Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chapter 14

Here Comes The Chocolate Bandit....
This particular nurse was one of my favorites!  She was a younger white woman who had a pleasant disposition and a very feminine aura.  We would always chit chat a little more than I did with most nurses in a very innocent yet flirty way.  "Hello Ricky! Did you get a chance to talk to your mom last night?  I saw you knocked out when I left," she asked.  "Yeah we talked, as a matter of fact, I was gonna call her right now," I responded.  Nurse Lisa hooked me up to the machine and checked my vital signs.  When she finished, I immediately called my mom.  "Hello ma, how are you doing tonight?" I greeted her.  "Hello, I am doing just fine and how are you feeling?" she asked.  "Oh I am feeling pretty good considering," I said.  My nurse was within ear shot so she could hear what I said.  "Tell mom that I said hi," Lisa said.  "Hey ma, the "chocolate bandit" said hello," I told her.  Yes the chocolate bandit and no it's not what you might be thinking so get your mind out of the gutter.  There was one night that I was on the phone with my mom and Lisa was around.  Well, a peppermint patty commercial came on tv and I mentioned that I was craving some chocolate to my mom.  That night, I had fell asleep and then, I woke up with just enough time to see a shadowy figure leave my room.  When I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes, I noticed several pieces of chocolate on my table.  I found out the next night that Lisa had hooked me up; hence the name chocolate bandit.  "Ricky tell her that I said hello and how is she doing?" my mom replied.  "She said hi and she asked how are you?" I told Lisa.  "Thank you, I am doing fine," she shouted so my mom could hear.  "She is really nice! I like her," my mom said.  "Yeah she's nice but she's pretty sneaky too," I joked.  In the middle of my telephone conversation, my nurse left the room.  Like most nights, I continued talking to my mom until either the lab technician showed up or I couldn't hold my eyes open.  I woke up to....  "Hello Ricky!  Are you in any pain this morning?" Roy asked.  "Nope buddy.  Good morning and how are you?" I responded.  "I am doing great,"  he said.  "Cool stuff! So let me guess, you brought me my horse pill cocktail," I laughed.  "Yeah but on the bright side, breakfast is served too," he added.  The horse pill reference was an inside joke describing this huge potassium pill that I had to take daily.  Roy had to watch me swallow all of my pills and I would break that one in half.  The rough edges of it still kinda scraped my throat on the way down.  "Oh you are gonna love me today," Roy said.  "Oh no, what's the story?" I asked.  Roy put my pills and breakfast on the table and positioned it so all I had to do was sit up and I could eat.  "Well, you are scheduled for an ultrasound of your legs to check to see if there are any more blood clots.  That is gonna go down today," Roy said.  Good thing my breakfast was hot today because I needed a little feel good time. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chapter 13

Thank GOD For Miracles...
In the midst of the nurses shuffle, some stood out and some just blended in with the background.  One in particular was in the forefront because of her unique attitude.  She was an older black lady that was very petite in stature.  She wore eye glasses and had a permanent pissed off facial expression.  "Hello Mr. Kendall, my name is Angela and I am gonna be one of your nurses during the day this week," she informed me.  She had a stern look across her face.  "Why don't they empty the trash or clean up this floor before they left?" she asked.  Huh?  She was asking me as though I knew the answer or even cared for that matter.  "I have no idea," I said.  She proceeded to strap me up and insert a thermometer in my mouth for vitals.  "See I am not trying to get fired because of someone else's laziness," she stated.  "I couldn't tell you why," I explained.  She unhooked me from the machine, wrote something down, and then moved around the room like she was on roller skates.  "Next time tell them to take out the trash and clean up around here," she insisted.  I didn't say a word because I was shocked.  I was thinking... okay I will tell them just as soon as I get put on the payroll.  She left the room almost quicker than she had entered.  I had been awaiting the status of my discharge.  I wasn't ready to go because I still couldn't walk and I hadn't been on TB medication that long.  I saw my doctor creep up through the window in the door.  "Ricky I have your case manager looking into your living arrangement should I discharge you," doctor Stevens said.  "Alright.  Did you find anything out about my blood pressure?" I asked.  "Well, I am gonna send you downstairs for a CAT scan and I am gonna have a technician come here to give you another chest x-ray," he told me.  Man, I can't keep up: chest x-rays, MRI's, blood transfusions, broncoscopes, and now a CAT scan.  "Oh wow the hits keep coming eh doc?" I asked.  "Well, we think that you have a pulmonary embolism.  That is a blood clot in your lungs.  It would be really bad if it migrated towards your heart.  We can dissolve a blood clot by injecting you with blood thinner," he added.  What is going on? I take one step forward and then two steps back.  GOD is good!  If I would have been discharged last week, then I could have died due to a blood clot blocking circulation in my heart.  "Transport is gonna come up here in an hour or so to take you to your CAT scan and if there are no further questions, I will see you tomorrow," the doctor said.  I guess soon I will find out if I have a blood clot.  If so, I hope it doesn't get to my heart before it can be dissolved.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chapter 12

