I’ve been one of his patients, I’ve worked with several times as part of the team and he is quite good at his job.
As per my usual routine, the night was completed with an orange, a chocolate goodie and a blue pill.
To be continued...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 56

Episode 56 – December 25 – Yes, everyone today was Christmas and I hope you all had a joyous day with your family and friends.
Just like every other Christmas I was up too early but at least I wasn’t scurrying around the kitchen at some ungodly hour. I was always the first one up.
I thought with the big turkey feed and the sleeping pill I’d be gone for awhile. The great thing is I got to do my leg exercises with bare legs and it felt so good. And the view from here is so Christmas-y with fresh snow on the mountains.
Well one lucky streak has ended. The fire alarm went off at Evergreen and it’s been quiet for a few weeks.  This of course, means that my other winning streak is about to end and a banana is going to end up on my tray soon.
Barb is my day nurse and she has Sam and Esther helping out so it’s all good. Still seems silly that they don’t have a nurses’ aide on holidays. This would be the kind of day they need because most patients on the floor require much more attention. Barb spent two hours washing up her other patients and she was grateful that I was able to wash myself.
The regular floor nurses were for some reason overly busy so the weekend floor manager, Liz, not to be confused the weekday floor manager, Liz, answered my call bell. I’ll give her credit when she didn’t just delegate the job to someone else. She started to prepare and even when Esther came in she was willing to continue but let Esther take over.
Last night, the evening nurses had a bit of a potluck dinner and Denise was thoughtful enough to stash some goodies away for me in the medication fridge. So I supplemented my lunch with sushi and chicken curry.
The Crown Prince showed up and was followed shortly by Mom and my sister, Kathy.
Just after mom arrived, my friend and co-worker, Ed appeared with his wife, Lois.
And the best part is that they all came bearing gifts and goodies! I’m such a spoiled little boy! Thank you, everyone for helping make the best of a bad thing!
At one point when you included Edna’s visitors I’m sure we were violating some sort of fire code bylaw.
After everyone cleared out I laid back for a bit and then got into my exercise routine that included working out my newly liberated legs. By the way, they are still shedding worse than Nala used to. Next time I do something stupid like this remind me to wax first
.I think next year, I’m going to find a better travel agent and look into spending Christmas at a snowy ski lodge or somewhere tropical. I’m definitely firing the last guy. He sold me a real nasty bill of goods when he booked me into here.
Santa Andy struck again. This time instead of sending one of his elves, he personally delivered another turkey dinner. Because I was still full from lunch I decided to eat the mediocre turkey dinner sent up from the bowels of this institution and save the good one for tomorrow. I will eat well on Boxing Day. I am now going to tell all of you a secret about Andy that he will probably kill me for. He is actually a very n*** guy and has a heart of gold. Thanks Andy, I owe you big time but hopefully I will not have to repay your generous deed under similar conditions but under much more pleasant circumstances.
It seems I’ve also become the go to guy for the wireless around here. The nurses just bring family members to me to fill them in on how the system works and the costs. I don’t at all mind helping out and my fees are quite reasonable.
Denise is my night nurse tonight and hopefully this will be her last turn as my nurse which is very likely. She’s great nurse but she’s off on two weeks holidays and I will likely be either out of here or down on the fifth floor in the rehab wing.
Rosita who hasn’t been my nurse for a few weeks, slipped in and snuck me a few homemade shrimp spring rolls that went with my orange and one of Pam’s brownies for my late evening snack.
Speaking of Pam’s chocolate goodies, I thought I had a disaster on my hands. While putting on my bipap mask, I managed to knock the tin they were in, onto the floor and it flipped upside down. I had to get one of the nurses to retrieve it for me and the good news is that were wedged into the tin enough that they defied gravity. (No Marla, I’m not going to link the song again. Oh hell, why not I love “Wicked”)
To be continued...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 55

Merry Christmas - Remember It's All About Love and Family
Episode 55 – December 24 – This being Christmas Eve, after my morning exercises, I listened to Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’sChristmas in Wales” before settling into my busy work schedule. This included reading both morning papers before breakfast.
Everyone that knows me I’m a Christmas freak and love keeping old traditions and creating new traditions. This is one tradition I don’t plan on creating. Now if we can only get rid of those silly Christmas Crackers at dinner. If you go back in the archives you can read about it in Yes, Virginia.
