Friday, November 30, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 30 we are once again...
Episode 30 – November 29 – I slept quite well last night with the exception of a minor wakeup call from my bladder, I was out cold from 10 PM until 6 AM when I started my morning exercise regime.
The vampires returned again. This time it was for my blood count. Hey wait a I think I may be onto something here. When I questioned the lab assistant about why they always showed up before the sun was all up he stuttered and mumbled something about shift schedules and other nonsense.
 I estimate by now when you include my glucose testing, blood testing, blood thinners and IV’s, I have been stabbed well over one hundred times so far. Speaking of the glucose I’m still registering under 6 with another 5.7. That’s a good thing!
They pulled another nurse out of the casual pool for me and today it was Adam, a self-proclaimed Polish gypsy prince. Actually he was quite the entertainer. I put him to work early after he brought my morning meds. We had a product evaluation discussion on the pros and cons of different bed pans. We’ll leave the discussion here for now unless you would like me to continue on the topic.
The best thing about Adam is he is proactive and checking in with everyone at least three or four times an hour while some nurses you’ll never see until you hit the call bell.
I am still fighting a never ending battle with the nurses about my curtains. They just love opening them up both intentionally and unintentionally and leaving them that way. And for good measure the odd little cleaning lady decided that a good time to replace my curtains would be while Adam and I were planning out the aforementioned procedure. At least I have now defeated the nurses with my trusty reacher and my increased flexibility. I’m more flexible than I was previously but I’m still not ready to audition for Cirque du Soleil.
I have also noticed the upper body work I’ve been doing is paying off. Everything tends to be a bit firmer, not totally ripped but definitely firmer.
As per most days, lunch was reasonably good; penne pasta with a very meaty marinara sauce and a hardy corn chowder.
Jenny, the Cap U student, came by after lunch with the senior physio and put my knees through the longest workout yet where I could actually feel my knees getting tired.
The noise in this room is driving me nuts. The woman across from me, Colette has a constant parade of family members coming and going. Anne, the 100 year old woman, who herself is quite the trooper and rarely complains has this one visitor that comes in at least twice a day and to compensate for her being nearly deaf uses his booming voice to prattle on for a couple of hours at a time. Marguerite, the 94 year old beside has this whiny voice at the best that drives you nuts whenever she speaks and it gets even worse when she is in pain or complaining. My only escape is to crank up my tunes to try and drown out as much as possible so I can concentrate on my reading and writing. Yes, this may seem selfish and lacking in compassion but I have my own mental well being at stake here.
For the most part during the past thirty days, I have managed to keep my spirits up and taken a positive approach to my recovery but sometimes it gets hard. I keep trudging along looking ahead for whatever tomorrow brings.  
Adam arranged to get me up in my chair at around 3:30 with me having to supervise the team. I like being the boss. I couldn’t last that long because someone had left a folded flannel sheet on top of my Roho cushion that defeated its purpose and my butt got sore way too quickly. The Roho cushion is an inflatable device consisting of individual cells so when you shift in the chair it reduces the pressure on your backside. When you at one without the cover it is extremely strange looking. In fact, when I was in the medical supply business, they always creeped me out.
I was back in the bed by five and got back to my reading. Because there were visitors next to me I needed some block out music. A couple of years ago for St. Patrick’s Day, the Crown Prince added some Irish Rebel music to my playlist. Irish Rebel music is not conducive to reading because you always want to sing along. On a secondary note about this genre, anyone familiar with Irish Rebel ballads will know they always end badly; the hero always dies.
When the dinner fairy came by I had a choice between sweet & sour pork and baked chicken. I decided to gamble on the pork but somewhere down the line someone changed my order and I ended up with extremely foul fowl.
I have just started watching the HBO series “The Franchise” a documentary series on the 2011 San Francisco Giants following up on their 2010 championship. It only took two minutes into the first episode to reconfirm the consensus opinion about Brian Wilson; that boy ain’t right in the head.
With the help of Layla and the magic blue pill along with Rachel Maddow and the Green River Killer I found my way to slumberland.
To be continued...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 29

...just a minute, let me finish my mojito and we’ll get back to the story...
Episode 29 – November 28 – We are now in to week number five.
I woke up at 5 AM thanks to another screaming patient left in the hallway so I did my first set of upper body exercises. I laid back down and quickly drifted off until 7.
My nurse for today is Judith who hails from Ghana. Let’s see if I can scare off this one as well. I’m such a demanding and miserable patient.
Next timeyou injure yourself and your doctor is checking you over watch their facial expressions. “Does this hurt? How about when I press here?” After you scream like a banshee when they hit the spot; I can guarantee they have an evil smirk on their face.
This one of my two or three egg days are breakfast and it was another hard cooked one. At least I suspect it was an egg but I’m sure it I saw dimples and Titleist 7 stamped on it.
Dr. Haaf came in again and told me that Dr. McConkey had overruled him and switched the range of motion change back to December 1 from this Thursday which in effect the change won’t take place until next Monday. The surgeon’s concern was how my weight would put added pressure on my quads. Hey didn’t he read the chart. I lost 45 kilos last week. It would appear my release date is going to around December 21. Great just in time for the End of the World.
The good thing is today was Rubber Ducky day. Angie went upstairs to get the stretcher and then she and Judith prepped the sling under and handed me the control. It was Peter Pan time as flew in the air onto my chariot (stretcher). I can fly. The staff on the seventh floor must have been wondering what kind of drugs they are handing out on the sixth floor because I had this stupid grin on my face heading for the shower room and a huger one on my way back. Again, I feel so pretty.
Just as I was settled back in bed a code red was broadcast at least this time it wasn’t someone burning toast in Evergreen. It was a short circuit in one of the detectors in the construction zone downstairs.
A doctor came to see the woman across from me and I thought maybe he was wearing a Halloween costume because he was actually dressed up as a doctor with the white coat, stethoscope and the band around his head with the reflector. I so used to the surgeon coming in wearing scrubs or dressed like he’s heading out to the woods and I’ve never seen Dana dressed any more formal than a sweater and jeans even in his office.
Martin from the PNE dropped by on his way to work and we chatted for about fifteen minutes. When he asked about who else had been to see me from work, I told him and them told him I don’t begrudge anyone for not visiting because I know we all have busy schedules and no one likes going to hospitals. I accept this especially I’m really bad for avoiding hospital visits and more so appreciate anyone who drops by.
Jane from VCC was almost as excited about changing my dressing as Angela was last week. Jane only got to watch yesterday so when I told her that my dressing would likely have to be changed because of my shower today. She immediately rushed off to find Judith and then returned and Jane was happy as a clam to dress my blisters. Me, I get queasy just changing a bandaid.
