...now where were we?...oh, yes...
Episode 5 – November 4 – ‘Twas an uneventful sleep a lot better than the night before anyway.
Now Esther has decided not to be my friend any more. She came in to tell me that Dr. Haaf has ordered the catheter to be taken out. She then took absolute delight in grabbing the tube and yanking it out with a running start taking my left kidney with it. ;-)
Truthfully, she was quite gentle and almost apologetic when doing it. It just felt like I had to pee severely for the next hour. Thank god for my little best friend. Listen... just one sweet beep! Happy dance!
Then came the most tragic news since the fall. They were taking away my baby! First move! Click! One sweet beep! More happy dancing but maybe a little slower like a waltz. ;-)
Nurse Ratched, starched cap and all, arrived with the key to Nirvana. Quick one more click! Yes...slow motion happy dance!
While lying in bed you tend to observe several inefficiencies. One of the most obvious is that while they expect you to pee in a jar, they must expect you to do it without any hands. They don’t have any easy way to wash. The only thing one can do is push their call button and have a nurse bring you a wash cloth. It would be much easier and cost efficient to have either some wipes or hand sanitizer close by. Another fine example is that there is a bathroom in our room and none of us in the ward are ambulatory but someone comes in and cleans it every day.
It’s also fun to watch people as they work. I observed one cleaner randomly waving a dry mop around the room and then leave and I’m not sure what happened to whatever got moved around by the mop. This person with a little less effort has potential to work in the PNE Site Maintenance Department.
It’s 8 PM and it’s time for shift change and once again I draw my little sweetheart, Esther as my night nurse. Esther talked to me about how it would be better if I could sleep on my side rather than on my back all the time. I explain that it would be way too difficult and painful to move me onto my side and could destabilize my braces. She suggests propping up on one side with pillows so the pressure points change and she would check about pain meds.
Esther returns and says the only choices for pain control on my chart are Tylenol 3 or injectable morphine. Hmm... T3’s or poppy milk? ...I’ll take Morphine for 500, Alex. :-D
Wrong answer, we have to try the Tylenol first. So Esther props up my left side and the final position has me nose first into the right bedrail. And yes this position is almost as comfortable as it sounds. An hour later Esther comes back and asks if the pain has subsided and offers me morphine. It is considered rude in many cultures to refuse hospitality so I relented. ;-)
Sometime in the wee hours of the morning, Esther returns and asks if I’d like another shot. Can I get that Keg-sized?
Episode 6 – November 5 – I knew before the day even began it was going to be an emotional roller coaster. Today would have been the twenty-fifth anniversary of Lorraine and my wedding but I was also anticipating visits from three of my favourite young ladies.
Before going off shift, Esther asked me if I would like another shot. How could I refuse such a sweet little girl? Okay, why not one for the road? Maybe not such a good idea...bed spins and queasiness...so I call for some Gravol. Within minutes I’m in La La Land.
Just to confirm that Gravol conquers all when it comes to nausea, breakfast arrives. The feature for today is Cream of Wheat. Cream of Wheat can be a disgusting mess even at the best of time, this gruel was thin and watery and just for good measure they sprinkled bran in it so it looked like dirt flecks. I can only attribute the lack of hurling to the miracles of Dramamine.
When my morning nurse, Tara, arrived I thought the morphine was still causing hallucinations. A gorgeous young blonde stepped through the curtain. While not hallucinating, I was still flying pretty high; as she was checking my vitals and asking a few questions she realized I may be a little bit stoned. Tara was also the first nurse to check my surgical wounds and change the dressings. While checking the wounds she discovered three huge blisters around the incision about an inch in diameter and almost ¾” high. I would have posted pictures but even my camera thought they were too gross. ;-)
(The surgeon looked at them later and wasn’t overly concerned but made a point of having a wound care nurse make sure they were dressed properly.)
In a little foreshadowing, Tara also let me know that something had to be done today about a major side effect caused by codeine and other opiates. Those of you who have experienced this know where I’m “going” with this.
The first of my expected guests arrived just before lunch. Mona used to live across the breezeway from us and was one of our Halloween hi-jinks co-conspirators. She brought me a cappuccino, some diabetic chocolates, a few books and most special of all a rose to celebrate our anniversary. Lunch arrived while she was there and I nibbled on it while chatting. Good conversation with a friend always makes food taste better. I must admit as far as meals go lunch as been the most palatable as long as they don’t bring bananas.
Shortly after Mona left, the dietician arrived to talk about diabetes. Knowing that I was still a bit ga-ga from the meds, I just asked her to leave the literature and we could meet again next week.
The physiotherapist arrived to talk about part one of my rehab and to give me some exercises to do in bed, after to listening to hear for about two minutes, I just asked her to write everything down because not one thing had registered.