Christmas Eve has always been special to me. Rumour has it that I may have even gotten engaged one Christmas Eve a few lifetimes ago. The Crown Prince and I have made a tradition over the past few years of mixing a vat of mulled wine and watching Christmas themed movies like “Apocalypse Now”. In the past six months, I have been able to reconnect via Facebook with members of two families, the Burmas and the McIlroys  that I shared a few Christmas Eves during my tween years (between marriages).
(Kim,  Donna and Jean, remember I did such a mean “five golden rings”) Actually I spent more than few Christmas Eve days at the Burmas during my childhood as well.
My second big project for the day put me into nerd mode. In my mail that the Crown Prince brought up on Saturday was Canada Post’s quarterly stamp category. For reason Canada Post and my laptop have not been getting along for the past year or so and won’t let me order on line. I have no problem  placing orders on my desk top but that’s obviously not feasible at this time so I did it the old fashioned way filling out their order form. The one thing I never do is extend the prices then calculate the taxes. A government agency can calculate its own taxes. I am not about to do their work for them.
Katarina was my nurse for the day. An excellent and very efficient nurse but a bit on the dour side. My goal for the day was to get her to smile or better yet laugh.
I’m not sure if this is a good thing or bad about being on the north side of the Orthopaedic wing we get fed first. Our gruel wagon arrives 10 to 15 minutes earlier than on the south side.
Okay as you know I basically live in a twenty square foot condo, also known as my hospital bed but I somehow still manage to misplace things. I usually find them hidden beside my hip. Of course, I sleep, eat, wash and everything else in this little space. To shave, I have small mirror that folds out of the overbed table so the angle is an upward view getting a great shot of my nostrils. I lathered up this morning and then I looked in the mirror and what should a see but a tiny little booger safely hanging inside my left nasal passage. At this point I could not just blow my nose because I would have a tissue full of shaving cream. So I every time I looked down at mirror it seemed to grow exponentially just that minute stain on your shirt that looks more and more huge every time you look at it especially when you’re face to face with someone. When I realized how absurd I was being. I was behind curtains and no one be around until I was finished. Yes, before you ask I’m bored and the littlest thing amuses me. The real irony in this silly story is the thing I misplace most is my tissue box.
Pam and Dennis dropped by this morning to bring me my mail and drop off some Christmas goodies. They then told me about their son, Dennis getting engaged. Apparently, he went traditional right down to getting down on one knee. The story was so sweet I wanted to gag. ;-)
Sorry, ladies I told you about him on FB a few years and now you missed out on a good one. That’s him on the right. And not only that he’s going to be a daddy...of a sixteen year old girl! We will all pray for you, Den! Congratulations!
And thank you again, Pam and Dennis for being such great neighbours. :-)
While they were still here, my good friend and favourite smart ass, Leslie came in. (Yes, Leslie I know that last sentence ended in a preposition and I don’t care.) Leslie also came bearing a cup or two of Christmas cheer. I’m still trying to convince the physios to share some of their ice. I mean, do they really need that much for a couple swollen knees and hips? We had a few good laughs and we also...Oh crap, I’m hallucinating again. Damn medications! ;-)
Within minutes of Leslie leaving, Dr. McConkey came in to check on my progress and he told me that I could take the braces off while I was in bed and only need to wear them while sleeping and while walking. I feel naked without them and that’s a good thing. :-)
Lisa, Adam and Nate, the physio and her assistants came by and got me standing up and shifting my weight. Then we tried the same walk I did on Friday and this time I made it fine without fainting and no tears. The light is getting brighter and it gets better every day.
I received even more surprise visitors today. My cousin, Colin, his wife, Susan and their two children, John and Gracelyn. (I love names that end in ‘lyn” they always sound so cute. And yes, Mrs. B I include you.) They stopped off on their way  from Sechelt to Surrey. I had not seen Colin in many years and this was the first time meeting his lovely family. They brought me a beautiful poinsettia plant. Thank you so much Colin and Susan!  
Because of the wedding last week and Christmas, Edna has had a lot of visitors  and they are all so friendly. The problem is that because the room is so tiny they tend to overflow. I have no problem sharing some of my space but it always seems I need to pee when they are here. My choices are too close all the curtains or just go with the bottle under the sheets or just hold it until they leave. The first two seem at bit rude so we back to where we started at overflow. ;-)
Barb replaced Katarina at 3 because they swapped a few hours so each could enjoy family get togethers on respective nights. I still haven’t got Katarina to laugh but she did smile when she saw me walking. I guess it’s just that stoic Eastern European manor and perhaps a small language barrier.
