Saturday, January 2, 2010

Man, I'm getting tired of hospitals!

Before I forget, I wanted to post pictures of the girls from Dr. Morrissey’s office!  Here they are:

Aren’t they beautiful??  And bonus, they’re very sweet & helpful.  You never feel like a number around them.

Dr. Morrissey released me from my third hospital stay in a month on Wednesday afternoon, & I couldn’t have been happier.  I know, I have to careful, as I really, really, really, really don’t want to have to go back.  Not for at least a year, when it’ll be to go for round two of booby reconstruction.  And trust me, if this new boob thinks it’s got a shot at taking me out, it’s got another thing coming!

I’m home with strict rules to take my antibiotics, & keep my drain tube cleaned & emptied.  I’ve named it Timmy Tubey, basically because I have neither imagination nor general interest in obtaining one.    After what happened when the last tube was removed, I will love it, & pet it, & hold it & take care of it.  But I digress; here’s what happened whilst I was a visitor at St. Luke’s.

After surgery, I had expected to awake, ready to go home.  It wasn’t until they let Matt into the recovery room (to be the bearer of the news that I’ve shared with you in my last post) that I knew the truth.  I no longer had a tissue expander, & I was being admitted to the hospital that night.  I don’t know why, but I kind of knew that an in & out surgery would be too easy for me.  Dr. Morrissey said that they have no clue what caused the massive infection that tore through my body & took out the poor unsuspecting tissue expander.  It’s just one of those things & they wanted to begin IV antibiotics.  This, of course, meant a night or two at Chez St. Luke’s.

The thing is, though; there must have been a run on rooms & surgeries that day.  They were trying to get me back into my private little suite in the cancer ward, but, there were none to be had.  There was no room at the Cancer Inn in Bethlehem almost a week after Christmas - sigh.  They looked all over the hospital for a bed, but only one was open on their “C” ward.  I thought it might have been another cancer unit, but I was incorrect.  It’s what’s called their “catch all” ward, which is exactly what it sounds like.  People were shuttled to this little clearing house of maladies & diseases like cattle through a chute.

Brian (the transport guy from the recovery room; by now, we’ve gotten to know each other) was getting me ready to leave recovery & on to the C floor.  As we were chatting, a girl was wheeled in screaming as loud as humanly possible.  I mean, she was angry & screaming & calling people names.  They hurried her into a little area of recovery & immediately closed the curtains around her.  Because as we all know, curtains block out everything – including sound (wink).  I just knew that they had a big ol’ problem brewing on their hands, & Brian sighed.  He had to come back to it.  I promised him I’d keep him in my prayers.

He finally got me up to my room, & as he was leaving, instructed me to stop coming back.  I just laughed & told him that at least I wasn’t the one to go back down to the screaming crazy person – ha! 

Ya’ know, you’d think that by now, I would have an idea about how God’s mind works.

Two hours later, the screaming banshee of the recovery room was wheeled onto the floor I was on, same side of the hall, three doors down.  By now, she’d progressed to growling & all I could think of was Linda Blair.  My nurse (man, I wish I could remember her name – she was ADORABLE) had somehow missed her blazing entrance to the floor, so I informed her.  I didn’t want her to find out this person was her patient.

About two hours later, she came back to my room pale as a ghost.  I was so worried for her but thankfully, the banshee wasn’t her patient.  She’d just never seen such a sight in her life.  She also didn’t know what was going on, but didn’t want to get close enough to find out.

To this day, I’ll never know what happened to the banshee, what brought her to the hospital, or if she really was Linda Blair & a horrible, horrible priestly accident had occurred on cellblock C.  If I ever do, I’ll let you know.

As if to cement upon my psyche that I should never wish ill on anyone else (poor Brian), God had one more kernel of hospital goodness to bestow upon me – my roommate.

Don’t get me wrong; I had a lovely roommate, an older lady who was there for strange pain & was not allowed any food or drink.  I was taken to my bed, thankfully by the window, & I was settling in.  At the time, my roommate’s daughter, grand daughter & great grand daughter were visiting with her.  All day long.  Don’t get me wrong, they were perfectly nice people.  However, they weren’t the quietest people, & my room mate was hard of hearing; of course, her hearing aid was at home.

Visiting hours are over at 8:00 pm, & my roommate’s daughter did notice that fact & brought it up to Suzy Sunshine, the night nurse.  Suzy shared with them that even though visiting hours are “encouraged” to be over by 8:00 pm, they really don’t start asking folks to leave until 10:00 pm.

