Monday, September 22, 2008

Missives from SMH Ward 3 Orthopedics - Weekday Report

Originally emailed
September 18, 2008

Hello Poppets! and various university & professional friends & acquaintances...

What's new in the loony bin, y'all might ask? Lessee, I've been here since September 7th and I am finally feeling ready to get the hell out of here. Once my IV drip is discontinued I get to wear my own real clothes even though I'll have a saline lock - the IV bit stays in my hand, but they'll only attach the drip when I need antibiotics or other meds - but I won't be inconspicuous enough to sneak out on my own. Darn!

I have new roommates. I've counted that I've had 9 roomies in the 11 days I've been here. I'm now referred to as "the mascot", and even the hospitalist (the doctor on-call who cares for everyone on the ward) said I get a gold star for being one of the best-educated patients they've had. I even downloaded a PDF of my Remicade info to my phone and offered to beam it to him for upload if the nurses needed a manuscript on it. He just looked at me in awe. I am truly a geek.

So back to my roomies... Beth from Bed C went home and hopefully is doing well. The lady who has taken her bed is going home tomorrow, but she's so quiet you'd never know anyone was there.

Anyone who missed the saga of Mr Whiny-Pants in Bed D should be sure to ask me to forward that one on, I was so unimpressed with the "ironman triathlete" with bad blood pressure and no pain threshhold, whose brother was concerned about him having a "warm, caring environment". But thank god the nurses got the doctor to discharge him. I was ready to impale him with a blunt-ended IV extender. Or hang him off the patio by his IV.

Mr. Castillo ended up occupying Bed D for a couple days but he went home yesterday afternoon. His wife and sons were here the first day, even him mom and sister came at dinnertime for family dinner, but they were so quiet you'd never know there were six people in there. Unlike me with Sheri, Melissa, Kristie, Anthea, and Les all in my room last night, even when my specialist came in to check on me!

Bed B until yesterday had Donald. Poor Donald, he fell in his nursing home and broke his left hip, so the poor bugger was out of it, had some dementia going on, didn't know where he was or why he was there, and he kept stripping his blankets and gown off, yanking out his IV, and pulling out his catheter. Needless to say the poor guy had to get tied to the bed so that his leg would stay in traction and he didn't get naked or pee all over the floor. Remind me never to get old.

But Donald, being an elderly fellow and recovering from his second broken hip, slept most of the day. And the night. And because he's in traction, tied down to the bed, and out of things on morphine, he pretty much slept in a near-upright position, mouth open like a gaping venus flytrap. During the day, you can understand it, even put up with it, because it's the day and there's other stuff to do like listen to podcasts. But nighttime, for an insomniac who is up peeing every freaking hour because the IV is running at 150 ml's per hour, you really want that hour of sleep before you have to get up again. And seriously, I have the cleanest urine on the freaking PLANET! I could sell it for a fortune if the Olympics & Paralympics weren't over!!

So it's 3am, and Don is sawing logs. And I mean it. A chainsaw has nothin' on this poor bastard. A bull moose in mating season would be scared and horrified. And it wasn't the nasal snoring, we're talking the open-mouth moaning with air intake like the winds are howling past the Matterhorn or through the fjords. And of course, this is all after I've been here more than a week, the hospital food actually tastes good (but my tongue is so coated from antibiotics that I can't taste anything for real!), and I haven't worn my own pyjamas in about three weeks. I am now scouring the linen cart every day to see if I can find the "good" IV gowns, the ones that are cut a bit different and fit me less like a burlap potato sack. I didn't have a good one the other day so I took my scissors to one end and made some "alterations" to the one I had. Yes, I vandalized hospital property. But I figure after over 3 weeks in here, I can cut a hole in one freaking gown.

If you hadn't noticed, I tend to digress... but back to Don, or "Skippy" as I misnamed him the other day when I had a morphine moment. Skippy got left in the room that night because the doctor ordered him atavan at night to keep him from pulling on his goodies and stripping naked, so I got to hear the full decibel range of his moan-snoring. And I was so tired, and tired of peeing, and tired of gowns, and tired of my super-fun electric bed, that I found myself negotiating with a comatose man at 3am, pleading with him that if he would just close his mouth and stop snoring, I would fetch him water, call his children for him, and even talk with him in his lucid moments so that he wasn't by himself. I was even at the point that I said I would even consider going to a Church when I got released to thank God if He would just make Skippy stop snoring.

Then I thought, maybe God is mad because I called him Skippy and He's getting back at me. Referring to Don as "Skippy", that is, not referring to God as "Skippy," I'm not retarded. Anthea and Kristie, do not roll your eyes at me, you both know I'm not retarded, according to Les I just have no "filter".

Finally I got to sleep, Don had a quiet moment - or he stopped breathing with sleep apnea, I really wasn't concerned at that time - and the world got better.

But good news; Sheri, Kristie, Melissa, and Anthea were all here when my specialist came by (Sheri & Anthea claim it's because I needed witnesses so I can't lie about when my parole hearing is, Kristie agreeing that I'm using my "faint hope" clause) to say she was ordering my Remicade (hooray!!), and that depending when the hospital acquired it for me, I could be here until maybe Sunday or Monday. The pharmacist came up to see me this morning to tell me that they don't stock it normally (because it costs about $4200 per treatment for me) and that it could be a couple days before it would come in, but did I happen to have any at home. Yes I did, thank God, and they let me call my mom to bring it in so I could have it prepped & administered today. As we speak my meds are dripping and I just feel that little bit better knowing the light at the end of the tunnel has a skyline and it isn't the train from the oncoming rail. I'm still being conservative in a Sunday-Monday discharge because of everything that's gone on with me, but definitely a 48-hour waiting period.

So folks, that's it for me, the laptop battery is just about drained, my internal batteries are nearly drained, so I'll be on the mend. My mom may not come by till later tomorrow, but I am in contact.

I just have one more thing to say to everyone, and that is a massive, and yet somehow incomplete-sounding thank you. I have the best friends in the entire English-speaking world. I know not everyone has been able to come out and visit due to other commitments, family obligations, jobs, or your own health concerns (to which I say PLEASE take care of your SELVES first... I need to have healthy friends!!), but the emails, cards (I just got it today Kate, that was so cool!!), messages passed on through friends, text messages, and phone calls/voice mails have been so greatly appreciated. I have not truly realized how lucky I am until this episode, and I thank each and every one of you for your thoughts, hugs, good wishes, concerns, jokes, and offers of helping "off" my questionable roommates. Of course my mom deserves the biggest thank you, for coming to see me every day, for bringing my laptop, and learning how to send & download my email and even restart my wireless network (yay mom!!) so that I can remain in contact. If you get a chance to talk to my mom, maybe give her an extra pat on the back for being an incredible mom to me, despite what a rotten, spoiled, yarn-hoarding, shoe-collecting, purse-squirrelling, brat of a child I've been in my 36 years.

At least I'm not hiding sugar packets under my mattress.

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