Poor Edna. Just after 4 we heard a group of carollers (employees and volunteers) coming down the hall and Barb had just gotten Edna onto the bedpan. Barb was a bit worried that they might come into the room and all three of us started laughing about with Edna leading the way. Actually, the laughing probably helped Edna’s cause. ;-)
They didn’t come in but sang outside each doorway. Now I said earlier there were no tears but that was just about walking. I am a big pussycat and I get very sentimental at anything Christmas related. I was tearing up a little as I was listening. (Happy tears) But I nearly lost it when I recognized the woman leading was the ostomy nurse that looked after Lorraine. As everyone leaned in the door to wish me a Merry Christmas the best I could manage was to mouth the words and wave.
A co-worker and friend, Andy had texted me the day before telling not to eat dinner. He had a friend bring in a turkey dinner which was absolute heaven. The problem was my actual stomach has shrunk from the small portions I had been eating. I  got most of the turkey and vegetables down but had to forego the potatoes and half the stuffing. The tryptophan combined with my little blue pill are going to put me solid into dreamland. 
I got Denise good tonight. I hid the braces behind a pillow and when she came in to take my vitals I looked at her my best worried face and told her she needed to look at my legs. She got this concerned look on her face and asked “are you serious?” I nodded still keeping a straight face. She lifted the sheet and saw my bare legs and was delighted but I know somehow she will get revenge.
As a side note Denise re-read Dr. McConkey’s orders and I don’t even have to wear them sleeping because I’m too big to bend in any abnormal position in this caged in bed. Also we discovered that because of the constant friction and lack of air on my legs has left a trail of lost hairs between my legs from my upper thighs to my ankles.
Here’s an interesting gift etiquette question? Is anyone else a bit embarrassed when you are handed a wrapped gift and you are embarrassed to open it because you might look greedy or ungrateful but you are dying to find out what it is? Gift bags work a little better because you can start by subtly looking into it and gradually increase the apparent curiosity level until you can ask “So what’s this? Am I nuts or what?  
Finished the night with an orange and one of Pam’s chocolate goodies. Hey it’s Christmas! I can indulge a little.
To be continued...

Monday, December 24, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 54

Merry Christmas to all of you and your families. Thank you for following my rambling scribbles

Episode 54 – December 23 – Another great night’s sleep. I love my blue pills and my new digs. Even though it is physically closer to the nurses’ station than where I was previously, it is quieter. Room 623 faced the door to the station and 621 was next to their actual work prep area.
Denise is back as my day nurse which is great but it means the daily curtain wars will be back on but I still have my trusty reacher. Hee hee! I’ve had another good run of nurses since moving with Layla and Felly as my night nurses for the past three evenings. Denise is scheduled to be my night nurse for tomorrow and Tuesday so hopefully I’ll have a decent day nurse as well over Christmas.
Denise decided to weight me again today and if the finicky bed scale is anywhere accurate, I’m down another five kilos. Hospital food is at least good for something.
I’m still having problems training some of the staff with regards to my name. Unless you are trying to sell me something or I owe you money my name is Dennis not Mr. Donnelly. This of course just encouraged Denise to be contrary so she’s been calling me Mr. Donnelly all day.
Denise has found a new way to torment me today. Edna’s family has decorated her window sill with flowers and Christmas decorations. One of these decorations is an animated snowman that sings “Let it Snow” when you press the button. She makes a point of playing it every time she passes it. And you all know how irritating electronic novelty items can be after the second time after you play with it. Note to Leslie: I’m not referring to your “special” electronic novelty items. ;-)
I didn’t have to wait long today for the physios. Adrian and Dal showed up at 10 AM. For the most part, we only worked standing and weight shifting although I did get to do a little bit of walking both forward and backward to and from the doorway. We couldn’t push our luck because for safety reasons, there needs to be a third person following behind with a wheelchair in case I faint again. At the end of my treatment, we figured out one of my problems. As another safety precaution, they had a transfer belt around my chest so the therapists can hold on to the patient. When they took the belt off, I realized it was restricting my breathing so tomorrow we will either put it around my waist or not use it at all. There’s something else I learned today; we actually forget how to walk. When Adrian asked me to start taking some small steps, I could not remember how to walk and I had to stare at my feet and think for a few seconds before I could move them forward.
Denise and another nurse used the lift to put me in the wheelchair for the first time since Tuesday. I can really do the old guy routine, pretending to sleep and drooling now because everyone that comes to visit anyone has to pass by me and try to avoid eye contact. It’s fun to make people feel uncomfortable. Hee hee!