I’m beginning to believe I really am the teaching dummy. When it came time for my physio, Jenny a student from Capilano University was instructed how to adjust my braces and do the passive motion on my knees.
Phase three of the student invasion came when Jane was allowed to check my glucose level and I scored a 5.7 which is great for an afternoon reading. After she completed the test she thanked me for letting her do it and then I thanked her back. I had just thanked someone for poking me with a sharp object and making bleed. Everyone is right. We Canadians are way too polite!
My noise block out music for the evening was provided by Melissa Etheridge and Rachel Maddow poisoned my little mind like she does every night. Hey did you that both these women are...umm...well you know..
Layla was my night nurse and I just love her! She’s cheerful and friendly without being too perky. I bet she is a hoot at parties!
Now it’s time to curl up with the Green River Killer and let that little blue pill do its magic.
To be continued...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 28

....Yawn! Oh all right if you insist, here’s the next episode...
Episode 28 – November 27 – Once my gout flare was under control I went to sleep quickly and slept soundly until 5:30. I did my first exercise set and then zonked out again for two more hours. When I awoke again at 7:30 my range of motion in my left ankle was the best it had been in a couple of weeks.
Layla was my day nurse again and she started the day right by checking my glucose level and scoring another 5.6.
Dr. Haaf came in just after breakfast and he to me my indocid for my gout was now listed on my chart as “As patient requires” so there will be no more problems if I have another flare up. We also discussed my physio treatments and he is going to discuss it with the surgeon about possibly moving the schedule up a few days.
Layla recruited Amy and Angie to help with my transfer into my wheelchair.
No sooner had I been seated, Dad and Betty walked in the door. Betty then reached into her purse and pulled out a McDonald’s milkshake. I thanked her and told her “I shouldn’t really be having this”. Her reply was that “Does that mean you don’t want a burger and fries” Me “not really” Her “Great because I’m starved” And she reached back into the purse and started munching on some French fries. Dad brought me some mandarin oranges and a couple of issues of Liverpool FC magazine. Add another thing to do for Dad; attend an LFC game at Anfield. We then swapped hospital war stories. They left just before lunch.
The only bad thing about lunch today was that everyone else in the room had two or three visitors so it got extremely noisy so I cranked up Ann and Nancy Wilson and tuned everything else out.
When they lifted me back in bed, they decided to weigh me first. There is built in scale on the bed so process involves zeroing the scale before I’m in the bed and then making sure that I’m completely back in bed and not supported at all by the sling. Amy read out the first reading and I commented that it couldn’t be right so we tried again and I made sure the hoist got me well off the bed. This reading was four kilos heavier but I still insisted it was way off and recommended that they not record it the chart. If it was a true reading it would have lost 45 kilos in a little over a week. I wish!!
Okay, it’s bitch time, first off, people should not bring young children to visit in the hospitals. I’m sure this place could be quite frightening for the child and it can be very irritating for other patients. If you must just bring them once to say “Hi Grandma, I hope you get better soon” and take outside and chain them to the bike rack outside the Admitting door. Although, I did notice that kids can also be used as an escape clause; “I’d love to stay longer, Ma, but as you can see Cindy is getting restless and it’s past her bedtime already.” The other good escape clause is bring in your parking stub and occasionally subtlety but noticeably check your watch.
For the second gripe of the day, I blame myself and Leslie. Today, I posted a picture of Harvey Milk’s bust in the San Francisco City Hall and Leslie posted a photo of the Golden Gate Bridge. Now, I have the “I want to go back to San Francisco” bug. I’m itching for a road trip and Benadryl is not going to cure it.
The physios came back in today and told me Dana had convinced Dr. McConkey to change the order again to move my rehab forward a couple of days so I will begin getting 60° of range of motion starting Thursday. They did the 30° treatment and my knees felt great.
After my therapy, I decided to kick back and read a little. No sooner had got in a laid out position, I received another surprise visitor, Ed, one of my coworkers. He was on his way home from a job in West Van and decided to drop him. He caught me up on all the gossip and rumours at the PNE. It reminded me that as much as I miss everyone but I don’t miss the bullshit. Sadly, this situation is not unique in any work place but common in most.
It was time to be the demonstration dummy again. Layla brought another Vancouver Community College student, Jane, by a showed her the remains of my fracture blisters and replaced my dressings. The blisters are no longer cool because they are deep in the healing process and just look like large purple patches with a little loose skin on top.
I actually got something out of the ordinary for dinner, ham. Even the kitchen here couldn’t manage to screw up ham. The fun part about dinner was the vegetable, peas. I happen to like peas but they have to be one of the most things to eat in even under ideal conditions at a proper dinner table let alone having to reach up and out on an overbed table. The damn things are like little green ball bearings.
Felly was the night nurse so she loaded me up with Benadryl, Indocid for my ankle and that special little blue one. Rachel Maddow read me another bed time story and I was off to Never Never Land.
To be continued...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 27

Episode 27 – November 26 – For some reason I had a hard time getting to sleep last night and the woman beside me didn’t help. She spends a lot of time whining about her pain.
Even so I was wide awake at 5:00 and I did my first set of arm and chest exercises.
I almost had a disaster while I was readjusting my bed and bipap machine. I accidently knocked the tin of Sara’s cookies onto the floor but was lucky when the tip just flipped and while the lid was knocked loose it was only slightly ajar. I buzzed Marjory to rush in and immediately correct this near disaster.
Just before breakfast, they hauled in another pre-op patient with a broken hip to fill the last bed. She’s quite a bit younger than most of the patients so far, probably closer to my age
Amy’s my day nurse today. It’s the first time I’ve had her but I’ve seen her on the floor and she’s quite efficient and not too hard on the eyes to boot.
And of course, a vampire showed up this time for both blood counts and hemoglobin. That’s fine but when he took the extra vial “just in case there’s another test required” I was becoming suspicious. I have nothing against vampires just as long as they don’t “sparkle” when exposed to sunlight.
Breakfast has been much better since they changed the default settings to dry cereal. As far as the bananas go in hindsight I should have listed them as a food allergy.
Around noon just as I was drifting off, my buddy, Croft. It’s a scary sight just to see him but to wake up and see him standing over top of me was more than frightening. I will point out to all of my co-workers at the PNE, Croft is one of two people to blame for me working there; the other being Version 1.0’s mother. We sat and chatted about politics and trashed all our friends while I munched on my dry turkey sandwich. Croft started telling me a story about twisting his ankle while hiking and obviously I was giving him that look and he said “I’m not getting any sympathy from you on this, am I?” My reply was “Um, no. If you had started to tell me about the problems you  had with your kidney transplant, they maybe”. Then he proceeded to open the tin of Sara’s cookies and tried to fill his face. Actually, he only took one after I offered them to him twice.