I really wanted to throttle Suzy Sunshine & explain to her that sharing an already small room & a bathroom with several people was a bit annoying, no matter how lovely the people were.  Top it off with dueling TV programs, & lots of spirited discussion about what was on said TV programs, & you don’t really get that peaceful, easy feeling that one would hope for when trying to HEAL!

Nurses, please don’t ever, ever do this.  No matter how nice people are, no matter how jovial & cordial, trust me on this.  The person in the bed next to them would like to shoot them in the head by 8:00 pm.  Subjecting us to another full two hour heaping helping of loud, nonstop talking is tantamount to torture.  Before you open your oh so helpful mouths & volunteer this information, take a sideways glance at their roommate.  You may be surprised to see all manner of human gestures directed at you; & you will not be able to mistake their meaning.

The shining hour of room sharing came the next morning when my breakfast tray was brought in.  My sweet roommate chose just that time to realize that she needed to have a bowel movement.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t mobile, & as such, required a bed pan.  As she was being prepared for having her morning constitution in the bed next to me, I decided to leave & give her some privacy.  I highly doubted I wanted to be eating Texas Toast & Sausage (yes, I truly, honestly had sausage) while someone was, well, you understand.   When I told her that, she sunnily replied, “You don’t have to; there’s a curtain for privacy”.  (What is UP with people & curtains??  Do they really think they have magical powers or is this just a hospital phenomenon?)  I don’t think she understood what I meant.  Unintentional timing, or passive aggressive behaviour since she couldn’t eat – you decide.

Later that morning, a break in the gloom arrived in the person of Michelle Silfies, breast nurse extraordinaire.  I’m not sure how, but she’d heard I was re-admitted to the hospital & paid me a visit.  Here she is:

She’d had the foresight to bring me another drain tube bag, which blew me away!  Everyone had assumed that after the last drain tube had been removed, I’d gleefully tossed them away.  Kind of like Isabeau in “Ladyhawke”, removing her talons & dropping them in the evil Duke’s lap.

And, yes, I did that to the first one in Dr. Morrissey’s office.  Tossed it in the trash, right there on the spot.  When I got home, however, I remembered that a sweet woman somewhere had taken the time to sew that bag for me.  I took the other one, folded it up & put it away.  Who knew I’d need it again?

Michelle was also surprised to find me on C block.  When I told her (as best I could with my buddy so close) about my evening, she vowed to try to get me back over to the cancer ward.  And you know what?  She did everything she could.  She called me later in the day to report that there still was no room to be had.  Still, it all turned out, since Dr. Morrissey released me late that afternoon.  The thing of it is, she really tried.  Man, I’m really beginning to think I’ve been surrounded by angels during this whole experience!

In the long run, I’m hoping against hope that I won’t see the inside of a hospital until the time comes to resurrect teen boob.  It should probably be in about 8 months.  I’ll be visiting Dr. Morrissey on Monday, I think, so I’ll have a better idea then.  In the meantime, I’m going to take my antibiotics, take care of (& not bitch about) my drain tube, & get myself stronger.  I have to re-schedule chemo this upcoming week, but that, too, will depend upon Dr. Morrissey.

The thing of it is, I’m not going to let this cancer beat me.  I know I’ve just begun & that there’s a long road ahead of me.  I’ve only glanced at the new surgery site.  Where there once was a little bump of a boob, a bit of a crater exists in its place.  It’s going to take me a bit of time to get used to that.  I know it’s not permanent, but it is a bit of a mind freak & has set me back a little.  I won’t let it consume me or bother me to the point that it’ll get me down for long, though.  There’re too many funny things in the world to poke fun of & plenty of opportunities for me to get into my Lucy situations.

And, thankfully in my case, a whole lot of earthly angels have been sent my way.  Somehow, I think I’ll be just fine.


Melody said...

By next Christmas, you'll probably be showing off your new knockers to anyone that'll look, which should be especially redonkulous at the family party! Ha!

Pam said...

Texas toast and saugages while someone was, you know...! Hee hee...well I suppose if anything else, this experience gets one totally in touch with their physicality. And their roommate's. OH here's wishing you don't have to see the lovely faces of all the staff you've posted until you go to get teen boob installed. Thanks for blogging...

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