By the time I finished lunch, I was ready to go back because I’m still having tailbone issues sitting in the chair. Denise and I cheated and did the transfer ourselves which is probably against the rules. I think pulled the curtains closed more to hide the fact we were doing it than for the sake of my long lost modesty.
Denise was also kind enough to sneak me a slice of pizza from the nurses’ lounge. It’s amazing how good something tastes when you are deprived of it. Hey! I’m down five kilos! I deserve a treat. ;-P
For some reason, I was more tired than usual this afternoon so I ended up taking a good nap for about an hour. This will mean that the little blue pill will have to work overtime tonight.
The scariest part of taking a nap between 3 and 4 is that I missed the dinner fairy so it was likely I would be getting the chicken or the fish which seem to be the default items for dinner. To my surprise, they sent me salmon which is the one thing they serve that can be qualified as good as opposed to passable or edible. They seem to serve this only every couple of weeks and it is frightening to think I’ve already had it four times.
One of the things you learn when you work in a place for a long time is how to subvert the rules. Denise qualifies in that regard. Besides doing the one person assist earlier today, she is extremely resourceful. Following strict rules, each section is supposed to order supplies from stores and wait for them to show up. She knows which sections are likely to have things and she goes and borrows them. This was the case today regarding cream for my feet which are getting reptilian again. She had ordered some and it never showed up. She went and found some elsewhere and now my feet look a lot better. I really do need a pedicure soon with some heavy duty exfoliation.
Dr. Haaf stopped in this evening and Layla gave him a glowing report about my walking on Friday and told him I was a good candidate to get moved downstairs to rehab unfortunately they are pretty much down to a bare bones staff over the holidays so I wouldn’t be moved until the New Year anyway. This wasn’t really news for Dana; it just reinforced his opinion.
Layla and I were joking about me wasting everyone’s tax dollars being here and then she told the biggest drain on hospital costs is actually hospital related infections. The causes include airborne transfer from a patient or visitor, invasive procedures like catheters and contact infection. These infections can add several days to a hospital stay.
We have another entry in our poolside story contest. Tanya has weighed with the kinkiest story so far. It has to do with doing something nasty and fun on a trapeze. We have to work on the details on this one. Hell, I want to see the video on this one! And of course, we have to figure out what happened to the other party/parties.
After Layla brought me my evening stash of chemicals, I settled down to watch a couple of non-descript comedies on Shaw and finished off the shortbread.
To be continued...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 53

Episode 53 – December 22 – The new room is so much quieter at night despite being beside the nurses station. I have slept soundly for 7 or 8 hours both days I’ve been here.
Recently, I was told a story about a hospital reality that made me a bit angry. Hospitals are usually full to capacity at Christmas time. Considering there is very little elective surgery going on during the last two weeks of December this seems contradictory. It turns out that a lot of people that are caregivers find a doctor that will come up with an excuse to hospitalize grandma for a couple of weeks so they can go away on a holiday.
My day nurse today was Denise which is always a good thing.
Having spent so long here and seeing so many patients come and go, I can safely say that slipping, tripping and falling are not great ideas, nothing good ever comes of these. My survey isn’t totally scientific but merely anecdotal but I am pretty confident my conclusions would hold up well in a double blind study.
The Crown Prince made his weekly appearance and brought up my mail. Obviously there are a lot of people out there that I’m going to have to send notes to when I make bail and get out of here. His two big missions today were to replenish my mandarin orange supply and to pick up my computer power cord and transformer and find a replacement. He had previously passed along some wise information he had learned in his electronics courses. If it’s warm it’s no problem; if it’s hot but not singeing any flesh it’s probably still fine; however it there is smoke, sparks or flames it’s not so good. Mine was getting very hot and at the junction it would spark and crackle if I moved wrong and at one point last week there was a little puff of smoke. This was not a good thing. Hospitals frown on you setting your bed on fire. They have special ward for patients who make a habit of that.
