July 31, 2012

Not that going to the hospital was all bad.

I've joked (many times) that a stay in the hospital is like a mini-vacation for mom.  That was way back in the day when the only hospital stays I'd had had been for bringing more babies into this world.  The two I've had this summer have been much less fun rewarding.  Yes, there's been a comparable amount of pain, but there have been no blue eyed, fuzzy headed, tiny people to bring home with me at the end of the hospital stay.  No Dreft scented blankets and Johnson & Johnson's baby washed bundles. Having an infected organ removed is not nearly as exciting as giving birth.

And colitis really sucks.  Bad.

This past hospitalization was the longest of my medical career thus far.  I'm hoping it holds that place of honor for the rest of my life, but I'm a realist and know that there are quite possibly more stays in my future.  I'm praying it's a distant future.

But once the Toradol was freely flowing and I was no longer in danger of passing out due to dehydration, it wasn't too bad.  Well, there was the whole we're-going-to-half-starve-you thing, but even that was bearable just as long as the pain was kept at bay....and at bay it was.  I did have a rather entertaining neighbor (from here on known as Old Joe because I don't know what his name really is) when I was lounging about starving and hopped up on pain killers.

The first night, they were really concerned about my well being.  That means they woke me up every 76 seconds to make sure I wasn't dead.  OK, so maybe it was just that they checked my vitals every 2 hours, and I had to pee at least once in between each check (seriously, boluses just before bed time are not good on the deep sleeper's bladder)....but it felt like every 76 seconds.

I woke up a little after 6 am in need of the toilet, but really wanted to roll back over to sleep some more.  Old Joe had other plans.  Plans that included screaming, "NURSE!  NURSE!  NURSE!" while repeatedly hitting his call button.  (Incidentally his nurse was my cousin Rachie.)  He informed her he was claustrophobic and could not be left in a room with the door shut.  She informed him she had to shut his door because he wouldn't quit screaming and waking up the entire floor.  "It's 6:30.  They've slept long enough," he told her.  Rachie tried to explain that not everyone sleeps well in the hospital.  Apparently, Old Joe hadn't slept at all.  Luckily, I tossed my Zune in my purse before leaving for the hospital, so my noise canceling ear buds kept me from hearing him all night.

Rachie told me he'd been hollering at her all night and every time she stepped out of his door he hit his call button immediately.

That day my nurse was a young man named Blake.  Blake had brown, softly curling hair and a scruffy beard.  He may have been 22 year old, but only just.  Old Joe did not like Blake.  In fact, Old Joe very quickly dubbed Blake 'al-Qaeda' presumably because of the dark(ish) curly(ish) hair.  He called Blake 'al-Qaeda' all day long.  Very loudly.  In all reality, Blake looked about as Middle Eastern as I do...which is not very for those of you who've never seen me.

Around 8 or 9 o'clock, Old Joe really got his knickers in a twist.  "WARNING!  WARNING!  AL-QAEDA!  AL-QAEDA! WARNING!  WARNING!  AL-QAEDA! AL-QAEDA!"  He must have repeated it on and off for nearly 20 minutes at the top of his lungs. Every time Blake walked into or even past his open door, Old Joe screamed. I asked Blake if he was OK and he just laughed.  Apparently Joe threatened to beat Blake up.  Eventually the nurses told Joe if he didn't shut it, he couldn't see his doctor that day.  A totally empty threat, but it worked for a time.

When the effectiveness of the empty threat wore off (around lunch time), Old Joe started singing.  I had heard him singing a bit through the morning, but could never make out anything past a bit of melody and some mumbled lyrics.  After Blake checked on me, something changed down the hall. I discovered Old Joe has a penchant for old Spirituals/Gospel Music.  He was belting out Amen at the top of his lungs.  I'm familiar with it because Daddy was in a men's choir in college and I grew up listening to his albums.  When Old Joe started in with the Amens, I immediately called Daddy and told him I was fighting the temptation to sing back the descant of the song.  Daddy and Mama thought I should do it and then Joe and I could keep the entire floor entertained, but my nurses didn't agree.  Joe didn't need any encouragement.

Occasionally over the course of the next day or two, Joe would get in an uproar over something or he'd serenade us with random songs, but for the most part he was fairly quite.

After that the hospital was boring....but I had cable and Toradol (not sure if I've mentioned the Toradol), so I survived.  I hope Old Joe did, too.

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