Just after two, I was told that Amy would switching over to looking after some immediate post-op patients and Katrina would be looking after me for the rest of the day. Not exactly the best trade but Katrina seems okay. Hmmm...I wonder...did Amy meet Croft and bail out on me. Actually, I believe it was because Amy is an RN and Katrina is a LPN and treating immediate post-ops is much more involved.
Finally, the physio came by at 3 and did actually change the range of the braces to 30° at least for the time she was doing the passive movement. The bad thing is that the surgeon changed the order pushing the change to 60° back by two days. This was added to the chart without even checking on me.  I will be speaking to Dr. Haaf about this so he can put some pressure on the surgeon to speed up my rehab. I want to be out of this effing place before Christmas.
While we have a moment, let’s discuss some of the important issues of the day, at least as far as hospitals go. Today’s topic is “Paper vs. Plastic”. Of course, we are referring to urinal bottles. A few weeks ago I got to product test both items. I was originally quite surprised to see the cardboard pee bottles. They are made of a composite similar to the fish and chip trays you buy at the beach. The advantage I found with the plastic one is the body in narrower so it fit better between my braces. The problem was that being plastic it was unforgiving with regard to splash back situations while the cardboard ones being slightly absorbent don’t have this problem. You can see my entire report in the September 2013 issue of Consumer Reports. Trust me, it’s true because this is on the internet and you can’t post untruths on the internet. I know that because I read it on the internet.
The woman in the next bed had a couple of visitors and she kept talking/whining louder so came with a solution slap in the earbuds and do some serious headbanging with Warlock. Hmm... wouldn’t it be fun if I could crank that shit up in the entire ward. Hee hee!
Now if you remember the other day the Crown Prince brought me some dental floss. He, even more so than me, being  frugal bought the Real Canadian Superstore house brand “Exact”. I gave him a little bit of friendly grief about it then put it away. It turns that every three or four feet the dispenser jams. I have to open it up and reverse the roll. How hard can it be to machine wrap a spool of thread so it all unwinds in the same direction?
When the dinner fairy came around the choices were chicken or meatloaf. After a few nasty chicken dinners I chose the meatloaf thinking it would the same as the Salisbury steak and meatballs, tasteless but harmless. The pleasant surprise it was not bad and had a lot of flavour. And no, mom, I didn’t pick out all the onions. ;-)
Felly was my night nurse so that’s always a good thing. And it being a week night ,I got Rachel Maddow to read me a bed time story.
Just after 11 my left ankle started to twinge a bit similar to the gout flare up that happened a few nights ago. I called Felly and got her to pack it with ice and then she brought me a couple of Tylenol. This seemed to nip it in the bud.
And the effing tap is running again but the cookies are still damn tasty!
To be continued...

Monday, November 26, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 26

...*heavy sigh* Are you still out there?....
Episode 26 – November 25 – Today was my favourite niece, Jennifer’s birthday. It’s easy to call her my favourite niece in a family full of boys but we’ve always had a special bond. I fell in love with her the first time I met her when she was about five years old and that love has never faltered despite several long gaps in communications. We were once accused by her grandmother and mother as being “thick as thieves” and that “Jennifer can do no wrong in Dennis’ eyes”. (Which was and still is true.hee hee!) In the past few years, she has become my conscience watching out for her Uncle D. And even more recently she has become my new “road trip buddy”.
The sleeping worked magically last night and I didn’t wake up until Marjorie woke me up at 6:30 and checked my glucose level which was a fabulous 5.6!
Sandra is my day nurse again today and that’s a good thing. Sandra also has impeccable timing. She performed a small very important procedure on me and then managed to time her break so that the nurse covering her beds got stuck with the “fun” stuff. (insert mantra “I never want to be a nurse”)
Harry in the opposite corner checked out this morning and headed back to Pemberton. He was probably the youngest person besides me to be in this room and he was in his mid to late sixties.
Dad made his weekly call and we talked about last night’s game. He was ecstatic about his Irish. Just for him, I have to make it to a Notre Dame in game soon particularly in South Bend.  South Bend is on the pilgrimage list for all Catholic School boys even more sacred than Jerusalem and the Vatican.
Sandra came in with two sterile swab sticks and explained that they were swabbing everyone for MRSA, an antibiotic resistant bacterium. The first swab was for my nostrils. So I’m thinking so what is the other swab for. Oh, for there!!! Just a sec, let me roll onto my side. “I never want to be a nurse.”
Knowing that I was expecting company, I arranged for Sandra to get me into my chair. She got the sling in place and then realized that there was no help so she decided to wait until after lunch when the physios returned. So I sat back and enjoyed my tuna sandwich and summer squash soup.
Once I was back in the chair, I just kicked back awaited my guests. While waiting, they moved Art to an isolation room so for the time being I had the entire ward to myself.
Just after 2, Scott, Lorraine and Sara arrived. This is part of another great Night Owl family and I believe there are four or five daughters in the clan. Actually there are only two more but I bet there were times when Scooter thought there was at least a dozen women living in the house. They packed me up and rolled me down the hall to the elevators. It was the first time I had actually seen the halls from an upright position so everything looked different. While we on the move thanks to Lorraine’s driving through the not so wheelchair friendly halls, Sara kept giving her mom grief about Lorraine being a nurse and not being able to steer a wheelchair.  I was used to rolling through in a stretcher and I had the ceiling of the floor memorized.
We went down to the first floor cafeteria for cappuccinos and some great conversation. And the big bonus is Sara, a chef-in-training, had made me a tin of cookies that are diabetic friendly. “Me like cookie!”.
When they returned me to my room, it turned out I was no longer alone. There was another confused old English lady, Marguerite, where Art used to be. Obviously, they moved her when she was asleep when they did a lot of bed shuffling when Art was moved. I think she’s another long time resident.
Shortly after that one more little old English lady from Squamish, Anne Marie  was brought in as a pre-surgery patient with a broken elbow. This one is 100 years old.
It pains me when they send a nurse with a heavy accent to try and ask these near deaf old dears questions. I almost think they need interpreters. Of course, this reminds me of a cute story about Jennifer’s grandmother. She was in Eaton’s and a salesman with a heavy Scottish brogue spoke to her. Grandma exclaimed in sheer delight “It’s so n*** to hear an accent that isn’t foreign!”
Marguerite in the bed beside me is obviously really hard of hearing because she has headphones on to watch her TV and I can hear the sound through them quite clearly. So I plugged in my tunes to block it out.
What also gets to me is when they ask confused patients questions like “Do you know what day it is?” to determine how aware they. For eff’s sake even I have to check my phone or the little box in the corner of my screen to find out what day it is. Every day is Groundhog Day!
I set myself up to watch TSN’s raw feed camera of the Grey Cup while listening to the radio commentary on Team 1410 online. It was a bit strange because the radio was about two plays behind the camera feed and the score on the side of the camera feed was one play head of that.