Getting Better Or Am I....
After my diagnosis, I felt a lot better about my situation.  At least I found out that recovery was a great likelihood.  There was talk that I would be discharged soon.  What?  It seemed to me as though I wasn't ready.  I was told that I would be discharged and would have to stay with a relative or friend.  I would also be isolated and unable to leave that residence unless in emergency.  Furthermore, I or whomever I lived with would have to don a facial mask to protect them from the harmful TB bacteria.  Great!  A prisoner in my own home.  Oh yeah, and here's the kicker, a nurse would have to come by everyday to watch me take my medication.  There was a knock at my room door...  "Hello Ricky.  How are you doing today?" said doctor Stevens.  "Hello and good morning," I said.  "It looks like we will be discharging you pretty soon.  Do you have anywhere to go?" he asked.  Crap, I didn't want to put anyone out by disrupting their lives with my needy ass.  "Umm I guess I could stay with my mom; however, she is getting older so I don't really want to expose her to all of this," I stated.  The truth is, I did have two sisters and one brother that lived in the area but I didn't think that anybody would want to live life as though they were in isolation.  I was trying to down play my mom as an option in hopes the doctor would decide to let me stay until I fully recovered.  "I see.  And you came from overseas right so you don't have to place of your own correct?" the doctor asked.  "Nope so I don't really have anywhere to go," I explained.  "I am gonna have a nurse take your vitals.  Also, I am gonna check with the Health Department.  I will come by tomorrow and update your discharge status," doctor Stevens told me.  "Okay," I said.  Doctor Stevens left the room and, shortly after, my nurse entered the room.  "Hey there Rick!  I am gonna take your vitals and then I will be right back with your meds," nurse Roy said.  "Alright man and could you bring me some juice and ice?" I asked.  "Sure thing," he said.  He strapped me up, inserted a thermometer in my mouth, and turned on the machine.  He had a worried look upon his face.  "Ah that's not good.  Tell me Rick, do you feel fine?"  Roy asked.  "I feel pretty good; no worse than yesterday," I answered.  "Well your blood pressure is really low and you are running a fever.  Let me check it again to make sure," he said.  He started the machine back up and the results were the same.  "I have to go tell the doctor about this.  I will be right back," the nurse said.  I wonder what's wrong now?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Chapter 11

Who's The Man...
Even though I knew that there were male nurses, it still was a little surprising when a guy showed up at my door.  "Hey what's up man?" the male nurse said.  He walked in the door and it was different seeing a goatee peeking out of the bottom of the facial mask.  Hmm, let's see how this goes.  "Good morning man," I said.  "My name is Ron and I will be your nurse this morning.  My assistant should be by soon to check your vitals.  Are you in pain right now or anything new going on?" Ron asked.  "Nope I am not in any pain.  I was talking to my mom on the phone last night and I got a shortness of breath," I explained.  "Okay I will make sure I leave a note for your doctor.  Now do you have any chest pains?" the nurse asked.  "No Ron I don't have any chest pains.  I do still have some tingling in my lower legs and feet,"  I told him.  He removed the covers from my legs and checked for a pulse in my feet.  He shook his head yes as if to say it was good.  "Hey can you do me a favor and sit up so I can listen to your chest?" he asked.  I sat up and he put his stethoscope against my back and had me take some deep breaths as he listened.  He repeated this on my chest.  "It sounds good; however, I can tell that your right lung is not filling up to its capacity.  That's because your right one has the most infection," Ron said.  We talked about where we were from, what our favorite sports teams were, and how long we were at the hospital.  "Why do you still have this catheter in?  Do you think you would be able to make it to the pot to pee?"  Ron asked.  Now I have a million and one things to think about daily so why add one more?  Although having this tube in my pee hole is not progressing in the right direction, I had gotten comfortable not worrying about trying to make it to use the bathroom.  I didn't appreciate this new guy trying to shake things up.  "Yeah I am gonna recommend to your doctor that I remove it," he said.  No sleep, it's cold as fuck, I can't walk, I have to fight to get barely warm food, and nurse John Wayne here thinks he can just disrupt shit.  What an asshole!  "Cool," I uttered.  "Okay well I am gonna be back with your morning pills and see if I can take this thing out so you can start becoming more independent," he gloated.  Yeah fuck you pal!  If you hadn't noticed I am becoming a little bitter.  Not only that but OUCH!!!  I hate to stereotype, but guys aren't known for being delicate and graceful.  As he turned to leave my room, I had to ask...  "Hey Ron, are you ex-military?" I asked.  "Yes I am.  I was in the U.S. Air Force for 15 years," he replied.  Ha, I knew it!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Chapter 10

