And she’s back. Although Mark was such a hit, I’m thinking of giving him a full-time job with Forensics and Faith. Tuesday saw one of the highest-read days of this blog ever. I think it was a combination of Mark’s reporting and everyone coming over here to get their fill of my accident. Now how’s that supposed to make a gal feel?
So how did I do at the hospital, you ask. Oh, hospital, how did I flunk thee? Let me count the ways.
1. Okay, let’s get this one over with. I flunked Bedpan 101. Actually, I got the hang of it (haha) on the second try. But the first time what I mostly got was the bed. Which then had to be remade.
Hey, the pan was a small one.
Made for a two-year-old.
With a very tiny butt.
I simply refuse to go into more detail on this one.
2. I flunked Entering the Operating Room 101. Yes, I was in pain. No, I didn’t like what awaited me. But I just wrote a book with a scene in an operating room, see, so I had to ask the docs a few questions. Was this what most rooms look like? (I was rubbernecking on the gurney.) Is this the normal size? Bigger? Smaller? I think the docs expected me to get up and take measurements, then hand ’em a card for decorating.
3. I flunked Going Under 101. Or maybe you could say I passed with flying colors. Here’s the thing. I do not do prescribed pain medication. Period. I told the docs this. I also told them I’d go out like a light. I mean it—they could hold up a bottle of the stuff, and I’d see it and go out. The doc “started” with an IV. “Now this is just a preliminary until we get the real meds going.” Before he was done talking, I felt the stuff race through my body. Managed to hold up one hand. “Bye … bye…”
4. I flunked Waking Up 101. I was in a recovery room, that I know, because I heard voices around me. But I never opened my eyes—no energy. I knew I was being a terrible pain in the neck. But I couldn't help it. They put something down your throat to help you breathe during surgery, so I woke up coughing to beat the band. And groaning. Everything hurt. And drat it all, nobody seemed to be paying the least amount of attention to me. Some soft-spoken guy on my right was getting it all. What's with that? So I did the only thing a self-respecting patient would do. Groaned louder. This eventually worked. Although I doubt the post-op people want to see me again anytime soon.
5. I flunked Pain Pills 101. Reference #3, above. No pain pills. I told the nurses I’d take the pain meds because I knew I’d be seriously hurting. But I also told them I can’t function on the things. Which means—are you hearing, nurses—I CAN’T get out of bed. I will faint. And every sound sends shock waves through me. So the wonderful nurses wean me off the morphine drip—“This’ll be so much better”—and hit me up with two powerful pain pills. Not one. Two. Saying I am down for the count is like saying water is wet. About an hour into this the physical therapy guy comes by. Very cute. Totally bald (he shaves his head). I rubbed it just to be sure. He wants me up and moving. I say no. This guy doesn’t take no for an answer. I happily inform him of myriad torturous ways I will kill him off in the next book. He doesn’t blink an eye. (The PT schools graduate ’em rough these days.)
It takes two people—PT guy and a nurse—just to sit me up and on the edge of the bed. With legs hanging over the edge. Otherwise it "doesn’t count."
I’ll have you know I didn’t get up again until I said I was ready to get up. Which was after the pain meds were totally out of my system. (In other words, the next day.)
6. While we’re at it, I flunked Eating on Pain Pills 101. Yup. Nothin’ would stay down. This does a world of good when you’re trying to gain strength. They already took away food from me for 15 hours before surgery. (I was a slide-in to the regular schedule, and in case I got in at 8 a.m.—yeah, right—I had to stop eating and drinking at midnight.)
Enough said about this one.
7. I flunked Crutches 101. This is simply not my fault. Totally due to another PT person—this one a gal. She wanted me to show her I could go up and down two stairs before she let me go home with crutches—since there are stairs in both our homes. I thought this particularly funny in light of my mother’s insistence over the phone that “whatever you do, don’t go up and down stairs on crutches.” Imagine her dismay to hear that hospitals teach that stuff. Well, it was a no go. It was morning. I still couldn’t eat much. I was just getting my strength back. I looked at those stairs, felt those wobbly crutches and imagined a second broken ankle. Nope, I said. I ain’t doin’ it.
Well, she is the sneaky one. Only then did she tell me I couldn’t take the crutches home. I’d just have to stick the walker.
"Why can't I take 'em home and just not use 'em on the stairs?"
Well I fixed her. I waited until we were ready to go. Volunteer gal ready to wheel me out and everything. But then I had my strength back. Or at least returning. So I said I’d retry the crutches. They found Miss PT. I went up and down the stairs. Take that!
I got my crutches.
I’m lousy on ’em, though. At home, how did I go up all those steps in our great room to the master suite? On my butt, one step at a time.
And it fit just fine.
Read Part 5