Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Catheter Chronicles II: The Wrath of Khan

So when we last left the intrepid organs of the Starship Stacy, he was just waking up from the anaestesia.

Mainly because his gurney was bumpbed by an orderly named Khan.

(Actually, I have no idea what his real name was since everything was blurry and I couldn't read his name tag, but he looked like a young Ricardo Montalban, so you know the chicks were digging him. Ooh. A 70's reference. I'm taking a bow now.)

It was like an eerie flashback when I came to because I was back in the same room where I experienced all the pleasentries of pre-op. Had I fallen asleep before the surgery? Was it all just a bad dream, caused by two many Trader Joe's mini-pizzas? Or had I died and all of heaven was organized...gasp...just like a hospital, thus the pale, white walls??

A pleasant looking raven haired temptress asked me if I wanted some juice. I shook my head faster than I should have because I suddenly became very dizzy. If you've ever experienced surgery under the knife you know that the first thing you desire upon awakening is a cool beverage.

And the hardest pain pills (or if you're lucky, drip) they can provide.

She brought the atypical hospital meal, orange juice and Jello. I've had Jello in all its forms...too frozen so your spoon can't graps a piece...sitting out too long so again, the spoon is useless. And this kind, fresh, bouncy and full of life.

Not the difficult part, I had to manage to rise high enough to get the straw into my mouth.

OOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!!!!

Fortunately, that was just in my mind and not out loud. I was trying to look stereotypically manly in front of the raven haired nurse, so I just grunted lowly. Most women like grunting, unless you're dragging them by the hair.

Then they turn into raving lunatics.

I managed to sit up just enough to make a 30 degree angle between my waist and my torso. The raven haired nurse propped the back part of the gurney up to support my back and I was set. I smiled at her, looked into her dark brown eyes and said in my mind...

"Hug me. We'd both enjoy it."

I tried to use my rarely used Stacy Telepathy Powers, but I must have been weak from the surgery because it proved to no avail.

Sigh.

The juice was the sweetest, tastiest, most refreshing glass of juice I had had in some time. The Jello wasn't bad either. I tapped it a few times with the spoon to test it's freshness and it jiggled and wiggled like Jello should.

Normally I would find this highly amusing because most foods don't have this entertainment value encased within their colorful soul but Jello, wonderfully tasty Jello was just what I needed.

This is why Jello must always be served in hospitals. Even if the patients don't eat it, they can at least find some amusement in playing with it. In fact, I once had a dream where I turned our backyard pool into pure Jello. Then my friends and family all jumped in and went squish, straight into the center. We were like the fruit they sometimes put in Jello.

Of course, then the dream turned ugly because none of us could free ourselves. People we didn't know came from everywhere, from the far bowels of my memory and pointed and laughed.

Then I woke up and found Jello in my pants.

Go figure.

The fine staff at Memorial Hospital East were kind enough to provide me with a taxi voucher so I could travel the three miles to my Fortress of Solitude where a majority of the life of Stacy Without an E takes place. I could have called someone, but who wants to pick up a 5'7" weakling instead of enjoy a delicious midday work lunch?

The taxi driver was a cross between a beatnik and a hippie. That's right...a bippie. He didn't say a word until we arrived at my home. I guess he wasn't a big fan of hospital vouchers.

I tipped him anyway because it seemed as though he was trying to avoid the potholes.

Sorta.

I spent the next 5 days doing less than nothing. I didn't even really watch any movies because that would require kneeling down to place the DVD in the player. I had already had difficulty lying down. I wasn't moving. Nuh-uh. Not gonna happen.

Except for the pain, it was the best 5 days I had experienced in quite some time. Just my tired body, my comfortable bed and an occasional beverage.

And not an ounce of Jello.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

The Catheter Chronicles

I wish to apologize, from the bottom of my new extended catheter, for not updating in some time. I've been drowning in pain, and my body comes up for air with the use of true Vicodin. Not that OTC crap mixed with Tylenol they always send out, but the good stuff. Here now is an overview of what happened, starting on Thursday, March 3rd...

I didn't go to sleep at all Wednesday night because I kept having flashbacks about a past anesthesia nightmare. It always starts the same way, at the end of the terrifying experience. I suddenly come out of my anesthesia fog and the mist in my vision clears, revealing a number of nurses and assistants all looking down at me.


The doctor, who didn't even acknowledge me when he entered an hour earlier, wasn't present. He didn't even look me in the eye when he entered the operating room. If your doctor commits the same sin, ask for another doctor.

All the nurses and assistants are still staring down at me (remember?) and I suddenly can't breathe. My arm is burning from the earlier dialysis graft surgery. They have some sort of mouthpiece locked between my mandibles. My body tenses up and I feel as though I can't breathe. One of the nurses screams for me to relax, but I can't. I keep feeling as though I'm going to die.

And then the nightmare ends. At least for now.

It was nearly dawn when I decided to head to the hospital. You know that type of darkness. You can just sense that night is nearly over and morning is about to arise. I paused before I entered Memorial Hospital East and glanced up at the boxey three story building.


This was my last chance. I could bow out now.

Then I remembered all the times I had to sit, patiently, while my arm felt as though it would burn away to cinders.

That thought pushed me in the back and I stepped inside. I was willing to allow the surgery to give me a chance for a slice of my life back.

I love having my name called in waiting rooms. Because every time...every time...when my name is called, everyone is expecting a woman.

This happens at the bank, the grocery store, every time I use my debit card.

"Is this your wife's card?"

"No, it's mine," I say for the four hundreth time, whipping out my ID.

The nurse called my name and it happened again. At least I'm getting noticed.

Nurse Kelly was one of those nurses who, just by observing her face, you knew she had been a nurse for a long time. I found out she had been at the very same hospital for over 20 years. I told her what I tell every amazing nurse I meet:

"Nurses are the backbone of the medical industry, you know."

She gently smiled and pulled out my enemy...an IV pack.

I have had more nurses, doctors, ER techs attempt to shove needles in my arms, regardless of how much I protest. Now I simply ask ahead of time, "I'd like a shot of lidocaine where you're going to administer the IV, ok?"

Now this is the one request where, if they comply, they're qualified, compassionaitte member of the medical field. If they don't, we're going to have problems.

Fortunately, Kelly was the former.

She was an awesome stick, and I told her so, because there was very little discomfort. Kelly finished my pre-op in about 20 minutes. It was now 6:05am. I wouldn't be wheeled into the operating room until 8:35am.

If I didn't spend a good portion of my life in hospitals, this would have annoyed and frustrated me. But it was expected, so I just tried to lie back, stay warm and take all thoughts about the surgery and throw them into my mental trash.

All the personnel in the operating room were cordial and more than willing to make me comfortable.

Except for the anaestesiologist. What an ass.

I told him the same story I told earlier in this blog, about my nightmarish anaestesia experience. He then proceeded to talk down to me as though I were a 4 year old. I gave him a look of "who the fuck do you think you are?", but he couldn't read my glare.

Since I was exhausted and anxious to have the entire proceedings come to a quick and easy conclusion, I allowed him to finish.

Now I have heard stories on late night AM radio about people who become conscious during surgery, but because of the anaestesia, they can't move, speak or gesture that the scalpel feels like a welding torch.

I don't know about you, but that has to be the living imbodiment of hell on earth.

My energy level just nosedived, so I'm going to conclude today's blog. Part 2 of the Catheter Chronicles commences tomorrow.