Sunday, July 31, 2011

Chapter 4

As long as I can remember, I have been told about how bad hospital food was.  So I did expect the worst.  By the time that I was admitted to the hospital, it was several hours since I had anything to eat.  So as soon as I got settled in, I was hoping to get some food.  My night time nurse was a youthful and pleasant looking woman.  From her appearance, I got the impression that she was pretty new and probably married.  Not that I was looking to hook up in my condition, it was just an observation.  The nurse walked in with a bright smile on her face.  "Hello Ricky, good evening sweetie! My name is Lisa and I am gonna be your nurse tonight," she said.  "Hello, how are you doing tonight?" I asked.  "Just fine, thanks for asking. Are you in any pain?" she replied.  "No pain but I am kinda hungry.  Is there any way I can get something to eat?" I responded.  She hesitated for a moment as if she was thinking of a delicate way to tell me no.  "Dinner has already been served; however, there are still some sandwiches available for after hours.  Let me check and I will bring you what we have down there," Lisa explained.  "Okay that will be fine.  I just hadn't eaten anything since lunch," I said.  "No problem hun.  Do you want some water or juice?" the nurse asked.  "I would like both and some ice please," I added.  "You got it just let me take your vitals and I will be right back with your food," she disclosed.  I nodded yes and she proceeded to take my blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature.  "Looks good! I will be back shortly," she chimed.  She recorded it all down on a piece of paper and then left the room.  I was pretty spoiled with the one-on-one attention in the ICU.  It didn't take her too long to return with a ham and cheese hoagie, apple sauce cup, water, a bucket of ice, and several little juice cups.  She placed it all on the table next to my bed and rolled it into place.  The table was positioned so that it hovered over my bed.  All I had to do is sit up and chow down.  I don't know if I was just hungry or if it really tasted that good but I inhaled it in a matter of minutes.  The jury is still out on whether or not the food will be decent. After all it was only a sandwich.  I'll have to see what breakfast is like in the morning.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chapter 3

After hearing these words, I lay there as if I was paralyzed.  "The doctor is coming by today to talk to you about your test results," nurse Paula stated.  I felt ambivalent about the news.  On one hand, I did want to know exactly what was wrong with me and if I could fully recover.  On the other hand, I feared the possibility of hearing that I had something incurable or terminal.  I mean, after all, it was serious enough to stop me from walking.  I put my faith in God and prayed for a speedy recovery.  Other than the ominous news that I received, the day was like all of the days before it.  They pumped me with fluids around the clock because I was dehydrated when I was admitted.  But guess what, I had to pee around the clock too.  I was not in full control of my bodily functions so this wasn't cool! It used to be that any time I had to pee, I had to push the call button to get my nurse.  Today, I got more good news!  I found out the hospitals answer to peeing your pants; a catheter.  "You're gonna put what where?" I asked.  It seemed as though the pain would be unbearable.  Inserting a catheter is when they stick a flexible plastic tube in my pee hole to catch all of my urine and it empties out into a plastic container.  It's good because now I wouldn't be worried about having an accident but the thought of it made me cringe.  "I'll be back later today to insert your catheter sir," the nurse said.  "Oh I can't wait," I joked.  Paula left and I drifted off to sleep.  Minutes later, there was a knock at the door.  "Hello Mr. Kendall," the doctor said.  I slowly opened my eyes and saw the door being pushed open.  The doctor came in wearing a surgical type mask.  "Good morning," I spoke.  He added, "Hello sir, my name is doctor Stevens and I have some good news and some bad news.  But first, are you in any pain?"  I lay with a blank expression on my face.  "Sorry did I wake you up Ricky?" he asked.  "Yeah, I just passed out but don't worry, everybody wakes me up," I explained.  "I bet you are wondering why I am wearing a mask huh? Well, after receiving all of the initial test results and looking at your chest x-ray, I have come to the conclusion that you have most likely contracted tuberculosis," doctor Stevens said.  "I have got TB?" I asked in disbelief.  Doctor Stevens continued, "That is what I strongly believe.  To be 100% sure, we are gonna have to take some samples of your phlegm and this will also help me determine exactly which medication will be the most effective.  I will start you on all three pills immediately until we get the lab results back.  Everyone that comes into your room now has to protect themselves from the harmful bacteria in your lungs by wearing a mask and plastic jacket.  Please don't be offended."

