Just Like Being on a [very expensive!] Vacation!
OK, I’m just going to say it: I’m weird! I’ve been saying this in one way or another for a long time. In many aspects of my life I don’t tend to fall within the bell part of the curve. I don’t say this to brag or to elicit sympathy; I’m just stating a fact.
The latest incarnation of my weirdness? I’m getting ready to spend my fifth night in the hospital and I kind of don’t mind it. In fact, I sort of feel like I’ve been on a vacation!
Don’t get me wrong … this ain’t Club Med! I’m awakened each morning (assuming I’ve been able to fall asleep in the first place — more on that in a minute) around 5:30 for a blood draw (I’m not sure how much blood I’ve got left!) and pretty soon thereafter the day is started with routine checks of vital signs, the doctors starting to make their rounds, breakfast delivery, etc. In my normal world, 5:30 would be close to the middle of the night!
I didn’t actually sleep at all the first night. This was due to a number of factors: I was admitted at 3:00 a.m. but by the time the night nurse went through her list and got me settled it was closer to 4:00; I was hopped up on adrenaline due to the “excitement” of the evening—passing out, calling 911, the ambulance ride, various tests in the ER, finding out I wasn’t going to go home that night and probably not the next, trying to figure out on the fly what I might need and sending Jamie home to retrieve those things for me; my IV monitor playing a duet with my roommate’s monitor all night (seriously, the nurses would no sooner get hers to shut up than mine would start up, and vice versa); while the lights in the room were out, they left the door open and since my bed was the closest to the door I was clearly affected by the lights in the hallway, not to mention all the sounds—some night nurses do NOT know how to whisper … and then there was the patient who apparently didn’t know how to use his call button and kept calling out, “NURSE! This place sucks on ice!” (whatever THAT means!); and shortly after 5:30 the next day began!
So, on Thursday, I sent Heather home to get my iPod ear buds. That night I drifted off to sleep listening to classical music, oblivious to duets from IV monitors and irate (and irrational?) patients. The following day, I remembered that I had a bandana in my purse so I fashioned a sleeping mask of sorts and with my classical music had a rather lovely sleep the last two nights.
Again, I don’t feel like I am at a spa, but this hasn’t been all that bad, either. First of all, having my laptop and wifi has been a life saver. I never get bored and between emails, a little work, surfing the Web and staying caught up with Stewart and Colbert (not to mention all the doctor consultations and tests and routine vital sign checks and meals and sponge baths and getting sheets changed and phone calls and visits) the days go by pretty quickly.
But the biggest “perk” has been not having to do anything myself! I’m getting all my meals planned, prepared, and cleaned up for me (and we’re not talking jello; I’m eating rotisserie chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy and chocolate mousse …). I have a not-uncomfortable bed whose head and foot can be raised and lowered to my liking. I’ve got AC! Daily, I’ve got someone changing my sheets and mopping the floor and emptying the trash. Heck, I’ve even got someone to deal with what I deposit in my bedside potty (and even caring that I make regular deposits there!). No matter what I need, help is always just a call button away. (“May I help you?” “Yes, I just had a bowel movement. Could someone please come take it away?” And they do! Without complaining!!)
As someone who has lived alone for over 20 years and who has had to do EVERYTHING for herself for so long, this is a real treat, believe me!
My only discontent is the shower situation. I can only take sponge baths at this point and that’s just not the same. I’m coming up on a week and it’s my hair, especially, that’s bearing the brunt of this neglect. Today’s nurse happened to overhear me mention that and she said, “Oh, I’ll bring you a shampoo cap!” I had no idea what that was.
Well, it’s a shower cap with some sort of “shampoo” in it. You heat it up, put it on your head, massage your scalp, take it off, towel dry your hair, and comb through it. Voila! Granted, it’s not as good as my own hair products and regimen (see below) but after almost a week of neglect, my scalp was ecstatic!
Like I said, I may literally be in Union Memorial Hospital, but I sort of feel like I’m on vacation. Yes, I know … I’m weird!