He told me about a birthday dinner he went to last night at a restaurant “Dark Table” that served the meal in complete darkness. I had heard of a couple of places in other cities using this concept/gimmick. He enjoyed it immensely. It does sound intriguing so if a group of you are out there feeling  guilty  about poor old Dennis lying in his hospital bed for two months and want to do something n*** for him when he gets out... But you can’t invite Croft apparently his probation order forbids him from being in dark places amongst mixed company or any living thing for that matter. ;-)
This afternoon was a day for royal visits. I heard a very distinctive voice at the nursing station say “Oh never mind there he is!” and I saw a pair of the most outstanding blue eyes you could imagine. It was one of my old drinking buddies, Sharon.  We were known to have closed a few bars like the Rose & Thorn and Pharaoh’s. We had worked together many years ago at the PNE. I mention royalty because in her youth Sharon uncannily resembled a certain member of the royal family. I won’t go too much farther on that because it used to drive her crazy when we were in our youth and people would approach her and comment about it. She spent a good deal of her career in law enforcement listening to it as well. I always thought she was much better looking and her good looks have gotten even better over the years. Okay, I admit it; I’m a sucker for blonde hair and blue eyes which is no surprise to most of you. We had a great chat about my walking yesterday and her past career and how she’s working much harder now that she’s retired. She was also kind enough to bring a few goodies including some biscotti hand made by her husband. It’s about time that little guy made some good use of his time. Thank you very much, Eric! And thank you, Sharon for making that long trip to brighten up an old friend’s day!
Unfortunately, Bryan and Sharon missed each other twice by minutes because Bryan returned from the computer store right after Sharon left. Of course, if Sharon hadn’t been too stubborn to ask for directions and ended up looking for me on the maternity floor and the morgue, they probably would have met the first time. That stubbornness must come from being both Scottish and a retired cop. ;-)
Speaking of Scots, they aren’t the only Celts that are stubborn and thrifty; the Irish can be a little of both.  I have been trying for the last week to squeeze every last glob out of my toothpaste tube and finally had to give in when I had the thing rolled thinner than a pencil.
Unfortunately, I was at the wrong end of the priority list for the physio so I didn’t get to walk today. I have to assume they are trying to get everyone they can ready to be discharged by Christmas Eve.
Tonight I tuned into Shaw on Demand and went British with my viewing and watched the season finales of “Hunted” a suspense/conspiracy drama and “Hit & Miss” a very edgy drama that would be very difficult to categorize in any genre because of its many tiered story lines and back stories. The Brits do so much better at television drama.
Along with my orange, I tried one of Eric’s biscotti. It was tasty with a bit of a surprise. I’m guessing it contained chili peppers and chocolate. There is a synonym for the young lady’s name that provided these treats and I have no plans of doing such. They are mine!!!!
To be continued...

Saturday, December 22, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 52

Episode 52 – December 21 – Today marks the winter solstice so the Sun is on its way back home to the northern hemisphere. If you are reading this I guess those wizards reading the Mayan calendar were off on their estimates by an eon or two. The biggest problem I have with the solstice is how it may affect the title of this series. “How I Spent my ‘Winter’ Vacation” excludes the intended pun so I’ll have to stick with the original title until the end as long as there is no equinox involved in the mix.
This also marks the start of week eight post-op and the beginning of a new phase in my treatment. Let’s get vertical.
The first thing this morning, Liz, the floor manager popped her head in the door and asked me if I was happy with my new accommodations. I thanked her for making the change and now all is forgiven. I have never been one to hold grudges or worry about who made the mistake. The trick is to find a solution then keep moving forward. (Also I didn’t realize how hot the floor manager is when you’re not looking up at her through teary eyes.)
Layla was my day nurse today. This is probably not the best idea to pair us up because we play off each other’s warped senses of humour and no work gets done because we’re laughing so much. Today for some unknown reason we were discussing the “Great Bed Pan Conspiracy”. (Okay, the reason is actually obvious). We determined there has been a much more comfortable way to look after your business in bed invented but the huge Bed Pan Lobby on K Street in Washington. They have been even more effective in suppressing this secret than the Oil Lobby with the electric car during the seventies and eighties.
Another silly exchanged when Layla was struggling to get my wash basin out of my bedside table that was turned towards and pulled close to my bed so I could access the drawer.
Me:  “You know, it’s on casters. It may be easier to turn it 90°.”
Layla: “no, I can get this.”
Me: “Are sure you’re not a man.”
Layla (laughing as she freed the basin): “I get that a lot from people.”
Graciela, the Salvadoran woman from 621, travelling with her walker, was being escorted by the physios past my door, and her face lit up seeing me. She was even happier when I greeted her en Espagnol.
I receive news updates via email from News1130 and on Wednesday  they made a bit of a shocking SNAFU the other day and my heart sank thinking, “not again”as did that of hundreds of other I’m sure. The news item was about BC Ferry cancelations but someone forgot to change the subject line from a week ago and it read “Dozens may be dead in Connecticut school shooting”. Needless to say a correction was posted within minutes. I’m quite surprised an apology didn’t follow.