Saturday, July 16, 2011

More Of Chapter 2

One of the scariest and most humiliating things that came out of my hospital stay was the fact that I did not have total control of my bodily functions.  It did not help that I lost the use of my legs.  I felt so helpless and embarrassed to have to ask for help to use the bathroom.  The nurse would have to bring me a bed pan.  It was a very unpleasant experience.  The bed pan was a hard plastic little cup just big enough to surround my business area.  It was raised so when it was put underneath my butt, and I rested on it, the plastic seemed like it was digging into my skin.  I had to call for a nurse to take it when I was done.  The most unnerving part of the exchange was when I had to have her wipe my butt.  I just wanted to die!  That was the most vulnerable that I had ever been in my life.  At this stage, I hadn't been diagnosed so I was left to wonder. I felt alone and ashamed.  I knew it wasn't my fault yet I couldn't control where my mind took it.  Nurse Paula came in as she always did with a big smile and friendly face.  "The doctor wants you to go get a chest x-ray today," she announced.  I had a puzzled look on my face.  "Am I going to go in a wheel chair?," I asked.  "Nope, you are gonna be wheeled down there on a stretcher and they are gonna bring you back when you are done," she explained.  "Alright then let's do it," I replied.  A guy from the transport section came and they moved me over to the stretcher he brought with him.  Just like that, I was off.  When I arrived at the x-ray room, I noticed that it was quite chilly so I pulled the blankets over me.  I had to wait on the technician so I was just laying there.  The guy that brought me told them to call him when I was ready and then he left the room.  I started to get that dreaded sensation so I called out for assistance.  "I need to go pee!," I screamed.  It took a while for someone to come out of the booth.  "What was that?," the technician asked.  "Do you have a cup or jar that I can pee in because I can't hold it?," I asked urgently.  "Let me check," she said.  "Please hurry," I pleaded.  As soon as she went to look, it was too late.  Ah man, I just pissed my pants.  How humiliating!  All I could do is wish that I was somewhere else and hope that I could go run and hide.  I am gonna have to tell this woman that I pissed my pants.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Chapter 2

     Now the head nurse in the Intensive Care Unit or ICU was an older woman that was more of the motherly type.  I could tell that she enjoyed her job or, at the very least, she was well suited for nursing.  As I lay there immobile, I was scared because I had no idea what was wrong with me and angry because I wanted to know why did this happen to me?  I can't move my legs that means that I can't go to the bathroom, I can't brush my teeth at the sink, I can't walk, I can't run, and I can't cook.  Whew!  This is so depressing especially considering the fact that sports have been a big part of my life since elementary school.  And if that wasn't enough stress, if I survived all of this, then I would have to find a new job and start all over again.  What's to come of my life?
     "Hi, my name is Paula and I will be your primary nurse during the day time," she said.  She walked over to my bedside. "Please lift your right arm so I can check your blood pressure and record the rest of your vital signs," she explained.  I lifted my arm and she wrapped a velcro strap around my right bicep.  "Now you can lay your arm down and please stay still," nurse Paula said.  "Open wide and lift your tongue," she directed.  Next she inserted a thermometer, made of hard plastic, under my tongue.  "I am gonna take your temperature and, while I do that, hold a finger straight out," the nurse said.  Paula attached a clip like device on my fingertip.  "This is to check your pulse and heart rate," she told.  "Okay," I uttered.  She pressed a button and after a series of beeps and high pitched tones, it was all over.  I would go through this about six times a day for the next...however long that I am here.  Nurse Paula unstrapped, unhooked, and unfastened everything so I could finally try to settle in and get some sleep.