con’t from Hospital Night Terrors
9 am in the ER. Everyone is gearing up for another busy day.
I’d made it through to the other side of night.
I didn’t feel stronger for it.
I didn’t feel relieved.
I felt like I had begun to climb Kilimanjaro and had only made it to the first base camp.
A new nurse by the name of Kristina has been assigned to me. She is young, tall and thin. She seems sweet.
A surprise…she wheels me out of the triage room and into one of the triage caves with curtains. I would have my own three walls finally!
She told me that she had seen me all day yesterday suffering in the hallway and said she made it her mission to get me into that triage room.
She must have seen how desperately I needed that.
Having not slept at all and living through what was undoubtedly the worst night and past five days of my life I had a feeling I looked as bad as I felt.
I was repulsed by my own body, now completely foreign to me. I hadn’t had a bath or shower for five fulls days since the surgery. I hadn’t brushed my teeth, hair or washed my face in five full days.
She gave me two fresh hospital gowns. When she helped me on with them I felt the tears welling up inside me again. I fought hard and pushed them back down. I didn’t want to break now but I was physically trembling with gratitude. Feeling something clean and dry against my skin meant I hadn’t totally disappeared.
I was still here.
I still counted.
She suggested some fancy “boy shorts” in lieu of the humiliating diapers. Really they looked like a stretchy dishcloth and for some reason reminded me of Sponge Bob Square Pants, but they were a million times better than what I’d been forced to wear thus far.
She offered up a shower. A shower! My heart leapt! Well… a shower in a bag. It was a bunch of sealed wipes in a bag but I was allowed to go to the washroom on my own and freshen up.
I leaned on my IV pole and putting one trembling foot in front of the other slowly made my way to the washroom at the end of the hall.
Once in the bathroom, door locked, privacy! I looked at myself in the mirror…
Who was that? I didn’t know her.
A deranged haggard old lady with tubes and bags attached to her withering, deformed body. Vacant eyes, blank stare, gaunt chalky face, a rat’s nest of hair piled high on top of her head.
Who was that? Where had I gone?
I couldn’t think about it or I’d never leave that bathroom again.
I stopped looking in the mirror and simply focused on the task at hand.
I started with my teeth and the toothbrush that Robert had bought me before he left. Feeling the toothbrush rub against my teeth and the fresh cool taste of the toothpaste in my mouth was better than the best spa day I’d ever had.
Trying to get on the boy shorts while wearing a catheter and IV was much more difficult than I had imagined. No one tells you how to manage when you have tubes coming out of your body. In the end no matter how many times I tried I just made a mess of it. The tubing was rolled into the dishcloth underpants and I was a tangled up mess. I had to use the Emergency button in the bathroom and call for help. Luckily it was Kristina that came to my rescue. It took a bit of ingenuity, yoga moves and turning (like a warped game of Twister) to get me all untangled, but she did it.
I finished taking my “shower” and I felt slightly more human.
A tiny glimmer of myself appeared.
The smallest ember of hope ignited in my belly.
I wasn’t totally lost yet.
My Dr. came by.
She asked me how I was.
I think she could tell by my appearance and my attitude that I was beyond disgusted and miserable.
She said that it was up to my new Dr. to decide how long I stayed in hospital and any further treatment. He was still suggesting that I remain in hospital for seven more days. Seven more days.
I told her in no uncertain terms that should I need to stay there, in the ER, under these circumstances, that I would simply not get better. In fact I would deteriorate, quickly.
I wouldn’t be leaving the hospital ever.
This is not a healing environment …
Her answer was that eventually the body will simply give out and I would finally sleep, no matter where I was situated in the hospital.
I didn’t care for her answer.
She told me to plead my case with the new Dr. to see if I couldn’t leave the hospital earlier.
The remainder of our conversation was just… awkward.
I am very sick and it is because of her.
I may need to have another operation and it is because of her.
I will need to have a catheter for ten days to three weeks (maybe longer) and it is because of her.
There was no way around those facts.
I didn’t have my life anymore and it was because of her.
Continued here…“Two Weeks To The Day Since Surgery”