Question regarding today’s lunch: Does anybody really care for French dressing?
Just after two, Maeve the OT, Adrian the physio and a rehab assistant showed up with an Arjo walker, a device that allows the patient to support themselves with their elbows. My grin must have looked like the Cheshire Cat. Today was the day.
The first step was to put on my flip flops...not wait ...make that non-slip socks.
We started off by me scooting over and Maeve and Adrian held my legs out straight (I was still locked in at 0° flexion on my braces) and they slowly lowered my feet to the floor.It was the first time my feet had touched solid ground in 52 days. It was a wonderful feeling. Adrian slowly raised the height of the bed and my weight slowly shifted to my feet until we hit the maximum height of the bed. The next move was up to me so I leaned forward into the walker after a pause to catch my breath and let the blood flow. I then straightened up my back and I was standing! I felt human again! Then a few tears started to sneak out and I was grinning from ear to ear. We then went some exercises to shift my hips to switch the weight from right to left. I will admit now that my best hip movements are definitely in the “middle aged white guy dancing” category and in no way close to Shakira. While I was doing this Layla and Sandra were standing in the hallway watching, smiling and giving me the thumbs up.
After the shifting exercises Adrian asked me if I had enough and my answer was simple “I want to walk” and she said, “Then let’s do it”. I started taking what could best be described as baby Frankenstein steps. I made it to the doorway which was only a three feet away. When asked if I wanted to do more I agreed so Maeve went and got my wheelchair just to follow me in case I had problems. They asked me if I was feeling any pain. There was no pain in my knees or my quads. The only pain was in my ankles which have always been a problem and even that was a good pain. Damn, I was walking and no little hurt was stopping me. Then Adrian pointed to the corner of the nurses’ station and told to head there and then turn around. I made it fine to the corner and in front of me was Liz, the floor manager standing in her doorway watching and smiling. I stopped at the corner and asked for water. At point I was starting to feel a little dizzy so I continued to rest when I suddenly started to feel faint and nauseous and cold sweat started pouring off my forehead. Liz immediately switched from administrator into nurse mode. She ran over and grabbed a towel to wipe my forehead and started giving orders to the nurses around the area. Adrian meanwhile talked me through the turnaround and the walk back to my room. There was no gradual involved in getting me back into bed. Liz was still giving out orders. Sandra was taking my temperature while Layla and a student were trying to take my blood pressure and someone else was applying a damp cloth to my forehead. It all seemed surreal and reminded of every emergency room scene on TV. Meanwhile I was still smiling. It is possible to feel sick and stupidly happy at the same time without the aid of alcohol or drugs. My vitals were all okay. Adrian came back about ten minutes later and told me she wasn’t surprised by the head rush but expected it more when I first stood up. I expected the same. I was still overwhelmed and even while I was writing this up, I was still getting teary-eyed.
My new roommate, Edna is another elderly lady who what I gather fell and broke her arm and leg. So far she’s been an ideal roomie I rarely hear her and because of the curtain. I’m probably more of a disturbance to her with me adjusting my bed constantly to relieve pressure on my butt and chatting with the nurses and other staff.
The smile part of the story is that Edna’s grandson was getting married today and the bride and groom had chosen to be married in her church but for obvious reasons she sadly couldn’t go so before the wedding the bride and groom and other members of the wedding party came into visit her and take pictures for their album. Grandma was obviously more important than superstition.
And just for good measure on a smaller happy day moment, someone screwed up in the kitchen. My choices for fruit at dinner were apple sauce or fruit cocktail. The fruit cocktail is that crap that comes in the can with the maraschino cherries in it and the apple sauce is bland. I went with the sauce but they sent me something off the menu instead; their tropical fruit salad with pineapple, mango and papaya. It at least tasted fresh. Little things that make you smile are good too.
So along with watching Rachel Maddow’s last show until after Christmas, I finally finished watching the fifth season of “The Wire”. Like most American series, I think they went one season too far.
As per usual I had my orange and my cookie and snuggled up to my little blue pill for the night.
To be continued...

Friday, December 21, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 51

Episode 51 – December 20 – Obviously with all the stress yesterday, I did not sleep well yesterday and I really try to avoid any kind of a prolonged nap around here because I want save all my “sleep energy” for overnight.
Barb came in just after 6 and did my glucose reading and it was down to 4.5. This could mean only one thing; more cookies and chocolates. Bring on the pie! Hee hee!
