When I rang for an aide, the one person I didn’t want to come to my room at that moment, walked in. I needed to go to the bathroom. A male was the last person I needed. I wanted a female nurse or CNA. True, the man was taking training to be a registered nurse but that didn’t change his gender. The look on my face must’ve said it all because he let me know he’d seen everything. My bladder wasn’t going to get any more comfortable if I had to wait and it would splatter if relief didn’t come soon.
“C’mon, Granny Grunt.” He pulled some slippers out from under the bed and helped me put them on. Holding the IV pole was his job and he supported me with his other arm as I wobbled the few feet to blessed relief. He stood there, watching to make sure I didn’t fall off the commode (or in) and it felt so good to get rid of the fluid that, all of a sudden, I didn’t care. When I got through, he helped me back to the bed and went to measure my output. The commode had been equipped with a little upside down “hat” looking affair so they could make sure my kidneys were working properly.
On his way out of the room, he cautioned me to use the call button to get help if I needed to get up for any reason. He didn’t need to be concerned. I was still so shaky there was no way I could navigate and handle the IV pole at the same time. I wasn’t sure I could navigate, period.
Later, after I was out and able to get online (I’d finally invested in a Windows PC with a blindingly fast 56k modem–WOOHOO!!) I emailed my sister a link to a web page I’d set up about a mission trip the student had been involved in. He was well over six feet and BIG—not fat but BIG. She emailed back, “He’s a big boy! He coulda just tucked you under his arm and carried you around.” True.
Back to the circumstance at hand…I was given a clear liquid diet to begin with. It was a challenge for the kitchen to come up with something that wasn’t either beef or chicken based. I was allowed to have juices and Jello. Of course, the Jello wasn’t Emes Kosher Gel but I ate it. And I still called myself a vegetarian. And Emes Kosher Gel was found not to be kosher, after all.
The doctor had written an order for me to be admitted. That was a relief! I still didn’t think I could manage to go home. I’d started running a temperature—not high but enough to make me warm enough that the Bair Hugger could be taken back to the OR. I was so glad I could be where I was being cared for and the care I was getting was top-notch.
In spite of the fever and weakness, I was beginning to feel halfway human. One of the office staff came and told me my insurance had approved two more days for me. That was unusual. The pre-cert people always had to fight, tooth and nail, for every day they got. To have two days approved at the same time meant I must be sick.
I lay back and rested. Recuperation was going to take some time. Up until then, I hadn’t felt like reading or watching TV but I found the remote and turned it on. Being in a private room meant I didn’t disturb a roommate so I watched what I wanted as long as I wanted. Not much time had gone by until I dropped off to sleep. It was the best thing for getting well.
Next day, I was feeling enough better that I wanted to go home. I still had one more day approved by my insurance but a hospital isn’t my favorite place to be when I am approaching good health. I talked to the nurse and she talked to the doctor. He said I could go when I no longer had a fever.
Over the next few hours, a nurse would come in and check my vital signs—blood pressure, pulse and temperature. It seemed to take forever but after eons I heard my fever was gone. My temperature was normal. My faithful neighbor had gotten word to me that she’d come bring me home when I was sprung. I called and had DD tell her I was ready to go. I was afraid if I waited much longer, my fever would come back.
She was down the mountain in record time and DD had sent some clean clothes for me to wear home. I changed out of the hospital “Seymour” nightgown and into my own grubbies. A nurse pushed the wheelchair with me in it out to the vehicle and I was loaded in. We were off!
I got home and collapsed. I’d been told to take the rest of the week off and more if necessary. I decided I’d at least take the time that DD would be home from California.
The house we were living in had started crumbling around our ears. Due to insufficient heat (we used space heaters), several of the pipes had frozen and burst so I couldn’t have the water on all the time. I’d turn it on long enough to do whatever I had to do and then turn it off. There was no money in the budget to get the problem fixed. The morning after I got home, I wanted to take a bath. I’d only had bed baths while I was in the hospital.
To turn the water on, I had to go outside to the back of the house and open a valve to let the water run inside. It was down close to the ground and I found out just how weak I still was. When I was crouched down doing what had to be done, I lost my balance and tumbled over backward. I picked myself up, dusted myself off and looked around to see if I’d been observed. I didn’t see anyone so I made my way back inside.
Time went by almost as quickly then as it does now and DD was due to fly back West. I still wasn’t up to driving and the airport was something like two and a half hours away. I couldn’t even take her to catch a bus. What were we to do?