Thursday, April 14, 2005

Week of Hell: Day Two

Tuesday morning near 5am I couldn't take the pain anymore. Now keep in mind I'm used to pain, so it has to be unbearable for me even to approach the vicinity of an emergency room.

But there I was, weak, nauseous and walking funny as I stumbled into the E.R. at Memorial Hospital.

I described the problem to the nurse on duty, but all she wanted to know was my basic info like name and insurance coverage.

I held back my frustration and tied it up with a used shoelace I had stored deep in my soul for later use. I answered her questions and was escorted back to one of the many gurney's they had lined along one of the back walls.

I must commend the staff at Memorial. Once I described what was going on (i.e. my catheter was stabbing me in the bladder), they went right to work. A veteran nurse slipped an IV needle in my arm and started adminstering pain and nausea medicine. Within a good ten minutes I was feeling much better. I laid there awaiting the next miserable test they felt they needed to perform.

Dr. S is the individual who has attempted to place a peritoneal catheter in my abdomen so I could become mobile and free in my everyday life. I use the word "attempted" because I felt like a guinea pig after the second surgery. Second! This man was unqualified to place the catheter in the first place and I let him go back in...twice!

I can sense some of you smell a lawsuit. I understand. So did I. But my understanding is that once you file a malpractice suit, no one in the medical industry will come near you. Although I may lambast it's lack of complete competency, I still need Western medicine to survive.

Dr. S. dropped by not long after I was given my own hospital bed on the third floor. I walked in and was relieved to find I wouldn't have a roommate.

That relief was quelled by "Dubya" five minutes later.

I don't refer to him by this nickname because he reminded me of the president. His first name started with a "W" so it suits him.

Plus he was a complete and utter nimrod.

As I said before, Dr. S. had dropped by again to give me the lowdown on my catheter. The 2nd CAT scan revealed nothing visually wrong with the catheter. So it came down to a choice, 100% mine: I could allow him to go in again (surgery #3) and shorten the tubing OR remove it completely.

I felt a wave of satisfaction and relief wash over me as I quickly answered, "Take it out."

It was now Tuesday afternoon and I was not to have any food or water for the remainder of the day.

Sounds easy, doesn't it?

I was still having nauseous flashes and the catheter felt like it was stabbing into my lower abdomen, so I asked the nurse for medication for both afflictions.

Here's where I found out how smart I was. The pain medication knocked...me...out...completely. For at least a few hours. This came in handy because my neighbor was the noisiest individual I had ever had the discomfort of sleeping next to.

I'm not really sure what his affliction was, but I know he was deaf because he blared daytime talk shows all...day...long.

And the hacking. Gee-zuss-chirst-o-rama. Every few minutes he would hack up some phglem and blood and keep it a handy jar for the nurses. "Dubya" was 68, had worked for PG&E for 37 years and had been married to the same woman just as long.

This would have been a nice beginning to a conversation...if we had been having one.

I was dead asleep when my eyes opened to find him leering over my bed.

"Ugh...how ya doin?"

I mumbled a few curse words and carefully turned over, not wanting to add too much pressure to my bladder, or the impending conversation.

He stood for a few more moments before walking away in a huff, which is what I wanted him to do in the first place. I instantly hit the nurse button and asked for more pain medication. I wasn't in complete discomfort, but if I could sleep through the next 24 hours without listening to "Dubya" laugh at "Dharma & Greg" and "Gilligan's Island" every hour, I could at least manage.

Which brings up another frightening point...who, in the history of television viewing, has ever found "Gilligan's Island" actually funny? Dubya would chuckle to himself and slip in the words, "Huh huh huh, that Gilligan..."

Listen to me very carefully. The only reason "Gilligan's Island" ever...EVER received any notoriety or attention at all is because, and I'm going to say this slowly...it...was...the...only...crap...on...TV...sometimes.

Sheesh. When I was growing up we had four channels, five if the weather was cooperating and the wind blew just hard enough: the three networks and one or two UHF channels. That's it.

This conludes my rant on "Gilligan's Island." Oh, and Mary Ann was sexier.

The combination of medication and lack of food and water made me delerious. It seemed as though Wednesday would never arrive. And when it did, I had to wait ALL DAY for Dr. S to finish goofing off at Infineon Raceway before he'd ever think of operating on me.

Schmuck.

So here I sit before you, scars all across my belly and my soul, wondering what the point of the entire procedure was. Once the catheter was working, I would be able to finally meet my 15 month old nephew, I could visit my parents in Oregon, I could take my best friend to see Don Rickles in Reno.

But none of the before mentioned activities will be happenning, at least not for me.

Dialysis has stolen my health, whittled my life down to nothing and prevented me from advancing in my career.

If dialysis were an actual individual with a true identity, it would have been locked up for all the violations it has committed against mankind.

But no, it continues to roam free, ruining lives and stealing futures.

And there's not a damn thing I can do about it.

1 comment:

  1. Dubya sounds like a real treat. You shouldn't let yourself lie defenseless around his type. If he was leering over you like that...who knows what sort of foul acts he perpetrated against you whilst you slumbered in a drug-induced state. DANGER.

    Once again, I hope you're feeling much better, and have been given reason to have your faith restored in the medical system.

    I'm embarking on a quest to thoroughly destroy this 'Dialysis' fellow. Even if I can't cause him as much pain as he caused you, I'll try my very best.

    Um...I'm not sure...how to conclude this comment...oh wait! A writing genius I somewhat know often...here...let me try this...

    So with that I take a small bow, and exit.

    ReplyDelete