At 1:00 PM my afternoon nurse, Rob arrived. Rob is quite the interesting guy. He had only been nursing for three years but seemed to be the most astute and resourceful one I’d met. He had previously served in the Royal Air Force and had come from a military family. His father was a senior officer with the 14th Intelligence Division and served several years in Northern Ireland doing what Intelligence Divisions do. He had to wait 15 years after retiring to given all his medals in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Rob was also the one who lucked into performing the aforementioned procedure recommended by Tara. I wanted get it done before my next guest was due to arrive.
Rob figured the easiest way to turn me on my side was use the sling I was already lying on and take advantage of the overhead electric lift. This made it easy get the right angle to insert a suppository and drop me back down onto a bedpan. The rest is history! I do not envy a nurse’s job. Sorry the video is not available at this time. ;-)
About half an hour later the guest of honour arrived; my beautiful niece, Jennifer. A few minutes previous to her arrival, I had Rob pull the blanket over my left leg which he had left exposed in anticipation of putting a special dressing on the blisters. I didn’t think Jen Jen would really want to be greeted by that. Guess what the first thing she did was? Yep, she ripped up the blanket and said “Let’s see what you did?” We had a lovely heart to heart about each other’s well being and finished the afternoon off with a hug and a kiss.
Dinner arrived and it was the most inedible to date. It was a vile chicken thigh that a gagged on the first bite and didn’t even attempt to eat any more. I managed to swallow a fork full of the mashed potato like stuff and the peas. And of course, my dessert for the day was a banana. A very fresh good looking banana but a banana none the less. Needless to say it went untouched.
At this point the blister dressing had not been done. I told Rob that I was expecting a friend soon so he may have to do it in front of her. Hell, she works at a special needs day care and after working with children for a few years nothing could gross you out.
As Rob began, my favourite co-worker, the lovely young Allana arrived. Allana picks up where Jen leaves off making sure he behaves himself health wise. There are times when I’d swear they were the same person. As Rob diligently worked on the dressing we chatted about work and life.
After Rob left, we were surprised by another co-worker, Ed and his wife, Lois. We all had a good laugh about the commotion and bickering I had caused. Being the second most senior person, several tasty and lucrative shifts opened up.
My night nurse for the next two nights was going to be Denise. When I made a remark about not getting any decent sleep, she said she’d bet me a hundred bucks that it would be a quiet night. I scoffed but I don’t know what she put in the old guys’ pudding but it worked.
Episode 7 – November 6 – After what was the best night’s sleep in a long including pre-injury, it’s time to start a new day. Thank you, Denise!
Time to meet my new day nurse. And by new I really don’t mean new. Sergio is probably old enough to fit in with the rest of the patients on this floor and he almost moves as fast. No special requests coming from here today.
Breakfast showed up and lo and behold...oatmeal gruel. FML
Dr. Haaf dropped by and really picked up my spirits. He told me that there was a chance I’d be moving soon down to the rehab floor possibly as early as next week.
I was able to finally solve a mystery that had been bugging me for weeks. I had been texting previously and then leaving several voice mails after my fall to a friend without a reply. I’m thinking in my mind “Now what have I done to piss off, Christine?” A trick I seem to be good at without even knowing sometimes. I was finally able to contact her through her office phone. The problem was she had lent her personal phone to her teenage daughter. She then asked her “Why didn’t you tell me Dennis called?” And now all you Moms and Dads out there let’s shot out the answer in unison “OH YEAH, I FORGOT!”
The best thing that happened today was Pam brought up my laptop. I missed my baby! And as you were are now acutely aware, a laptop in my hands is a dangerous weapon. Hee hee!
As far as rehab goes progress the OT and PT have come up with a wheelchair that will fit with special supports. My first task would be to try a bed to chair side transfer. Because of my experience in the medical supply business, I knew the basic concept so the first part of the training was easy. I managed the physical transfer with some difficulty but because the legrests were still being modified I was only able to get in a position with my butt in the chair and legs on the bed but it did feel so good to be out of bed. After a short breather we did the transfer in reverse. I could not believe how much energy I had to expend to do this. Nap time!
At around dinner I clicked on MSNBC.com to watch the US election results. It was a little nerve wracking seeing all those states turn quickly but there were no upset states so I knew all was well plus I enjoy all those “rape guys” lose their races.
While watching the results it made me think of my situation. If I had been living in the US I would already be on the verge of bankruptcy. The surgery alone apparently would have been $130,000 and with all the goodies to date including my magic black button would already be hitting the quarter million mark. I got all this for $64 per month plus a very minimal co-pay on a couple of items that will be covered by my extended benefits that are included as part of my pension benefits. Thank you Canada and moreso Thank you Tommy Douglas! :-)
So it was time for bed and I knew I had Denise working her magic on my ward mates.
But that damn tap is dripping again!! ARRRGH!!!
To be continued...