Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Rambling thoughts from my Hospital Bed # 3

I was going to call this "My Left Hook" but decided it is now part of my ongoing Hospital Bed series. I wrote this on 1-23-07 and is about an event that happened in 2001.

It's easy to get used to pain in the hospital. Poking, prodding, and getting stuck with all manner of pointy things is just a normal part of one's day. But occasionally hospital staff goes too far. I had a picc line (this is tubing inserted into my vein and then snaked about 2 feet or so through my arteries and then sewn in place) and the doctor came in to remove it as I was being discharged. No big deal, and it takes a minute or two and is completely painless. Unless, of course, the doctor doesn't properly cut the stitches holding the picc line in place.
The institution's doctor, whom I had never seen before, or since, came in to remove the line. She cut two stitches (I had 3) and then started yanking like she had just harpooned a seal. My skin stretched like a cartoon character's and I yelled while she kept pulling. She stopped and I told her about the stitch. She said that she had cut them, and she started yanking again and my skin responded like the main attraction at an old-fashioned county fair taffy pull. The pain was intense, and instinctively, my left hand formed a fist, and I swung at her hard. I missed, but she backed off. NOW she was ready to listen.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Rambling thoughts from my hospital bed #2

I wrote this in the afternoon on 1-19-07 after Physical Therapy (PT.)

PT is full of triumphs and disappointments. Yesterday I spent a few minutes tapping a balloon back and forth with the Occupational Therapist. It made me wonder exactly what type of job was she preparing me to return to? Did she think I was a combination magician/animal balloon maker at Chucky Cheese? Perhaps she thought I was a Special Olympics caliber volley ball professional or a circus clown. Either way, I don't recall ever having a job (and I've had plenty of bad ones) where a balloon was used regularly. Could she be subconciously suggesting to me that I seek a new career?
I put get a "how to make animal balloons" book on my list of things to do as soon as I get out of here. I should probably get a "how to juggle" book, too. I'll need something to do after I've made everyone a balloon poodle.
I mentioned disappointments, and I've had quite a few. When my overly perky miniature PT suggested that she would get one of her cohorts and we would get in the shower, well, every post puberty fantasy raced through my head. Of course, this mind movie was scored like a 70's porn flick. Bwaaah, bwaah bwaaaah. Ooom pukka puuukkka.
Turns out all they wanted to do was watch me get out of my wheelchair, pivot, and then slide onto the shower bench, and then reverse the procedure.
But hope springs eternal. When she suggested that we get into bed, again, that same 70's soundtrack kicked in. Bwaaah bwaaah bwaaaah. Ooom Pukka Puuukkkka.
We went into a seperate room with a standard issue hospital bed. She drew the curtains. I got into bed just as she asked. I rolled over when she said to. Yeah!! I wondered which of my buddies I was going to call first to tell them the old man still had it!!! Then, in a sultry voice, she huskily whispered, "OK, now give it to me hard, big guy."
Wait, that was from my mental movie. What she actually said was, "Ok, now get your big butt out of bed if it isn't too hard."

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Rambling thoughts from my hospital bed #1

I'd like to post a few things I wrote while I was recently hospitalized for most of January. I wrote this in my diary January 19, 2007. I think it's too good to keep to myself.

Physical Therapy is more than facing challenges. It is learning to walk, or eat, or any of a myriad of activities of daily living all under the tutelage of a trained, highly skilled physical or occupational therapist (both interchangeable referred to as PT's hereafter.) From my personal experience, a PT is a young woman who is, shall I say for lack of a better term, petite? How would you describe someone smaller than petite?
My current PT's are attractive Asian women, none taller than 5 foot nothing and who would, after a lumber-jacked sized meal and a soaking rain, barely tip the scales at 98 lbs. This inherent cuteness is a great benefit to their job. Therapy hurts a lot, yet it is impossible to lash out at someone so adorable. Who could be so mean as to swat a pixie?
But PT's have learned to compensate for their tiny physique. I may tower over them, and weigh more than a squadron of PT's, but they use a method so insidious, yet clever, that one must tip one's cap for their resourcefulness. A team of 2 or more PT's help me to get up and walk. One puts her hand on my shoulder or arm, while the other gives me a wedgie. That time-tested favorite of grammar school bullies everywhere has now become a medical practice. I'm not exactly sure how pulling my shorts way up into my butt helps me to walk--who am I to argue with medical science--it must be admitted that it works. I put one foot in front of the other and hobble my way to recovery.