I have so far survived the lumbar disk replacement by Dr Meerkotter at the Donald Gordon Mediclinic. Thanks largely to Morphine. Tuesday is a series of surreal flashes – I remember being asked if I had a nose ring and saying, “No, further down. “A nipple ring?” “No, further down.” “A belly ring?” “No further down.” I also remember a conversation about the tattoo and then an image of three huge shining lights above my head. And I recall feeling like I’d fallen asleep on an ice floe. I awoke to find myself covered in three of those emergency metal blankets. If I didn’t know better I’d have thought I had been abducted by aliens.
For the last 24 hours ice chips have been my only form of oral sustenance. Never have I longed to pass wind so much. Today at long last I farted. I could have sung out glory hallelujah. I haven’t had quite so many in-depth conversations about the workings of my plumbing since my Grandmother was alive. She was equally as obsessed about bowel behaviour. At her 50th wedding anniversary my Dad, her son, came out of the loo and she called to him loudly across the assembled crowd of well wishers, “Did your tummy work dear?” Exactly. Right now each time I pass wind I want to do a victory dance. Why? Oh because here farts mean food. Or dry toast, jelly and some indistinguishable soup that I quietly flushed most of down the drain.
My fellow patients are quite colourful to say the least, my ward partner got out of eating the rest of the soup by passing out on the floor. She made the mistake of honestly filling in the assessment form. She said the ward was too noisy. She is right, it is next to the sluice room and at the T-junction of 3 corridors. The matron bustled in and moved her. “But, I don’t really want to move,” said Mrs. Something-or-other-stein. “Ah,” said the matron, “But you filled in the form and They will ask to see what I have done to rectify the situation. So you will move.” So she got moved to a large general ward away from a window and with the crazy lady. She wields a drip stand like a weapon. Last night she took out 4 nurses trying to change her drip.
I have been visited quite a few times and much appreciated every one. Although I can’t imagine I am much fun to visit with. I look like a Panda and keep falling asleep. Apparently you get bent over an arch of some kind to open your spine up and all the blood goes to your head and feet. Hence I have a face like a soccer ball and feet like a Yeti.
I never understood why you give sick people flowers before, but now I am sick I can feel why. They really do make you feel better. It is the proof of beauty and living amongst the sterile white of the hospital. They are the promise of days to come and the memories of good times past. I have sunflowers, an orchid, purple irises and an array of happy summer flowers to stare at and enjoy.
I go home tomorrow and I shall miss the quiet efficiency of this ward. The nursing staff is fabulous and has kept a sense of humour with me despite me having to call them constantly to plug in my leg massagers or pass me the TV remote that I’ve dropped on the floor. I have a great deal to thank them for, not least recognising that Small Boy aged 6 has Shingles. Apparently it is brought on by stress and me being in the hospital must have triggered it. Poor baby, we shall be sick together.
The physio has trained me to do a variety of exercises mostly lost in drug induced amnesia, but she has written them down somewhere. I have successfully navigated the stairs and now I can go home. On Monday I return here to have my staples removed with an implement that closely resembles a staple remover on the PA’s desk. I hope it is better designed. The doc says each staple being removed will feel like someone pulling out a pubic hair. Bloody sore in other words.
Anyhow, I’d better go back to sleep. All week the nurses have been trying to get my blood pressure up to something near normal. Turns out what was needed was my boss to come in and ask me to do some work. He’d better spell check it, because the letters are still all wobbly to me.