Marjorie once again is the source of my magic pills. So it’s time to cozy up to the Green River Killer and have Pink serenade me to sleep.
And damn those cookies are even tastier than the peanuts! Thank you, Sara!
To be continued...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 25

...I'm can't get rid of me that easy...
Episode 25 – November 24 – The meds must have done their job last night because I slept straight through from 9:30 until 5:30. They worked so well that I did not even notice them taking Stephanie out in the hall to sleep. They usually do this when a patient is delusional and calling out a lot.
Vampirella showed up just before the sun was fully up, of course. This time it was to check my uric acid levels. I can pretty much guess that they will be elevated because of my gout episode. I can know prove false that the old myth that rich food and red wine are the principle causes of gout because I haven’t seen either for a month.
My new day nurse is Sandra. Maybe they’re trying to tell me something sending me a parade of new nurses. I’m really not all that cranky for a middle-aged guy.  Actually she seems quite n*** and on the ball. The bonus is that Felly is also working in our room so she is always there for backup and support.
I haven’t see a breakfast fairy in over a week so breakfast as always was a delight and they even threw in a banana to make me even happier. I have decided to stop calling the oatmeal and cream of wheat gruel because it insults the good name of gruel. Let’s simply it to runny, slimy shite. Just to make breakfast time an even more pleasant experience, it seems this also the time the cleaning lady always does our ward so she’s banging and bumping around while you are trying to eat.
Sandra brought in my morning drug cocktail. There were ten pills and capsules in the little cup plus a syringe of Formin, the blood thinner. This collage is almost a meal in itself. Speaking of the blood thinner, Sandra found a huge bruise on my right abdomen likely caused by the blood thinners. The blood thinner is only necessary because I’m totally immobilized and clots can form in my legs. I cringe at the thought of how much all these drugs would be costing me in a less socialized medical country like the USA.
Being bedridden makes your mind start thinking about funny things. Just outside the door of the room is a hand sanitizer dispenser. The way staff walk in and apparently unconsciously reach out and squirt their hands their hands takes me back to my childhood Catholic Church days where people would walk by the holy water font and dip their hands in it without looking. I half expect people entering the room to genuflect and cross themselves.
Lunch wasn’t bad with a roast beef sandwich and cream of broccoli soup. The strange thing about meals is the cutlery. For both lunch and breakfast they serve the meals with stainless steel cutlery and dinner is served with plastic knives and forks. It’s almost as bad as when you fly first class and they give you a sharp steak knife after they took away your nail clippers at the gate. Apparently, hijackers only fly economy class.
Stephanie in the bed across from me was discharged today. The strange thing about it is her daughter was her at the beginning awaiting the doctor’s final paperwork and she was joined by another couple and they stayed waiting as well. Her daughter then phoned another person and said, “Mom is going to be released soon did you want to come up here?” WTF!! Were they planning a parade up Lonsdale?
I’m really getting frustrated about my physio rehab. I asked Sandra to check into it and she came back and said that the physios are primarily dealing with post-op and discharge patients over the weekend and I wasn’t due for another treatment if you want to call it that until Monday. Dr. McConkey, the surgeon was supposed to come by and talk about this today but he didn’t show either.
The Crown Prince popped in this afternoon and dropped off some desperately needed dental floss. I had been out of it since Wednesday morning. He stayed for about an hour and as usual we chatted about everything, anything and nothing.
I had a bit of a serious chat Sandi and pretty much confirmed what I had already surmised. She was getting more and more exhausted both with her dad’s condition and with the struggles with her siblings regarding her father. Then she did something frightening she said “You came in here three weeks ago with a beautiful pedicure and now your feet look all dry and flaky. Would you like me to put some lotion on them.” I did balk initially but they did look like hell and she had already told me her “bitch” (ie. Boyfriend) was back in town tonight so I agreed.
One thing that has improved is my upper body flexibility. It became necessary as to reach things using only my trunk. The thing about this is that along with my trusty reacher I can now control all three of my curtain walls.
I have discovered that the safest meat product to order for dinner is the roast pork. Unlike the chicken or fish which can be okay or very disgusting the pork has always been passable. Just don’t tell my rabbi. Oh wait...What’s that?... I’m not...oops, my bad.
Double good time tonight! The breakfast fairy came by and changed the default settings so I will be getting dry cereal every day. No more runny, slimy shite!
And the best thing is I spent the evening listening to the Notre Dame vs USC game on ESPN radio and my Irish are now off to Florida for the national championship in January.  If I only knew what my abilities and disabilities will be in January I would at least be looking into making the trip.
Art has been at his total worst tonight acting so much that they put him back in his chair and rolled him into the hallway. He still continued screaming.
My night nurse was Marjorie and she offered earplugs along with my little blue friend. So I plugged into No Doubt and letGwen Stefani sing me a lullaby while I read myself a bed time story about the adventures of the Green River Killer.
Oh and those roasted peanuts are still damn tasty!
To be continued...


Saturday, November 24, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 24

...please pay attention, some of this could very well be on the final exam...
Episode 24 – November 23 – Today pretty much started the way last night ended. At around 3:30, Stephanie, in the bed across from me, started to have pain and other issues from her post-op. For some reason the nurses had to turn on the overhead lights for the whole room. This woke me with a start and I was never able to get back to a complete slumber. Of course, it didn’t help that there was a patient down the hall screaming out random names all night.
By 5 AM I made the decision to go through my bed exercise routine. I quite often joke about this being my prison cell and when I’m doing my crunches and pull ups it always brings to mind every prison movie where the guy in solitary is constantly doing exercises in his cell.
At around 6, my left ankle started to twinge so I called Rosita. She told me that I wasn’t due for more indomecin, my gout medication, for at least two hours so she packed the ankle in ice and that seemed to help.
Breakfast came and went and there’s no point discussing it any further.
Barb is my day nurse again today. So far she has impressed me as a bit of an airhead especially being that she has been in the profession for years. She is the exact opposite of Denise who is probably the same age and been doing the job for about the same length of time. Denise is extremely resourceful and knows how to cut corners. I have to explain everything about my treatment to Barb to make sure it is done correctly. Today, I had to remind her to give me my blood thinner shot. She was almost insistent that she already had because she had written it in the chart. I’m pretty sure I’d remember being stabbed in the gut. She is one of those dim people that have absolutely no sense of humour.
The best thing about Barb is she is not Sergio. In fact, I think she’s on our floor to fill in for him because he’s off on sick. I hope he makes out okay with his struggles but I don’t want him back as my nurse.
