Sometime in the middle of the night, a nurse had come in to check my vital signs. She set the thing-a-ma-jig (sorry for the technical jargon) where I could see the readout. My blood pressure was 102/54. Just a tad bit low. She asked if I were dizzy and I said no. I wasn’t.
I’d gone back to sleep when a lab tech came in to draw some blood. That’s when I figured I might as well stay awake.
The elder had offered to leave the book he was reading with me but I thought I’d be going home soon so I turned it down. There wasn’t a whole lot to do besides think, pray, and watch TV. I couldn’t figure out the channels. At one point, I stumbled across the Food Network but I couldn’t get back to it no matter what I did.
Finally, it occurred to me that the old 3, 9, and 12 might work for the local stations and it did. Not a whole lot was on that I wanted to watch. I’m so used to having what I want to see when I want to see it that I’m very spoiled. I told one of the aides that I felt like a captive with regular TV.
One of my nurses for the day was a tall, slim, matter-of-fact woman—which was quite refreshing. The IV pump was on the opposite side of the bed as the bathroom. She unplugged it, pulled it around and put it on the side closest the BR. “Do you fall?” “No.” “Well, then, I see no reason why you can’t go to the bathroom by yourself. The only requirement is that you wear your shoes.” (They are a pair of slip-on sandals I wear around the house with socks during the winter.) I felt like I had a modicum of independence.
My breakfast tray came in. She spied the card that stated I’m vegan and said, “Jello? Well, you don’t need THAT!” and took it away. She evidently knew what she was talking about.
Inevitably, someone would come and start to take the tray and I would ask them to leave it. I was letting things warm up. Everything but the coffee was served either chilled or with ice.
When the man came in to fill my water pitcher, I asked him to dump the ice out and just put water. I explained that the only time I like cold is if it’s 95 degrees outside. He was quite amazed but he complied.
I started experimenting with the numbers on the remote. I knew that there had to be a list somewhere in the room but I wasn’t up to looking for it and didn’t think to ask. By and by, I ran across some very early episodes of Andy Griffith when he and Barney talked with thick Southern accents. I watched a couple of them, then started looking for the Food Network again. If I couldn’t eat it, I could, at least, watch it. Successful at last, I found it is channel 50. Woohoo.
One of the aides came in and was on a campaign for me to take a shower. She figured I would feel so much better and I was sure I would. She was headed off at the pass by the nurse telling her the antibiotic she’d just hung would take a couple of hours and then I could shower. The aide said, “Well, that’s okay. You aren’t a dirty person.” The nurse got a kick out of that and then they started talking about the condition of some of the patients they see. I can remember all too well. I didn’t have to be reminded.
The time came and went with me tolerating some of the daytime food shows that aren’t as interesting at the primetime ones. Some of the “stars” are so chirpy and perky, it gets a little old. “Oh, beautiful!” doesn’t tell me how something tastes. Or “Yum-O!”
I was duly gotten out of bed and escorted to the bathroom. My IV arm was wrapped in plastic which was held in place with lots of tape. With a stack of towels and washcloths at my disposal, I was left to get clean. I had a little bottle of combination body wash/shampoo and put it to good use.
When I was dry, I was put back to bed and hooked up again.
I’d talked to my cousin and asked her to tell my CIL to bring me a change of clothes. I told her where he could find them and what I wanted. Sure, he could do that when he went to feed the critters.
By and by, he came in while I was on the phone with my sister (they were both faithful to call and check on me as were my children). I asked her to call me back in a few minutes so I could get the scoop on Twinkle. She was doing fine. She’d been petted but, at one point, she had whirled around and put her teeth on his wrist. I guessed correctly that he had been scratching around her tail. She doesn’t like that. He left and my sister called back.
When the hospitalist was there, I’d gotten the impression that I was to get a meal at lunch but it was still clear liquids. The nurse comforted me and said maybe supper. She would check. Supper came and with it clear liquids again. I was getting tired of Sprite, juice and water. I told anyone who cared to listen that I’d love some toast and applesauce.
The evening programming came on and it was a Chopped marathon. There were a couple of episodes I hadn’t seen. I’d manage to make it through to the commercials before I had to go to the bathroom. When they’d start, I’d get up, wrangle the IV pole and get back in bed before it started again.
There was a “hat” in the commode so my output could be measured and a time or two, Something Else got in there. Enough of the charcoal had gone through to make things interesting. I had to explain the appearance.
At 9 o’clock Tommie Time, I turned off the TV and prepared to go to sleep. When I’d start to doze off, I’d have to get up and go to the bathroom. When an hour had gone by, I rang for the nurse and asked if anything had been ordered to slow the activity. She checked and no, it hadn’t. She would call the doctor and see what she could give me. I was getting desperate.
She came back in a few minutes later with a syringe to do an IV push. I asked her what it was and she said Phenergan. It would not only slow my bowel action, it would help me sleep. That was a plus. She gradually pushed it into the IV port and I could feel it going up my arm.
Shortly, I felt like I’d been hit by a ton of bricks. She’d told me not to try to get up to go to the bathroom by myself after the push and there was no way I could. I’d had to ring her again to escort me since it hadn’t taken effect on other parts of my body.
When she got me out of bed, I couldn’t even sit up by myself. She had to support me as I made my way to the commode and stood there to make sure I wasn’t going to fall off. My tongue was thick and I couldn’t talk plainly.
Back in bed, I shut my eyes and started hallucinating. I was watching TV even though the TV wasn’t on. If I put my head on the pillow, I heard voices. That went on for hours, interspersed with escorted trips to the bathroom. She was amazed I had to “go” so often. By and by, the effects wore off enough that I was able to defy orders and go by myself. I was still wobbly but I would hold to things and manage.
By the clock on the wall by my bed, it was around 4 a.m. when I last checked. I went to sleep and was awakened at 5 for a vital sign check. My blood pressure was 98/40-something. The nurse wanted to know if I’m on any kind of medication for it. Once, it was checked after I’d been up and it had rebounded to a normal range. Resting does make a difference.
I kept dozing off since I’d had so little sleep the night before. It was hard to stay awake for any amount of time.
Blood was drawn again and I was beginning to feel like a pincushion. I was taken to x-ray and was photographed for the second time. The hospitalist came in after my clear liquid tray had been delivered the second time that day. He stood by the window and said, “Your blood work looks good and your x-rays look good, so what are you doing here?” I said, “That’s what I’d like to know.”
I asked when I was going to be able to have solid food. He said, “Well, since you are vegan, I don’t know what the kitchen could fix for you.” Is it really that hard?? I told him I’d love some toast and applesauce. He agreed to order it and said if I was able to keep it down, I could be discharged.
He made sure I had a way to get home and, on his way out, he called back over his shoulder, “Be sure to wash your fruits and veggies well!”
The tray was brought up in short order. I didn’t have any way to take pictures so here’s what I saved:
The sauce was cold (I like mine warm) but it tasted good. The toast was plain ol’ white sandwich bread—one slice. I savored every bite. It was the first solid food I’d had since Sunday and that was Wednesday.
It stayed down. I called the nurse and asked if the doctor had left any discharge orders. No, but she would get in touch with him. Presently, a young nurse who’d been taking care of me a lot came in to take out my IV. I’d noticed she wore a smock with the name of a school on a patch on her left sleeve. When I asked, she said she would be graduating in three days. Yes, she was doing her clinicals there. Any plans for later? Well, she’d eventually like to become a midwife. I wished her well. She’d make a good one.
The IV out, I was up and dressed when the nurse came in with my discharge papers and had me sign the little signature pad. I was ready to go home.