The Apple Fell From The Tree...
I have traveled all over the United States from Tennessee, to Texas, to Nevada, to California, to Colorado, to Louisiana, to Virginia, to my home state North Carolina.  I have spent at least 2 weeks in each state.  After I joined the U.S. Air Force, I also went overseas to South Korea and Japan.  Well, while I was out and about, I didn't keep in touch with my family as much as I could've.  We all get lost in the rat race and our daily lives.  I took this time to repair and build a better relationship with my mom. I called her on the phone.  "Hello Ma? How are you feeling today?" I asked.  "Oh, I am doing fine.  How are you feeling today?" she asked.  "I am doing alright, but I still didn't get any sleep.  The doctor said that I have tuberculosis and pneumonia.  Ma, when you come up here, they are gonna have you wear a mask and gown to cover your clothes," I told her.  "Well, they can cure it right?" she asked.  "Yeah, I have at least 6 months of medication and they are gonna have a physical therapist come help me with walking," I explained.  I continued to tell her everything that the doctors told me.  I told her about all my discomforts and how I was progressing.  I know my mom is getting older and a day will come when I have to bury her.  All of my life I had been independent and kept personal stuff, like girlfriends and such to myself, so I decided to spill it.  "Okay Ma, I know that I have always been running around outside and we never talked about a lot of things so I am gonna tell you whatever you would like to know about.  What have you always wondered about?" I asked.  "Umm Ricky I don't know," she replied.  "Anything Ma.  I know there's something you've always wanted to me and girls.  I never really brought my girlfriends around so I am sure you are curious.  Well, when I was little I was really shy.  If I knew a girl liked me, then I couldn't face her.  I didn't know what to say.  I thought that there was something magical that I needed to know outside off the everyday conversation.  There were girls that liked me, but I was too shy.  I remember, in the third grade, there was this new girl that liked me and she wrote a note and had her friend give it to me.  I read it and found out that she liked me.  She was a good looking girl, but I just ignored her because I didn't know what to do.  Of course she thought I didn't like her and I felt bad.  Then, after high school, I got a job at McDonald's and all that changed.  I worked around a lot of women.  One woman told me that a lot of girls liked me.  She said that they were afraid to approach me because they were intimidated.  They thought I wanted a more educated and sophisticated woman by the way I carried myself.  I took that knowledge and ran with it.  It was interesting to see how others viewed me.  She was right," I laughed.  "Go ahead, continue," my mom said.  "Work was fun after that.  I started flirting my butt off and I was able to talk to any woman.  All I had to do was continue being myself and women liked me.  So I have had no problems with the ladies.  When I think about it there has always been attractive women that wanted to talk to me.  Working there built up my confidence and stroked my ego.  Although it didn't make me egotistical.  I know that I have been blessed," I said.  "Ricky I didn't think you had a problem in that department.  When you were gone, I figured you were always running around with some girl," she said.  We talked for hours that day.  I told her some of my girl stories, about me and alcohol, about my divorce, and I even asked her some questions.  I was thankful for the opportunity to bond with my mom and realize the importance of keeping in touch.  Even though, it took this awful event to make me see.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Chapter 9