Cat was my day nurse again and the first thing she told me is that the move was scheduled for today but the patient in the bed in the semi-private room would likely not be going until around 11. Knowing that hospital time was even worse than “Rock and Roll” time, I didn’t hold her to this time. She did re-assure at around 1PM that the move was still happening.
Before each shift begins, the nurses have a meeting to discuss the upcoming day’s schedule and this meeting is called the “Daily Report”. This explains a lot because you cannot have a report before something happens. You can have a daily briefing before hand and a report after the shift. This terminology is not unique to this hospital.
One of the  things that definitely adds some flair and improves the atmosphere around the hospital is the fact that nowadays the nurses and other staff are allowed to express themselves in the style and colour of scrubs instead of the drab blues and greens. The last time I had an overnight stay at St.Vincent’s there were still a lot of nurses in the starched whites and of course, quite a few nuns in habits.
I was so upset yesterday; I even forgot the Dr. Haaf came by to see me yesterday just after I moved. I don’t even remember what we talked about except even he was starting to admit that Dr. McConkey was being a little too cautious with my treatments. Speaking of McConkey, while she was abusing my body, Jennifer, the physio, she and I were talking about him watching my treatment on Friday and she could tell he was impressed with what he saw.
Just before lunch, a volunteer from the hospital foundation came and gave each patient a poinsettia from the foundation, the Deep Cove Lions Club and GardenWorks Nurseries. A lovely gesture and they are pretty to look at but I have nowhere to put it. My space is so limited. But thank you for this.
Because I’m hidden behind curtains a lot I’ve learned a lot about listening to footsteps. I can usually tell whether it’s a nurse coming, an administrator or a visitor. Despite my damaged hearing, I have developed a knack for this. Some people have very distinctive cadences to their walk. There was one facilities manager at the Coliseum that I could pick out coming from at least thirty metres around the corner of the lower concourse. Another example is my friend, Mona, although I did know she was on her way to visit, I could pick out her footsteps from down the hall. I recognized them from her walking past my bedroom every summer morning. Hey! Get your minds out of the gutter! She was walking on the sidewalk outside my bedroom window on her way to work. Jeez, what am I going to do with you people?
You may have noticed a more upbeat tone to my scribbling today over yesterday. I am absolutely elated to be out of room 623. Caitlyn, the resource nurse, came in and told me the room was ready and then she and Angie started moving my furniture and my bed to room 306. My mood changed immediately and it didn’t hurt that Caitlyn would be looking after me. Although I didn’t get the window seat I got a fun view any way. There’s a window to the hall beside the door, I look directly at the nurse’s station. Layla walked by, saw me and dropped in to say hello. When I told her where I had just been, she rolled her eyes and said, “I don’t blame you I hate that room.” Amy took over for Caitlyn (one cute one for another) and when I told her where I was she confirmed my suspicion about 623 being the geriatric room and where they put patients that aren’t that cognisant about their surroundings.
I would like to point out my enjoying the fact that Caitlyn and Amy does not belittle Cat. The nursing change came about because 603 is on the other side of the orthopaedics floor.  Cat was great the last two days. It’s easy to look after someone who is happy but it’s difficult to help out a patient that’s down and out. I made a point of thanking her for all her help these past couple of days.
Getting back to the view, from my window in 623 had a panoramic view of the harbour and the city skyline but view is no better than looking at the wall if you are not happy. Even more ironic, because of my height my direct sightline when sitting up was even with the wide window mullion so it blocked my city and harbour view and I could only see the rooftops of nearby apartments. I would have to lower my bed to the minimum or raise it to the maximum to take advantage.
Room 603 has a wonderful view of Grouse Mountain although because of the separator curtain I can’t see but then again the view of Grouse I’m longing for is the one looking out my window on Premier. Oh crap, another clue for Leslie.  (BTW – The final clue can be found on my FB cover photo.) And a special note to Marla, just to keep me company and not get homesick for 621, the tap drips in room 603.
I was really thrilled to hear that the TICorporation, the company responsible for the debacle on the Port Mann Bridge has agreed to pay the deductible for cars damaged by the falling ice. How magnanimous of them. ICBC (that would be us) still gets to pick up the tab for the rest of the damage.
Here’s a line I thought you only heard in poorly written movies. Two elderly gentlemen were walking by my door after visiting a friend further down the hall. “He’s seems to be doing well.” “Yes, he’s got good colour.”
Natasha was my night nurse and she’s great. So it was a good day all around.
And as always I finished the day with a cookie, an orange and Rachel with dreams of finally standing up tomorrow. :-)
To be continued...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 50

Episode 50 – December 19 – I guess this is what you could call the golden jubilee edition and depending whether you define diamond as 60 or 75 there could very well be a diamond edition in ten days.
