Tuesday, December 18, 2012

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 48

Episode 48 – December 17 – As you may have surmised from episode 47, last night was not my best night for sleep. It doesn’t help with two post-op patients in one night because the nurses are doing regular vitals checks on them all through the night. I finally gave up and started my exercises at 5:45.
The song says some days are diamonds; some days are coal. Yesterday was coal-ish while today leaned to the gem side. The good news for the day was my regular wireless provider is back online so I’ll be able to stream video. I would also like to thank DFBDCD whoever you are, for not securing your wireless signal. It was a godsend over the weekend. You really should password protect your signal but hold off on that until I’m out of here in case I need you again.
The better news is that idiot, Maggie is not back as my nurse. Today I have Regina. Regina is good but you have to listen to her carefully because she has a heavy accent and she speaks very fast.
Today goes down as a good one. It started by a “surprise” phone from a lovely woman from Nebraska, Nancy, with whom I connected with on Facebook through a mutual friend. She thought I was joking the other day about the price of our old house and was shocked to find that ordinary houses in sell for a million dollars. Vancouver is in competition with San Francisco for most expensive west coast city. We also discussed a bit about our healthcare system versus theirs and just the difference in monthly insurance was phenomenal. Thank you for calling, Nancy. I love you for that! And just for the call I’m making my new goal, January 1 so I can cheer on your Cornhuskers in the comfort of my own bed. :-)
While we were on the phone, Ruby, the nurse, overheard me talking about housing prices in East Van and was agreeing as she was working at the sink. She told me later that she and her husband had just purchased a house near Nanaimo and Pender for $850k. So we have two new Eastenders. While we were talking about it she told me that Sonya, the resource nurse was another Templeton grad. Class of ’95. Look out world, we are everywhere. Go Titans!! (I have a confession to make to all my East End friends, I was born on the West Side.)
I received more good news via email. My Fortis (natural gas company) bill arrived and my last month’s usage was about a fourth of the same time last year. At least, I picked the best time of year of to spend a couple of months to save money. I’m also saving a bit of coin by not feeding Clarabelle while sits at home in the carport. I miss my baby. ;-(
Just before lunch, my friend and former Halloween co-conspirator, Mona showed up with coffee and a surprise; one of her special gingerbread Christmas trees. It looks so yummy I can feel my glucose levels climbing half a point just admiring it. We sat and swapped hospital war stories while I nibbled on my lunch and sipped my cappuccino. Mona, while discussing the loss of modesty in hospitals, I told my nurse, Regina, your story about the Demerol incident while she was doing her nasty nurse-ly duties and she burst out laughing and then it was not as rare as people might think. Apparently, narcotics do funny things to some patients. I won’t share the story here. That one belongs to you. You’re a great story teller; you should start writing them down. I always tell people that writing is easy; just pretend you are talking on paper. Thank you again, Mona!
Before she left to go home to San Francisco, I chatted with Katherine and gave her some professional advice on how to wear her arm sling that would make it more comfortable. Twenty years in the medical supply business has come in handy here. I also talked about how much she was being charged for her extended visit in our lovely city. It was actually the first time I ever heard a doctor discussing payment for services with a patient. Her American insurance company wanted her to pay first and get reimbursed. Dr. McConkey would have gladly accepted a direct payment from her insurer. I’ll also let any Americans or other foreigners out in on a secret. If you honestly can’t pay, our medical system will eat the cost. Katherine works is a lawyer in a downtown firm so they have decent benefits. She did confirm that although it was not cheap (roughly $6000 to $7000 for everything), it would have been a lot more back home. She told me about breaking her leg playing soccer while in law school and even though she foolishly waited until the following morning to go the student clinic to avoid emergency costs the hospital which the clinic was attached charged her what she called a “breathing our air” fee for just walking through.
It was a Bay Area kind of day. Jennifer and a new assistant, Adam, came in for my physio treatments just after Mona left. Jennifer left Adam to do most of my therapy and somehow the subject of the San Francisco Giants came. Adam was also a fan. It turns out he’s from Santa Rosa, the home of Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus and Peppermint Patty. (Yes, Rebecca, I know Santa Rosa isn’t part of the Bay Area but close enough.) I then gave him some things to check out next time he visits The City. I don’t know why I do that it just makes me want to go back more and I won’t be able for awhile because I’m sure my legs won’t able to take the hills at least until next fall.
The bonus about my therapy today is Dr. McConkey witnessed part of my therapy while he was dealing with Katherine and he was impressed.
One of the good things about being here so long all the staff have become cheerleaders. They get excited when I show them things like being able to lift my legs. They love my positive forward looking attitude. I keep looking on the bright side.
Alex’s friend Billy is living proof that even as an isolated country, Albania, is definitely located between Italy and Greece. He tries to charm every woman around even Graciela. He reminds me of a lot of the guys I grew up with on the east side. I did another good deed today for Alex and used my union contacts to find the proper department at WCB to help him in his ordeal. I’m not surprised that Pizza Hut uses such sleazy employment practises; I just found out the Aquillini family owns the BC franchise rights. The old man was a slimy slumlord and the brothers aren’t any better.
I tried to do Alex another favour today with the dinner fairy for some reason he wasn’t on her regular list so I had her write down he wanted the salmon which the only serve every couple of weeks but he got sent the chicken. No problem though his friend brought him in some food.
We got a new cellmate this evening, Anne, another hip replacement patient; it sounds like she’s a repeat customer.
Okay, even diamonds can have flaws, Maggie showed up as my night nurse. Luckily, night nurses aren’t as crucial for my normal needs.
Three young people came into see Graciela and from the cadence of their voices it sounded like they were saying Mass including singing a couple of hymns in Spanish.
I was able to another good deed by putting my great knowledge of Spanish when Graciela kept asking Maggie for “hielo” and Maggie thought she was saying “yellow”. I finally stepped in and said “Hielo! She wants ice. Hielo” The only problem is Graciela then started speaking Spanish to me and I had to cut her off with “Mi Espagnol muay pocitto” (Spelling and grammar don’t count)
So I finished of the night with Rachel, The Wire, an orange and an oatmeal cookie.
To be continued....

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