Yum Yum Gimme Sum...
Now back to the subject of hospital food...  I have always been an eater, but managed to stay lean.  I have been a good athlete all my life so I guess I started off right.  Needless to say, I enjoy a hearty meal.  I like healthy portions cause I have no caloric consequences whatsoever.  After dreading to see what the hospital had to eat, the day came when I would find out firsthand.  "Hey Ricky! Wake up; they dropped off your breakfast," the nurse said while tapping on my leg.  "Huh? Okay give me a second," I grumbled.  That's one more of those instances where, as soon as I am getting good sleep, someone wakes me up.  "I must have passed out after the lab technician woke me up at 3 am," I stated.  Now because I was isolated, the person who brought my food up, would leave it outside of my room door.  Everybody else would don a mask and come in , but the cafeteria people were too good.  This sucked for two reasons.  First, I couldn't walk so I definitely couldn't open the door and get my food. Secondly, I had to hope a nurse came by to bring it in before it got cold.  This is for every meal, everyday.  I raised up the back of my bed so I was sitting upright.  The nurse pushed my food in front of me so I could reach the tray.  I took the cover off of the plate.  "Thank you and could you please bring me some ice," I asked.  "Of course sweetie.  I will be right back after I do my rounds with your pills and some ice," she said.  "Okay," I said.  "Enjoy your breakfast," she said as she left the room.  Let's see what we have here: scrambled eggs, bacon strips, grits, cereal with milk, and a cinnamon biscuit.  Not bad; it looks good, but I could use some more eggs and grits.  I inhaled all of that and wanted more.  It was a good sign that I didn't lose my appetite.  The cinnamon biscuit was really yummy.  Alright breakfast gets my seal of approval, but bigger portions would be nice.  I wonder what lunch is gonna be like?  I started flipping through the channels on tv and it was the same ole crap.  My feet were jammed up against the foot board of the bed.  You gotta be kidding me!  They have got to have beds for us six footers.  It looked like they gave me a kiddie bed.  What am I gonna do with my time?  I don't have my Ipod nor my lappy.  As soon as I was thinking that, a chilling cold air settled in the room.  Time to wrap up and shiver.  What the heck is up with the thermostat?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chapter 8

Rub a dub dub, Ricky's in a tub...
"Mr. Kendall?" asked the transport guy.  "Yes I am," I answered.  "I am here to take you to get an MRI," He said.  He proceeded to help me out of my bed.  I grabbed his arm for support and slowly made my way over to the stretcher he brought.  "Here, whenever you go out, you have to put this on." he insisted.  He handed me a mask that covered up my mouth and nose.  "This is so you are protected from any harmful bacteria and to protect other people from TB bacteria," he explained.  "Okay," I responded.  Since my lungs couldn't fully expand, it was a little hard to breath with the mask on.  In my room I didn't have to wear one but everybody else did.  Now I see how they felt.  He rolled me down to the elevator and we were on our way.  It was weird being outside of my room.  I was trapped in there 24/7 and it didn't help that I couldn't walk.  When we entered the room, I saw two technicians and what looked to me like a tomb.  "Hello Mr. Kendall, we are gonna do an MRI of your body today.  I am gonna need you to lay flat and still until the test is completed.  You will hear beeps and other loud noises throughout the test.  Are you ready?" the technician asked.  "Yes but I have a question," I said.  "Shoot," she said.  "Exactly how long is the test?" I asked.  "The test is normally about 30 minutes but your doctor wants an extensive checkout so it will be about an hour or so," she said.  What?  She must be joking.  "Um an hour like 60 minutes?" I asked.  "Yes sir and you must remain completely still because if you don't, we will have to start all over," the technician explained.  I laid down on the platform and was rolled into the MRI machine.  It was a tunnel with barely enough room for me and the platform to fit.  The top of it was about six inches from my face so it was very close quarters.  I wasn't claustrophobic but this would test just about anybody.  I could hear beeps and voices and whistles; random noises.  My mind was playing tricks on me.  It was kinda stuffy in there so I prayed to God that I didn't start to sweat cause I couldn't move to wipe my face.  If I did, then I would have to start the hour all over again.  I began repeating my favorite Bible verse to calm myself.  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only son and whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life," I recited. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chapter 7

