Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Starting Over (Blogophilia 16.9)

It had to happen, I know. I actually missed a deadline. 
 
Oh, it could have been much worse. I could still be in the hospital with a 5” incision up my right side and couple of drains and all that. But, damn it, I had a story about a third done and I can’t type worth a crap on the phone. Saving the string would have required the desktop. Now, alas, the string is dead. Long Live The String! 
 
So, let’s look back. I wrote my first entry in the summer of 2007. Between then and now is about 470 weeks (thank you, Siri) and I managed to submit entries on every one of those weeks. About 155 reside in my notes here on Facebook, but I switched over to http://anothergovernmentemployee.blogspot.com/... 2010 because of the more flexible format. Sure, some of them were complete phone-ins, a few recycles on weeks where life was too crazy. But you folks are important.
 
I guess the best way to start over is to bring you fully up to date, Monday night after supper I began to have very sharp pains in on my upper right side. “Gallbladder” I thought. Great, but I’ve dealt with that before and it should resolve itself in a day or so. So after a fitful night of sleep, I did my chores Tuesday and got the crockpot setup for pulled pork. 
 
As the day wore on, the pain got worse. Mind you, I have a very high tolerance for pain, but this was getting ridiculous. My wife asked me to call my sister (a retired nurse) and get her opinion. Her first reaction was “Gallbladder”, but since it had been going on for 24 hours, it was time to get it checked out. So, I let everyone finish their dinner and I had my younger son to drive me up to the emergency room. (For those of you who are new, my wife does not drive because of medical issues and frankly she is the last person to be handed decision making in a medical emergency). 
 
Walking in the lobby, I looked like a smoker with end stage COPD (only without the breathing tubes). My son said the right shoulder was almost 2 inches lower than the left. The Triage nurse looked at me a bit funny, wondering if was someone scamming drugs, but she kept a civil tongue and in due time I limped back to the treatment room. Things went pretty quickly from there in ER time and I was thrown into a CT scan in about hour. Now, this is where the really loooooggg waits happen, but again things moved quickly. The ER resident on call (who looked impossibly young),came in and said I had a really ugly picture, a perforated appendix and my whole lower abdomen was quite inflamed. A GI surgeon was summoned and said I would get admitted for at least 2-3 days (turned out to be 4) for fluids, antibiotics and observation. No surgery, yet. To do it now, would be a much bigger issue with a much longer recovery time.
 
(Oh, as an aside, the CT DID find two gallstones that will need to be dealt with later)
 
Well, when they admit you, you become a piece of inventory. Now my barcode and SKU numbers were issued by the snarky Triage nurse, so I was already in stock. ANY transaction, they scan you and you have confirm your name and date of birth. Yeah, I know. It’s supposed to cut down on mistakes, but it isn’t always easy to repeat when it is 4:30 in morning with a bunch of Dilaudid in your system. 
 
Ah, yes, Snarky Nurse. They let me have as much as I needed. 
 
But it doesn’t lead to The Big Sleep. Not in a hospital. Every couple of hours, somebody is poking, prodding and scanning your code (Christopher H Mitchell 11/30/1958). And whoever designed the beds should be forced to sleep in them. I’m normally a side sleeper. You can’t do that in a hospital bed. Between my IV line and bed frame, it was difficult to find a comfortable position. Shift one way, the IV line would occlude. Shift the other way, the knife blade in my side twisted. The room did have a chair that worked much better, so I spent most of my time over there. 
 
Oh, and that lovely IV pump. Snnnrriiik.... plop... Snnnnnnrriiiikk plop. It sounded like my inkjet printer in a really long job. And when the pump is laying next to your ear, it gets really old. Plus it would spit out alarms when it need to be refilled and such. Of course, it also acts like a leash. So, when I would venture out of the room to walk around (a good way to help the healing process), I have to drag the stupid thing with me. 
 
The staff I dealt with were excellent. It can’t be easy to deal with a cranky person in the early hours to get vitals. The Nutrition lady was like talking to my grandmother and she wanted to make sure I did the best with whatever liquid I was on. I could have been in worse places.
 
So where to now? Well, I still have a 10 day batch of antibiotics and a follow up appointment with the GI folks. Best guess is appendix surgery will be in July sometime (which we hope can be done outpatient) and probably the gallbladder at a later day. 
 
A takeaway from all this? Even if you are hurting, it helps to keep a sense of humor about the absurdity of your situation. Don’t think about whether it is fair or not. That doesn’t matter. It is just what is happening now. Just one step in front of the other until you get to the end of this section of path. It was where you were supposed to go anyway.

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Pic guesses: Hardboiled, Femme Fatale, That Woman, Warhol, L.A. Baby, Moll, Trouble, Maneater

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