So before lunch, Barb insisted I get up into my wheelchair. Actually, I promised her I would yesterday when I refused to do it. Of course, I had to direct the action. There were two nurses, one student  and Haney, the nurse’s aide there for the transfer. The joke is Haney who technically is the low person on the totem pole was the only one that had any clue about what had to be done. I didn’t even bother to ask about using the controls because Barb wouldn’t have been able to make that kind of a decision.
After getting into the chair, Barb asked me “Are you sure you don’t want to go down to the sun room for a change of scenery?” The answer in the back of my mind was “Yes, it would be so delightful to go sit in a corner of a room full of old incoherent sick people and watch The Price is Right.” No, I think I will be quite contented to stay here in my own little isolated dream world and escape into my laptop.
Speaking of Haney, I forgot to mention the other day when her and Rosita were discussing my nails she piped in with “my husband likes me to do his in purple.” See I’m not the only weird guy out there. And weird is good any way.
Lunch was pretty decent; navy bean soup and a potato and tomato frittata.
Being the only normally coherent person in the room I’ve become the resource person keeping track of the comings of goings of staff and equipment for everyone. Also because I am one of the few coherent patients on the floor all the staff that are proficient in English stop by and chat.
The most helpful people today have been the Kwantlen and BCIT students along with Haney. Unfortunately none of them can hand out the goodies and take any direct action.
While still sitting up in the chair, Dr. Haaf called to let me know he wasn’t coming in today so we discussed making sure my gout medication was properly charted so I would have it available as required. Apparently, it was on the list on my chart originally along with the Benadryl but the surgeon deleted it because he thought it would interfere with all the post-op drugs and it never got put back on until now. I also spoke to him about the physio orders and they seemed a bit conservative as well. The other thing id he had to point the order out to the physios or they would likely never even looked at all yesterday. While writing this it dawned on me too late that I didn’t even see a physio at all today.
So when Barb started to organize my transfer and I kept instructing everyone she facetiously handed me the control and said I could do the lifting. I did it with ease and she said I should do it myself in the future. I told her I had already been doing for two weeks and she asked why I didn’t tell her. I bit my tongue so I didn’t tell her she was too ditzy to understand.
I spent the rest of the afternoon watching another of the anime movies the Crown Prince brought up “Howl’s Moving Castle” another Disney/Ghibli Studios collaboration. I quite enjoyed it even if the story line was a bit strange.
Dinner was a disaster. I decided to order the baked fish. Not only did it look gross rolled up like a giant snail; the taste was even worse. They threw in a bonus tonight, red diet jello. I got seasick just cutting into it. It’s a wonderful dinner when the best thing on the tray is the chopped spinach.
So Bodi moved out back to Gibson’s. Actually under different circumstances he would have probably be an interesting person to talk with because of all his travels. A new guy, Harry moved in around 7:30 so more post op chaos; another knee replacement dude.
Rosita was my night nurse again and the first thing she did was pack my ankle in ice to get the swelling from the gout down.
I managed to read a few pages from my book and let my evening cocktail take me away.
And someone left the damn tap dripping again!
To be continued...

Friday, November 23, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 23

...getting back to our story...
Episode 23 – November 22 – Last night was another of those chaotic times with Art acting up and the two new post-op patients having issues. Thank god for that little blue pill so I at least got some rest.
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the US and I hope all my American friends and family are enjoying their holiday. Of course, I also empathize with all you because family dinners are always so much fun. I recommend Prozac in the mashed potatoes and keep the tranq dart gun handy.
Today also marks the 49th anniversary of the assassination of John Kennedy. Most people my age can vividly remember where they were that day. I remember being at Friday morning mass at Our Lady of Sorrows and the priest walking up to the pulpit and making the announcement. We were then taken back to our classrooms and then dismissed for the day. As much as I admired JFK, he was actually my fourth favourite Kennedy sibling behind Teddy, Bobby and Eunice.
I have another new day nurse today, Barb. I broke her in fine this morning by causing myself to repeat my mantra “I never want to be a nurse”.
While enjoying another scrumptious breakfast, the vampire dropped by for her own breakie. This time she claimed it was for my hemoglobin. I think they’re just making up big words to fool me into giving them more blood.
Dr. Haaf came in to check on me. He finally got the ultrasound and urine culture results back. Both were negative for any signs of infection or stones. He thinks it may have either been a small stone passing or a strange muscle spasm.
We also talked about Dr. Chow on the weekend being more concerned more about my weight than my legs. He figured I’d be a little pissed when he read the chart. Let’s deal with today’s problems and worry about the long term later.
We did however discuss switching to a new drug for my diabetes which we will look at when I get out. Apparently this is a new one and is the only one approved for helping with weight control. The problem is it is injectible. Great, more self-mutilation.
Lunch was passable being meatballs and gravy and it appears someone in the kitchen actually found the spice rack. But just to make sure I wasn’t totally sated, they threw in their infamous split pea soup. Bleccchhh!!
While we are on the topic, as I mentioned in a previous episode, I had been catching up on the series “Treme”. The problem is that it is painful to watch from a hospital bed. The big thing besides the music that New Orleans is famous for is the food and the show features this as well in all its decadent forms. I am dying for crawfish etouffe and a huge poor boy sandwich.
I have now become immune to all the alarms going off all the time. Between Art constantly climbing out of the bed and setting of the bed alarm and the people over at Evergreen House burning the toast and setting off the smoke detectors, it all becomes just noise.
After lunch, Barb came in and it was time to remove the staples from my incisions. This procedure is for the most painless but it still grossed me out and I tried to avoid watching. Yes, I’m a big wuss and proud of it.
The physio finally showed up after 3 and it appears that there was some conflicting information between Dr. McConkey told me and what he wrote on the chart. He told me that I would have increased range of motion in my braces while in bed awake and the chart said the physio was to conduct passive movement of 30°. This required ten minutes of undoing then doing up my braces for about thirty seconds of moving each knee about three inches. This seems way too cautious of a rehab protocol.
For some reason every Thursday during my stay has been the down day of each week and this one was no different. My mood had become so sour that I refused to go into my wheelchair because the process seemed so pointless.
While I was having my major pout about my rehab, the revolving door in this room continued. The newest addition to our ward is an elderly English woman, Stephanie who had broken her ankle. Her biggest problem was a bad reaction to the anaesthetic and spent the night throwing up.
Even after my discussion with Dr. Haaf about Dr. Chow’s obsession with my weight, her order to weigh was still on the chart. The bed is set up to weigh patients by zeroing the built in scale when the patient is lifted out of the bed and then putting the patient back on to the bed. The good news is I have lost at least 30 pounds in the last couple of months. Some of it was prior to my accident and the rest due to the great food here.
The best thing that happened today was receiving a call from my wonderful niece, Jennifer. Hearing from her always brightens my day even when she is lecturing me about my health or life choices. This time, she got to listen to me vent about my day and other things. By the time we said good night, I was in a much better mood.
