Sunday, July 1, 2012

Galumphing Back

OK. I'm back. It's my birthday, and I'm not in hospital.

Miracles do happen.

This past week has been a real slice. I was already scheduled to have my external fixator removed on Tuesday morning. Monday, my visiting nurse came to change the dressings for the last time, and what do we find? A broken pin, protruding from a very infected looking pin site. I e-mailed pictures to my surgeon, who decided I needed the ER ...NOW.

                                                                  Yes, I know. Nasty.

NOW doesn't happen all that fast around here. Luckily, Gary was available to drive me, but first he had to get dressed, come to Monroe from Asbury Park, and then chauffeur me to Langhorne PA. In the middle of it all, we had lunch. Sal's makes a mean sandwich and, what the hell, we can't have an emergency on an empty stomach.

Eventually, we got under way. Knowing me and my OCD, Gary launched into a calm explanation of “Why the 'check engine' light is on in the car”. (He's been using the Taurus while I and his Miata are both laid up). After six years of marriage, and twenty years of annulled bliss, the boy has learned how to keep Kat from pulling an ultimate freak-out: “I checked the owner's manual and it says it's perfectively safe to drive. I will take it to your cousin for evaluation tomorrow, but we will not be breaking down on the road...but I knew you would notice the light on the dashboard.” Good lad; well done...except I didn't notice the light on the dash, being preoccupied with thoughts of loosing my leg. Now I had twin thoughts to keep me occupied; my leg's falling off and my car's blowing up. Oh joy, oh rapture.

Once at hospital, the ER was expecting me, and I was assigned a slot right away. IV antibiotics were prescribed with much cursing and gnashing of teeth by the nursing staff. I'm famous at Aria Health for being a “hard stick”. (Humm...I've heard that term applied to me in other circumstances...) and they had to go on a viable vein hunt before treatment could begin. Gary left for home while I waited for a room. The cafe had closed, and so I was sent to 1 South with a turkey sandwich and a carton of cranberry juice.

I was given a private room. I will always have a private room. Somewhere in my past, I had a weird bacteria – now dormant - and so I will be forever isolated with a “STOP! Must wear gloves and gown!” sign outside the door, to scare the “normals”. (And a few un-normals. My sister wandered into my room, one evening, sat down and said “Should we go back outside and get gowns?” Yes, Diane. Do that. I'll curl in a ball now, and hold my breath, until you return wearing a thin blue garbage bag. You'll be fine). So many staff members came to see me on a daily bases that my three rubbish bins looked like smurf burial grounds.
                                                  Fare thee well, oh smurfs of Langhorne

Surgery took place Tuesday morning. My new friend came to pre-op to wish me well, and tell me he knew I'd be just fine. Unfortunately we had no time to talk because I had an OR nurse probing my other arm for a more viable vein. Drat!

The operation went well. The cage was removed, and it was learned that all my bones did not fuse (See? I KNEW I hurt something when I had that shower accident) but the joints are stiff and stable. My friend came the next day with a bone stimulator, which I am to use for 3 hours each day. There is a 100% guarantee of successful fusion, if used properly. He brought his partner with him. Again, no time to talk. (Gerrrrr...)

                                                                     from this.....
                                                                 to this...finally

I found out that I have a low iron count, and a slightly elevated kidney number...things to follow up when I can get out to see my primary doctor. On the happy side, I've lost between 60-65 lbs and my A1C has gone from 13.3 in November, to 5.3. So, who's sitting home eating ice cream and blowing their diet now, siblings? Huh? Sure. Go on. Hide your faces in shame for doubting me. (So what does the oldest sister ask me? “Did you use your credit card to buy anything this week?” Yeah, absolutely. I asked for a medical supply catalog and got myself five wooden legs, a handicapped toilet and a set of rubber sheets. I mean, really? You HAD to ask that? Hello! H O S P I T A L!!)

There is no possible way to rest in a hospital. I had a neighbor in the next room. She was a senior citizen who had fallen, broken her arm and leg, and was in the early stages of senility. She had the unfortunate voice of a smoker on helium, but enough lung power to be heard throughout the ward. She continued most nights with a litany very familiar to me from the rehab centers in which I had been earlier confined. “Help me, help me, somebody help me, let me die, let me die, hello? Anybody out there? Help me, help me...” One night it was so loud, I had no chance at sleep. Being awake, and pumped full of saline, I also had to use the commode. I rang for my nurse – a nice, Irish lad – and asked him, “So, what's the story on the manic munchin next door?”
He simply stared at me.
Yes, I know. I'm totally going to Hell. But are you listening to her? She sounds like there's a crisis at the lollipop guild!”
The man started to laugh and his hands were shaking. “I have to go in there next. How am I going to look at her and not laugh?”
Oh, just laugh. Two seconds later and she won't remember a thing.”

The commode was another issue. It had a chamber pot with a handle. When it was emptied and replaced, it had to be placed just so, or the handle could pinch your thigh between itself and the lid. It did just that to me – twice. Skin was broken. I felt it my duty to warn future users that the thing had tasted blood, and will seek blood again, so I posted a sign of my own – on the lid.

I placed another sign beneath, reading “pottius carnivora” alerting all to the fact that here sits a flesh eating thunder mug.

The nurses were amused, even if my poor thigh wasn't.

I was finally fetched back to my little co-op Friday afternoon. I took the weekend to catch up on much needed sleep. Today, my oldest friend came, treated me for pizza, took me for a ride that didn't terminate at a hospital or doctor's office, and gifted me with a few much needed articles of clothing, now that I've lost weight. Tomorrow evening is the family birthday supper. Yum. My brother-in-law makes a mean chicken marsala.

In other news, for the Sherlockians among us, July 7th is Sherlock appreciation day. Please see below.

And here, also, is the PR on Para-X on October 6th.

That's it for now. Thanks to everyone who kept me on their pray and meditation lists. So far, you've gotten the ear of god/goddess. You have my gratitude.

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