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...


  1. Thanks,T! Still awhile to go yet before the real big day.maybe the first or second week of January.