Unfortunately, just as my emotional state was levelling out my physical pain exploded. The gout condition in my left ankle started to act up and rapidly escalated to absolutely excruciating. It had increased exponentially even from the time I pressed the call button until the nurse’s aide arrived to find out the problem. Unfortunately this was happening at shift change for the nurses. Esther was able to pack some ice on my ankle to cool it down and reduce some of the swelling. Rosita made some calls and got a doctor to approve my usual gout meds and then we had to wait for the pharmacy to approve the order. Finally they arrived along with my sleeping pill. I was able to get some sleep.
The pain involved was far greater and more sustained than either that from my fall and even the post-op trauma pain.
To be continued...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 22 I keeping you awake? So what? There’s still more...
Episode 22 – November 21 – I am now beginning my fourth week here and hopefully I am past the half way point of my stay or at least half way to getting these braces off.
Last night sleep was not as pleasant as the past few nights have been. Art decided it would be a good night to act up and the nurses were in and out all night.
As I mentioned before, I was beginning to like Art’s daughter, Sandi. That part hasn’t changed but now I’m really beginning to feel for her. This has to be such a strain on her emotionally, mentally and physically. I can see this happening. When she comes in, she looks tired and she’s not anywhere near as chipper. When she talks to her dad she sounds a lot more frustrated and her patience wears thinner.
Because of the heat in the room, the window is left open so we can hear the sounds off 13th Street mostly cars driving in the rain and sirens from the firehall and police station across the street but this morning I had to giggle while doing my morning exercises. I could hear some dude ralphing in the street. Obviously hearing puking noises in this place is not unusual, it just seemed quite incongruous to hear it coming from the outside.
I’ve got another new day nurse today, Rosita. So far she has been very helpful and that shower seems very promising for this afternoon.
Breakfast came and they made another error on my tray. The menu read “whole wheat toast” but they sent a small blueberry muffin instead. It wasn’t bad but at least it was a change. They also include my twice weekly egg ration. This one was listed as “hard cooked” and there was no question about “hard. I would rather be hit by a lacrosse ball than this. To no one’s surprise because the fairy hadn’t come by my two favourites were there, cream of wheat and a banana. But I was already one step ahead of them this time. Last week, Pam had brought up a fruit smoothie for me and had put it in the fridge. She had emailed me this morning to remind me about it because they throw everything out of the fridge after one week. I sent Rosita to find it and it was delightful and filling.
It’s been an effing zoo in the room this morning between all the staff coming in for Charlie’s return home and everyone checking up on the post-op guy across from me. And everyone seems to be yelling instead of talking. To drown out the noise I did my second set of exercises with my earbuds cranked up with Best Coast’s “The Only Place”.
Not only that apparently some people don’t bother to check what the visiting hours are. They are supposed to start at 11 but the ass clown across from me had buddies coming in starting at 10 and they have no problem talking loud. The new guy, Gordon,  is one of those loud, obnoxious and overly friendly car salesman type guys. I’ve taken to plugging in my earbuds in even when I have nothing playing just to ignore him when he crosses over to use the sink beside me so I don’t have to talk to him.
And just for an ironic giggle his wife came in during lunch and while they were discussing his other visitors she asked “Did he bring you any bananas? I told him you like bananas.” *head smack*
On the cute side, Angela, the Langara student, popped in and I had to disappoint her again because my dressing didn’t need changing. She’s so cute and so pretty. Hmm...possible Crown Princess material perhaps? Hee hee!
I still haven’t heard the results of my urine culture and bladder/kidney scan last week. I hope no news is good news. Regardless the pain from whatever it was is gone now.
Road Trip!!!  Rubber Ducky Time!! Rosita and Haney came in the room with the shower stretcher and my eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas. I was on my way up to the seventh floor for a shower. It felt great to have the braces off for a bit but there was always this nagging fear in the back of my mind that kept saying “don’t even think about bending your knees”. The scary part is that I can feel my quads wanting to move which is good because they appear to be healing but bad because the temptation to bend them is there. It felt marvellous to massage the shampoo into my matted hair. I feel pretty!!
When we got back to the room, Rosita changed both my dressings. Poor Angela, is going to be heartbroken because she had already gone for the day.
While kicking back before dinner, Dr. McConkey, the surgeon, came into check on things and decided to start a progressive range of motion. Tomorrow, my braces will be adjusted to give me 30° of movement while in bed. They will still be locked at 0° while I’m in the wheelchair.
I’ve been catching up on a couple British dramas from Movie Central and Super Channel. “Hunted” is a suspense spy thriller. “Hit & Miss” is best described as interesting. Interesting is the only way to describe a TV show that reveals a “Crying Game” type surprise regarding the protagonist within the first three minutes of  the opening episode.
Considering that I missed the dinner fairy taking orders while I was in the shower, dinner was half bad; roast pork, potatoes and mixed vegetables.
The new guy in the bed (hip replacement) in the bed in the opposite corner must be a former hippie type from the sixties. He and his wife lived in an ashram in India for a few years and he changed his name to Bodi.
While we are on the subject of hippies, my purveyor of the little blue pill is Layla. Yes, she was named after the EricClapton/Derek and the Dominoes song although her mom had always for some reason thought the name of the song was “Painless Love”. That may have lead to some strange introductions in kindergarten.
To be continued...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 21

...meanwhile back at the ranch...
Episode 21 – November 20 – Woke up this morning at 6:30 after some rather vivid dreams and began my exercise routine.
Solly came by to check my glucose levels which have been hovering just above and below the 6.0 level each morning. I am not looking forward to doing this myself when I get home. I just have a thing about self mutilation. Yes, I admit it, I’m a big baby. So there!
Esther’s my day nurse today so that adds a positive start to the day and breakfast with corn flakes instead of gruel is another positive note. However, all morning I have had this strange vibe that something is wrong. I get this feeling every so often and about 70% of the time something weird happens.
Maybe my Spidey senses are a little confused because Esther let me know that I have a shower booked for tomorrow. More positive news; now I’m getting scared.
Just before lunch, the physio decided that it was time for me to sit up in my wheelchair. The move team consisted of a new physio, Esther and Angela, the student from Langara who changed my dressing yesterday.  The problem with this was that none of them had participated in my transfer before so I had to instruct them in the whole procedure including how my legs had to be strapped down to each legrest.
Angela was a bit disappointed when she found out my dressing didn’t need to be changed again today because a few other student nurses wanted to see my cool fracture blisters. Different strokes for different folks.
So I got to enjoy my scrumptious lunch of a spinach salad and a dry salmon sandwich sitting in a chair.  for some reason they had omitted the soup. I checked the menu card and it did list borscht. I am not a fan of beets on their own but I enjoy a good borscht especially with a dollop of sour cream in the middle.
