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...


  1. Yikes! Nobody should have to put up with that.

  2. @104 - It gets better at least for me. :-)