This is the beginning of the eighth week of my stay here. I woke up from one of the most solid block of sleep I’ve had for about a week.
I realized from everybody’s posts on Facebook that we had been getting some snow over the last two days but from where I was lying the only evidence I had was I could hear the maintenance people pushing the snow shovel along the sidewalk.
The one thing that made me nervous all morning is the lights kept flickering. I know hospitals theoretically have backup generators but I’d be worried that they like everything else it probably doesn’t work. We have a government to thank for this because they deemed it much prettier to spend billions on a stadium roof and fancy convention centre as well as a few overpriced highway projects.
The day started out great when Catherine was assigned as my nurse again. Actually everyone calls her Cat which works for me because I’ve had too many Catherines and Katherines and other repeat names in these journals. If this was being published I’m sure my editor would make me change names to avoid confusion; unfortunately life isn’t that simple.
The morning started out great because today was Wednesday and that meant shower day. Cat and Angie, the nurses’ aide, were on top of it. Angie had already booked the shower room and stretcher. Cat and Angie hauled me upstairs and started hosing me down and scrubbing the week’s grime off of me. Cat decided that my feet and toes needed some serious exfoliating so she managed to find every possible place on my feet that I was ticklish, some places I didn’t realize were so ticklish. I think she was enjoying torturing me.
About an hour after being moved, Cat came and said she had some good news for me. She told me that they could move me to a room with a bed next to a window. I told her I was quite content in my little corner. She then told me I didn’t really have a choice. Just the way the whole conversation went I could tell there was more to it than she was telling.
They moved me just before lunch and I immediately saw why Cat was so vague in her answers. The other patients were two very confused elderly ladies and a mentally challenged woman that liked to talk a lot. The design of the room was a disaster. All patients required the overhead lift and the moving rail for the lift was installed to move under the curtain rails so every time someone has to be transferred all the curtains had to be moved so there is no privacy in this room. The idiot that authorized this installation should have been fired with cause but knowing how the system works, he probably got a big bonus for making his budget target.
When Cat saw how upset I was she said I could go back if I wanted but asked if I would give it a try for one night. I meekly agreed. But within an hour, I was going into a full blown anxiety attack hyperventilating and tears pouring down my cheeks. This was a worse attack than the one I had just before my surgery and at least then the anesthesiologist was able to pump me full of sedatives. The attack lasted most of the afternoon with my heart racing at a ridiculous pace.

I called Cat and told her I wanted to go back. She went and got the floor manager who then tried to explain that they needed my bed for another patient that needed the overhead lift which made absolutely no sense because there was a lift in this room. She threw in some more BS and when I talked about the privacy I had with my curtained off area in 621, she said I had the same here. At this time the lift was being used on the other side of the room and all the curtains were pushed over there. I looked at her and exclaimed “There are no curtains!” She seemed totally puzzled by this like it was the first she had seen this situation. She then promised to move me into a semi-private room tomorrow, Thursday.
Although Cat was the bearer of bad news I don’t hold anything against her and it was a good thing that she was my nurse today because she able to keep me calm and even brought me a Lindt chocolate along with my Benadryl which I needed desperately because my nose was so plugged up from the attack. Yes, I admit it I was crying. Believe it or not, I am a very sensitive and emotional person. My reaction could have been a lot worse with a less caring and efficient nurse. The blame lies completely on the incompetent floor manager that fucked up and then made up some bullshit lies to me to cover up her mistake. I think her punishment should be to try and spend a few weeks in a hospital bed totally immobilized but otherwise alert and healthy.
The one thing nurses don’t always get is that most patients want their privacy and do not want much social contact with other patients. Our dignity and modesty have already been completely compromised; at least leave us something.
By the time I had finally got to a point of relative calmness my nose was so raw and red, I could have subbed in for Rudolf.
The other minus for the day is the physios didn’t show up. Actually they did come into the room to work on two other patients but disappeared. I either got lost in the shuffle or someone told them I was probably too upset for treatment which I just have been.
I was quite surprised when Barb came on as my night nurse and actually listened to and empathized with my situation. Apparently, she has complained about the curtain and lift set up in 623. The answer she got was “that’s just the way it is.” In other words, “someone higher up effed up so live with it.”
So I finished off the night with an orange, a cookie and Cat’s chocolate. Hey, I scored a 5.1 this morning and had a bad day I deserve a treat.
To be continued...