While in the chair my latest roommate moved out. The biggest problem with these quick turnarounds is that increases the comings and goings and the general chaos in the room. First when they bring a post-op patient there are several nurses running in and out off the ward and when they are being discharged there are therapists, doctors and such and then the housekeeping crew comes in to clean up the bed area in preparation for a new patient. They moved another overnight post-op in within two hours today. Tomorrow is going to be even worse because Charlie is being discharged so the craziness will double.
The new guy said the most ridiculous thing when discussing his precious dogs with Sam, the nurse. Sam said that she had to put her dog down. His statement was “I know how you feel. Losing a dog feels worse the losing a child.” Really, dude? And then he went on to say “the best way to get over it is go out the following week and adopt a new puppy.” I wonder what his advise would be for losing a child.
I spent two and three quarter hours in the chair today which was a bit too long and I was extremely tired. By the time the nurses were ready to use the lift; I was half asleep leaning to one side. Yes, I had become that old guy you see in every hospital drooling on his gown semi-conscious.
Dinner wasn’t half bad, beef macaroni with carrots. The pasta for once wasn’t severely overcooked.
On a completely different note, over the past few weeks, all the nurses passing through stop and admire my pedicure and the colour of my toenails, a metallic dark red. Although it originally started as a dare, I have continued to do have my nails painted for several years now. Awhile back someone very dear to me tried to convince me to stop this silly little habit for a number of reasons primarily to avoid people assuming things about me. I had seriously considered making this change. I finally decided not to stop at this time because I realized the true reason I keep doing it. It makes me feel good. Yes, I’m weird but weird is good. I love this person dearly for caring so much about me and I know she will understand and accept my decision for the time being. (Note: one of the first orders of business when I get paroled will be a fresh mani/pedi along with an overdue haircut.)
Kevin checked in as my night nurse and brought me my little blue friend and after Rachel Maddow, I headed off to dreamland.
To be continued...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 20

Episode 20 – November 19 – My little blue pill did wonders last night giving me eight hours of solid sleep from 10 PM to 6 AM. I immediately got to work on my upper body exercises in anticipation of another busy day here in paradise.
They hauled our new cellmate to the OR while I was stretching; not if he’s coming to our room or not. They had him on a wait list all day yesterday to go in for his surgery so he had been on a no food or drink order all day. When it was finally confirmed that he would be going in they brought him a tray of food. His turned it down because he was supposedly a vegetarian. It turns out he’s actually a fake vegetarian; the kind that eats fish and eggs. Actually I’m pretty sure that a vegetarian would have no problem here anyway because there is never anything resembling meat on those trays ever.
Kevin is my nurse for the day. He definitely does not fit the standard description of nurses around here. Besides being a larger sized male, English is his first language. Kevin is also the one we all have to thank for finding pajama bottoms for Charlie.
Not seeing the magic breakfast fairy the night before of course meant gruel this morning. They did however throw in a slab of cheddar cheese along with my whole wheat toast. I decided to supplement my meal by opening up the jar of peanuts that Pam and Dennis brought me last week. This may have been a mistake because they were way too tasty.  
While enjoying my delightful repast, the vampire returned to scoop up a couple of snack size test tubes of her own. She mumbled something about my blood count but I could see her salivating as slinked off into the shadows. Does anybody hamper to have Buffy’s new phone number?
I must have been having some concentration and memory issues this morning because I was having a few problems typing. Normally, I type similar to the touch typing method I was taught in high school. I was never great at it but it is like my fingers remember where the keys are. If try the hunt and peck method I get lost. This morning couldn’t seem to remember where the keys were. I’m back to where I should be.
For the first time in awhile lunch was on par with the other meals. I opted to try the turkey tetrazzini instead of the tuna sandwich. It was beyond tasteless. The soup which is normally the best thing on my tray all day was cream of potato that resembled most of the breakfast gruel.
While lunch was being served, the new guy returned from the OR.
They finally got the seating issues straightened out on my wheelchair so after almost a week of lying in bed they were able to get me sitting up at a ninety degree angle. After a lot of fumbling and adjusting they got settled.
While up it Kevin thought it might be a good time to change my dressing and by coincidence a group of students from Vancouver Community College happened to be on the floor doing dressings so Kevin brought in Angela to do mine. She did a great job on mine and because of the odd blister configuration around the incision, she will probably have the most interesting report back in the classroom. It was actually funny watching how a student does everything does everything so slow and methodical step by step while an experienced practitioner will combine the steps and speed through the process. You see this in all professions.
Because of the new cushioning system I was able to sit up in the chair for over two hours which was the therapist’s goal for today without any but pain in the butt. It was refreshing to settle back in bed with fresh new linens.
One thing I did confirm is that it feels much more secure when they let me run the lift controls. The therapists wouldn’t let me going into the chair but going back I convinced Kevin to let me do it and Angie, the nurse’s aide confirmed I had done it before. I think maybe a regulation is getting bent a little when a patient operates the lift. Hey, I’m a rebel!!
So I started a new book by Ann Rule “Green River, Running Red” about the Green River killer. This should make for some sweet bed time reading and pleasant dreams. Thanks, Mona. ;-)
Every once in awhile, dinner shines as the best meal of the day. That would the case when the grilled salmon on the menu. Finally, something had taste.
Spent the evening catching up on “Treme” an extremely well written HBO series about post-Katrina New Orleans; great characters and fabulous music.
 Solly, my night nurse took my vitals and loaded me up on evening meds as Rachel Maddow read me another bed time story.
Oh and damn those peanuts are tasty!
To be continued...

Monday, November 19, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 19

...shall we get on with it...
Episode 19 – November 18 -  I was up at around 6:30 after a bit of a fitful sleep due to a combined effort of my own restlessness and the screaming of another delusional patient down the hall. I began my first set of isometric and resistance exercises along with deep breathing exercises. The last thing I need is to get sick in the damn place.
Just make sure everyone was awake, the alarm sounded and it was another Code Red in Evergreen House. Don’t those people know how to make effing toast?
Maria is my day so I’m not expecting a lot. Her English is suspect but so far, she’s been able to deal with all my outrageous demands.
I did receive a visit from the breakfast fairy last so I avoided both the cream of wheat and the banana. The alternate choice for fruit was apple. I assumed the apple would be the regular chopped up pieces in some juice but it was a whole apple. I don’t normally eat whole apples because I have a nasty overbite and a huge gap between my two front teeth. When I do bite into one I actually more so scoop with my bottom teeth.
Dr. Chow dropped by again but I’m not sure why. She had not bothered to check for my lab results. She did waste my time talking about my body mass index. Yes, I know I have to lose weight. No, I don’t need you to send up the dietician. I know what I’m doing wrong and I know I have to correct it.
