Thursday, November 22, 2007

Road Trip

Sorry to have gone without a post for so long. It wasn't the flu last week. It was a complication from previous surgery that finally had me making that long walk from the car into the emergency room at about 2 or 3 am last Wednesday morning. Super nice ER people - never anything like the frenzy and emotional overdrive and hyperspeed gurneys and cute girl residents and interns with low-cut scrubs (must be a store in Hollywood called Sexy Scrubs Are Us)that you see on Grey's Anatomy or ER. (Yes, Janet, but why would you expect television to reflect life correctly?)

Here's a little verbal tour of my hospital. No pictures, because A. that would be wrong and B. the digital camera's on the desk at home.

DAY 1
Wednesday, about midnight. Trying to convince myself that this pain and physcial sensations are not symptoms. Nor is it stress, though I'm willing to out my hand up first when the teacher asks for volunteers who have or are able to manifest stress within a drop-of-a-hat time frame. Nope, time to drive to the hospital. Definitely not as good as time to make the donuts. Mmm, donuts. Glazed plain from Dunkin' Donuts. And I thought that a Pillsbury Crescent roll with butter was my number one fantasized food since in the hospital. Broken open, steaming, buttery crispy layers. I would not offer half to my brother, be aware, and I don't even have a brother. (Yes, I have been watching more TV than usual. You know the commercial I mean? And then Mom comes out of the kitchen with a fresh batch, and No-One-Has-To-Share. Yahh!)

Days 2,3 and part of 4
Blurryish. Tests. Calls to my mom and daughters to let them know that the fun and games are back on.SUGGESTION: STOP HERE IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ A SENTENCE WITH THE PHRASE NG TUBE AND START WITH DAY 5. The most attractive NG tube around. I'd never seen myself wearing one before - the last few times I was too sick to have looked in a mirror, and can I say, it's not an accessory that everyone can wear. My favorite part? The white tape on your nose that makes you look like a tiny elephant. It really sets your eyes off nicely.

Also good: wearing pajama pants and t-shirts and SmartWool socks and fleece jackets instead of the dreaded hospital gown.(Though I do want a new set of PJ pants before I come back the next time. Three years is enough for one fashion parade from Old Navy.) It's psychologically-interesting, too, to see how others respond to the lack of someone in the gown. Techs or dietitians who don't know me come into my room and look around, finally giving in and asking "who's the patient?" Do those gowns serve as conveniences, making the body more accessible to the practitioner, or do they stand as a giant flashing sign, an arrow pointing up that represents PATIENT HERE! My way is more comfortable for me, more humanizing, and at least in my situation, doesn't seem to cause the nurses or doctors any concerns.

DAY 4
This is the day that I knew that my yoga works. Even if I haven't been able to do much of a practice in the last week and a half. Much anxiety all day, much of it coming from my nurse, who was befuddled by the new computer system (they now log their notes directly into a workstation so that hospital can go paperless). At one point, I walked by her, rested my hand on her shoulder and said "breathe." "Now whose taking care of who?" she asked, but she looked like she was about to erupt.
The ultimate moment was the appearance of the orderly to take me down for a test. I knew that I was supposed to be doing the prep, but the nurse was sure that no, I drink a little of this, and then I wait for the lab to call to give me an ETA, and then I drink the rest of the prep. At 130 PM, right on schedule, the orderly arrived to take me down. But following my nurse's instructions, which I'd even questioned gently a few times, I was not ready.
Much stomping about ensued. Angry phone calls going between the lab and the nurse's desk. My nurse clearly spelling her name for the person at the lab, then slamming the phone down to announce that she was being written up. Now we were in the land of ER Drama.
And here's where my yoga stepped up. I wrapped myself in my shawl, trundled out to the hallway, and caught another nurse's attention. I don't care what mistakes have been made, but we all need to take the anger down about three levels, I said. I'm the one whose going for her third operation in two years, and all I care about right now is trying to be as efficient as possible in getting ready and having the test so that I can get into surgery before 10 or 11 tonight. Everyone with a brain cell calmed things down. And everyone was professional and kind and I now have a yellow Smiley face mug of white and yellow daisies for my troubles. Flowers do cheer me up.

DAYS 6 AND 7 AND 8
Giving special names to hospital places. The rooms where they have the fridges of juice and the ice machines and the frozen IV bags: the Nourishment Room. Well, it's actually called that, but it reminds me of Harry Potter's Room of Requirement, like, if I needed a Pillsbury Crescent roll really really badly, I could go there and find one.

Other Pleasures:
KNITTING the Blue Sky Alpacas Snap Cardigna in two different shades of Malabrigo, Fixing a mistake 9 rows back by dropping down the ladder of stitches and then picking them up correctly. Thank you, Kelly Petcun. LISTENING TO AN ELIZABETH PETERS MYSTERY ON MY IPOD! INTERNET INVESTIGATING DIFFERENT KINDS OF DOG BREEDS FOR WHAT WOULD BE BEST FOR US (AND US FOR THEM)! laughing hard enough that my incision hurts. (Okay, might not seem as funny to you, but my younger daughter was describing how her friend, who is a concierge, is great at remembering names. Acting out what he DOESN't do, she said, in a funny little voice, "I look like a camel. . .Hello, Mr. Camus!" Don't ask, maybe it's the residual morphine, but Camus and camel and existentialism and high-end boutique hotels all came together in that one sentence. WATCHING BALL OF FIRE WITH BARBRA STANWYCK AND GARY COOPER. ONE WORD: WOW. WATCHING THE FIRST 6 EPISODES OF SEASON 3 PROJECT RUNWAY. PLEASE MAKE THE WHINY ANGELA GO AWAY. . .

and that's the round-up. No turkey dinner tonight but maybe I'll see some vanilla pudding? Thanks for listening.

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