Drum roll please...
It was finally the day that I am to find out 100% what's wrong with me.  The most probable thing is TB and I had already started the medication for that plus I have pneumonia.  I have come to terms with the fact that I most likely have TB so I hope that I don't get thrown a curve ball.  All of a sudden they started shuffling nurses in and out.  I almost couldn't keep up with the names.  "Hello Ricky!" the nurse said.  When I turned my head to take a look, I saw a big and tall woman.  She was not big as in pleasantly plump; she was big as in amazonish.  "Hello how are you?" I asked.  "I am doin fine suga.  I am gonna be your day time nurse for the meantime and in-between time.  My name is Lucille and I am from Georgia,"  she replied.  "Well hey Lucille what do I have to do today?" I asked.  "Have you been feelin okay?" Lucille asked.  "Yes I have been okay considering," I replied.  "Oh, whats going on today is the doctor is coming by this morning," she explained.  "Alright and that's it?" I inquired.  "Nope you know that you couldn't get that lucky in here.  You are gonna do an MRI today.  Someone will drop by and shoot ya down there in a little," she told me.  I had no idea what an MRI was so I just kept quiet.  She took my vitals and then straightened up the room a bit.  "Do you need any juice or water and how about some ice?" the nurse asked.  "I will take all of the above please," I said.  "Okay i will be back in a jiffy," Lucille said.  As she was leaving out of the room, I thought of a secret nickname for her; Big Country.  Doctor Stevens was waiting to come in as my nurse left.  "Good morning Ricky.  Your sputum sample results came back from the lab.  After reviewing the results, I have determined that you do in fact have tuberculosis.  You have been on the medications for about a month now so, in the best case scenario, you have 5 more months of medication.  In the worst case, you have 8 more.  Either way it is totally curable.  We are gonna continue to treat your pneumonia with the antibiotics and fluids.  Do you have any questions for me?" the doctor asked.  "No not right now," I said.  "We are still waiting on the results of 1 sample so we can figure out which pill will be the most effective against the bacteria.  It could take 2 more weeks but I will let you know when I get it," he said.  The doctor took a look at my feet and checked for a pulse.  "I will be by tomorrow.  Try to get some rest," he stated as he walked out the door.  I was so tired of taking pills but, i know in order to get better, I had to do it.  I would get about 8 pills in the morning.  About noon, I would get 13 and the most of them were for TB.  Then, during the night, I would get about 4.  This was my everyday regimen.  Suddenly, I heard a knock at the door...  "Hello Mr. Kendall. I am here to take you to get your MRI," the transport guy said.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

More of Chapter 6

Knock knock knock...
"Come in please," I said. The door opened.  I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own two light browns.  What a sight for sore eyes? You have to understand where I am coming from at this moment.  This is a person that was like a little brother to me.  This is a person that swore to never grace this city with his presence again.  This was one of my very special nephews.  "Hello Ricky, I hear that you are kinda sick," J said.  "I don't believe it! I don't fuckin believe it!" I said.  "I know. When I found out about you, something told me that I should be here so here I am," J added.  "Thank you so much man.  This really means a lot to me," I explained.  We went on reminiscing and laughing.  Some of the funniest moments in my life happened with this guy.  I met him when he was about 5; an awkward yet very smart little kid.  I'd like to think that because of the time that he spent with me, he became more athletic and confident.  He was now a man of whom I was very proud.  "Remember the time that you and your mom were dropping me off after I spent the summer with you?  We still had some fireworks from the 4th of July and we decided to take them to the movies.  We got the bright idea to light one and I was gonna drop it and kick it under the seats," I added.  As we both broke out into laughter... "Yeah who would have thought that when you kicked it, it would have hit the back of someones feet in front of you?" J asked.  "POP...was all i heard.  It seemed like the movie stopped.  Everything was quiet except a baby was crying," I said.  There were four people back where a witness said they saw it come from and of course, when we were ushered out, we looked guilty as heck.  The other two people got to enjoy the rest of the movie and our parents were called.  The theater manager actually said that we were banned for LIFE.  COOL!  The laughing continued.  "Man we had some good times," I reflected.  We clowned and laughed for several more hours.  "J I just want to tell you that I always thought of you as a little brother," I spoke.  We both tried in vain to hold back the tears but we couldn't.  J said while a single tear crawled down his face , " You are gonna make it through Ricky.  I gotta go but I will be back again before I leave town."  "Thank you man!  I love you," I said.  As he walked out of the door, he turned and mouthed the words I love you too.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chapter 6