One of the things I try not to do is wallow in self-pity. My situation is temporary and in a few months I will be doing fine. I have through a number of much more devastating, traumatic and permanent events in my life. I know too many friends that are at present going through much more difficult times dealing with chronic illnesses or ailing parents. My heart goes out to all of you.
The good news today is that the nurse found a real pair of pajamas instead of a gown for Charlie in the opposite corner. That image of him heading into the washroom will no longer be burned into my visitors’ minds. (Sorry about that, Louise!)
Jim in the bed across from me got paroled
Around noon, one of my favourite Facebook friends, Leslie came in to visit with a couple of cappuccinos. We shared quite a few laughs while we solved all the world’s problems as I nibbled on my lunch consisting of a tuna sandwich and mushroom soup. (Don’t worry, was good but it couldn’t hold a candle to your concoction.)
The most hilarious thing about Leslie’s visit actually came after she left. She had just texted her boyfriend with “Had a n*** visit” and for some reason Virgin Mobile’s version of autocorrect had changed it to “Had a n*** booty call”. Boy, I had better not have been sleeping and missed it. I suspect Sir Richard Branson and his wicked sense of humour had struck again. :-)
While Leslie was still there, my new cell mate arrived. We couldn’t tell exactly what surgery he had but using our joint deductive skills and observing that his right leg was propped up on pillows and bandaged up we hazarded a guess that the operation may have involved his right leg. (Turns out he's actually a pre-op patient booked for surgery in the morning.)
I managed to pull in a raw camera feed of the Lions’ game off the TSN website and accompanied by a second site giving a play by play description I sat back and followed the contest. Alas, the boys tried but fell just short. Oh well, there’s still my Fighting Irish and 49ers.
While watching the game, a nurse’s aide brought in my afternoon fruit snack; another effing banana! I couldn’t even be civil; I just about bit her head off.
The best word to described dinner is beige. Edible but forgettable. A principle rule in culinary presentation is never serve cauliflower and mashed potatoes with chicken. The menu card contained the description “Zesty Garlic Chicken Gravy”. Apparently zesty is a synonym for “m-eh”. 
Oh, and for those that missed my FB posting, I really do know a former Twinkie Straightener. Just watch this news clip.
After an abnormally long time due to my low energy levels, I was finally able to finish JK Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy”. I enjoyed it immensely. This is definitely not for children.
Felly brought me my evening cocktail consisting of an anti-inflammatory and a sleeping pill. After watching a couple of cheesy sitcoms, I let that little blue pill carry me home.
To be continued...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 18 your notebooks and we will begin today’s lesson...
Episode 18 – November 17 – Getting to sleep last night was a little more difficult, Art was acting up and yelling. Our new roommate, Jim was getting his first taste of life in 621.
Sergio decided that he should wake me up at 6:30 to check my glucose levels. The good thing at least was my reading was 5.9. Yay!!
I tried to go back to sleep but the early morning vampire had to come and grab a snack from me before the sun was fully up. This time she claimed it was to check my B12 levels.
Right after Vampirella left, Dr. Chow, the on call doctor dropped on Dr. Haaf’s request. Obviously she hadn’t read my chart because the first thing she asked me is if I was walking around much.! She was supposed to be there to check on my possible urinary tract infection and without lab results there wasn’t much that could be done.
Last night the breakfast fairy sort of came by. She shuffled into the room walked to the window and then walked out down the hall. I saw her walk by again, look at the room and then disappear again. Needless to say there was gruel on the tray today. At least there was a little scoop of scrambled eggish stuff with my slice of toast. Fellie had talked to the dietician and got her to include some cranberry juice each morning. However, what they actually brought was cranberry cocktail which is one step away from red Kool-Aid. Even most cranberry juice you buy is only a small portion of cranberry. It’s mostly apple and grape juice but at least it is juice. Recently studies have been on cranberry juice and the effects in aiding the urinary tract are minimal but at best it won’t cause a problem.
It turns out that the new guy on the ward is Jim McFarlane, former head of the BCTF. I’m sure several of you teachers will remember him. I don’t know what he’s in for but hospitals are like prisons, you don’t ask. If they volunteer the information fine but sometimes it’s good to be kept in the dark. (I found out later it was for a knee replacement.)
I have a new day nurse today, Catherine. She seems quite good and efficient however she almost seems she want to be a doctor. She is a bit too thorough.
People have asked me about how I can deal with the boredom of lying in bed. To tell you the truth at this point in time I don’t get bored. Besides having several things to do like my writing and reading, my energy levels are so low that these things take a lot out of me and I have to lie back and even nap to re-energize. By the time boredom kicks in it is the end of the day.
One of the ways I was able to pass my time today was cheering my Notre Dame Fighting Irish walk all over Wake Forest and I was able to do it for free from a legitimate site. Hopefully I’ll be this lucky for Lions playoff game tomorrow. The Irish are now within a whisker of playing for the national championship.
The Crown Prince dropped in just as the game was ending. Acting upon my request he brought up with him some lip balm because my lips were drying out and cracking from the hot room. He also brought up a new nail care kit and if you have to ask why you don’t know me. Truthfully, I only asked him to buy a pair of clippers because my fingernails were getting too long; the rest of the items were a bonus.
Speaking of the heat in this room, Bryan kept looking for a thermostat but not to turn it down but to make sure it wasn’t a system designed by his company. Ever vigilant, that’s my boy.
We had an interesting discussion about several news items, the Hostess shut down and we decided to scrap our idea of investing in a grow op and go into the business of black market Twinkies. Bryan also experienced what I have I to deal with all day; listening to nurses in very loud voices speaking to old, nearly deaf, mostly delusional old men about their body functions and the corrective measures they were going to take. This while he was trying to decide what he was going to do about dinner. I believe he put off his decision for an hour or two.
While Bryan was there a delivery came for me. It was a fruit basket from CUPE 1004. Anyone care to guess what the top two items were? Steve, didn’t you tell them about the bananas? Lol!!
Dinner was another tasteless treat, meatish balls; very similar to the Salisbury steak the other day, only spherical.
Art was particularly delusional today climbing out of bed and falling on the floor twice and causing a general alarm amongst the nursing staff. The strange thing is that immediately after the last incident he had a very lucid conversation with Jim about farming in Saskatchewan. After about five minutes however he lapsed into his normal state.
Fellie was my night nurse and while checking my vitals confirmed a minor trend. My oxygen absorption levels were lower than normal. This is due to my shallow breathing while lying in bed and I have to work on breathing deeper.
After doing a final check on the NCAA football scores and confirming that both Kansas State and Oregon lost, I drifted off to sleep happily knowing that my Fighting Irish would be number one in all the polls tomorrow.
To be continued...