Keeping a positive attitude was a lot easier than I thought.  When I have a problem, I look at it like it's out of my control so I better make the most of it.  Freaking out will only delay me from finding a positive solution.  I take pride in my always cool under pressure persona.  Even under such pressure and stress, I have maintained my composure and a certain aloofness.  I was so proud of myself!  Can I maintain this positive outlook and attitude?  Now if I could only make my body catch up to my spirit...  "Hello Ricky, how are you feeling today sir?" the doctor asked.  "I am feeling alright but there is a tingling sensation in my feet.  Almost like a numbing sort of feeling," I stated.  "Hmm is that so?  After studying your blood work results, I believe that this is due to the fact that the zinc levels in your blood are high. This is in part due to the medication prescribed," doctor Stevens explained.  "So it's a side effect of the pills?" I asked.  He pulled the covers off of my feet and lower legs and before he could say the words...  "Ouch!" I yelled.  "Did you feel that?  Yeah, I guess so.  You definitely have feeling in your legs and I could feel a pulse in your feet so that's a very good sign," the doctor insisted.  "That was a little painful doc," I said.  "I will  monitor this just to be safe.  I want you to try and cough up some phlegm for me so we can send it to the lab.  This is gonna tell us which pill you should take and confirm that you have TB.  Do you cough at all?" doctor Stevens asked.  "No sir, I haven't really coughed this whole time and, when I do, nothing comes up," I told him.  "We might have to perform a procedure called a bronchoscope where the doctor will go into your lungs with a tube and take a tissue sample for testing.  But, let's see if you can cough something up first," he said.  "Okay I will try my best," I said.  "Good.  I will come by tomorrow and check up on you Ricky.  Eat everything that comes your way and try to get as much sleep as you can," he said.  He left the room and I could see him talking to my nurse through the window.  A lot of different things were racing through my mind.  Above all else, I had to get better and get out of this bed.  Nurse Paula walked in all bright-eyed and smiling.  "Hey hun, I think they are gonna move you out of here today," she said.  "Oh yeah? Where am I going?" I asked.  "They are moving you upstairs to a regular room.  You still will be isolated but you won't be under as much scrutiny'" she added.  Alright I just got used to the nurses in the ICU and now I will have a totally different team helping me.  It's a good thing that I am progressing but...  At that moment, there was a knock at the door.  "Ricky you have a visitor," nurse Lisa said.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Chapter 5

To rest or not to rest...
People always assume that since you are laying in a hospital bed for the greater part of the day, that you must be well rested.  Well, I am here to tell you that ain't true.  There have been so many sleepless nights and so many different reasons why.
     Let's start with the climate control of the room.  There was none!  Here it is at the end of fall, and I can't turn on the heat.  Yes, there was a thermostat but, for some odd reason, it didn't control the temperature.  Even weirder, it would automatically go from cold to hot and hot to cold at a whim.  In the middle of the day, cold air would blow out of the vent.  It was cold enough for me to stay wrapped up in my blanket.  When my food was brought in, I didn't even want to take my arms out of the covers.  Then, a few hours later, it would change to a normal room temperature.  So I would shed a couple of blankets and enjoy it.  This is the time of day that felt good.  Gradually the temperature would go back to cold.  "Hello nurse will you please turn the thermometer up so the heat will come on?" I asked.  "Sure thing Ricky," she said.  "It was already on 85.  Hmm, that's strange.  Well, it should come on soon.  Do you need another blanket?" she asked.  "No, I will wait to see what happens," I said reluctantly.  If I got any more blankets, then I wouldn't be able to move my legs because of the weight.  During the rare occasions when I did sleep for a couple of hours at night, I would wake up sweating my butt off because it was so warm.  By the time I finally cooled off, it would go back to cold again.  This was a continuous cycle throughout the day.
     Another reason for my chronic lack of sleep was the fact that the lab technicians would come by at all hours of the day and night.  My circulatory system was a mess.  My blood composition was all screwed up.  Some levels were low and some levels were high.  My doctor ordered daily tests of my blood so a lab tech would come up and draw blood during the day.  Then, in the early morning hours, a lab tech would come in and draw more blood.  Sometimes they would catch me running on fumes and about to pass out.  Sometimes they would wake me up.  Oh what fun!
     Although I didn't have to worry about urinating because I had a catheter, I still had to use the pot for other things.  There's no worse feeling than not being comfortable sleeping through the night because you don't know if you'll make it to the bathroom.