The writing challenge this week was to write a post from a list and turn the list into a story or an article. I opted with the 14th option as I was pretty fresh out of surgery when I read the prompt which was to describe what you feel, smell, hear right now, it fit. Hope you like it as it pretty much describes May 25th to me.
Blip, blip, beep-beep, blip, blip beep-beep…
What is that fresh, familiar smell?
Blip, blip, beep-beep. Then other sounds of a machine pushing liquid through to my veins is beside me, often my partner through my worst times. Ever replenishing my liquids, refreshing my antibiotics, giving me pain relief. Just a little “Tick”, followed by “swish” as the liquids, the pump and the tangled tubes twist their way into my tired, weary and defeated body.
Eyes are heavy, so heavy I cannot open them. I am frightened… and cold; so very cold. My head feels fuzzy.. My thoughts are disjointed and I can’t seem to string together the words to form a complete thought In my head before I am drifting off again.
How delicious it is to just drift. Where arranging thoughts is such a struggle, drifting is so blissfully sweet. I start to sleep again but suddenly I feel as if I’ve been hit with a baseball bat in my back! What now??? As if sharp, long talons have ripped my insides raw, leaving me bruised and abused with this overwhelming pain on my side. I’m so, so tired, I am so angry that this ridiculous pain is overshadowing all of that sweet nothingness that I was just starting to enjoy.
“Daaaaang!!!!!!“ This really flipping hurts! Oh my, Oh no. I smell it. I know what’s wrong. My eyes are still fighting to stay closed although I want to open them and I finally get the whole picture. Recovery room. Oxygen mask, Monitors, IV pump. Pain, pain, pain. I don’t welcome this feeling for I know what I’m in for over the next couple of days.
Damn this pain, I really don’t want to know what time it is. I don’t want to know that I will have a couple of days before I have amy relief from this pain or any hope of even beginning to feel good. I have to ask someone for help, but my eyes aren’t open. “Miss Easter, Miss Easter, are you awake?” I say “yes”, but the only part of the word that actually makes it to my lips and through to making a sound is “ugh”.
“Breathe deeply, Miss Easter. Would you like something for the pain?” At this, my eyes come out from their comatose state and fling wide open In a pleading yes.
“Ok Miss Easter, I’m going to get you something for your pain”. She whisps away with the swish-swish of her scrubs in that way that only nurses can. She tells me she is going to “push through” the morphine which means that she will inject it directly into the valve that is closest to the vein rather than hanging it from an IV drip which take much longer to take effect (seconds mean everything when you are in pain, even if the difference would only have been five minutes.
I feel the warmth of the morphine hit my trembling, pain-wracked body as it flows up my arm, hits the back of my skull and then, like a warm, liquid oil, it blankets my body in comfort and love and I flop in released pain and exhaustion again. Ahhh yes.. The sweet drifting is back again. I bask in the wonderful feeling.
I’ve lost my desire to speak anymore as I am quite happy to go to sleep but the nurse is speaking to me. Why now? Does she think that I will remember this later? “Do you hear me Miss Easter”? I find the strength somewhere down in my belly to mutter “pardon me?”
The doctor found a stone that was .9 mm which is what cased the obstruction of your urine flow. You are very lucky because your kidney was already swollen with infection and if it got worse, it could have been very bad news. “Can I have something to throw up in please?” This is not the first time I had heard this, but it is still so very scary to know the consequences that could have happened if Tony had not dragged me off to the hospital when he diid. My rule of thumb is “if I am crying and have a fever”. His is “if your system seems wrong in any way for more than a day, we go”. I call him the Kidney Stone Nazi.
A scene flashes before me of all of the things that would have been left behind. My four children, they are a bit older, but they have not had an easy life with a fair beginning, so I just want to get them on the right path. Who would care? The house. In need of over $100,000 or more in renovations. Thank God I did my will formally last year. I see a quick flash of my two girls and two boys smiling faces and feel warmth dribble down my cheek. “Are you ok Miss Easter? Do you need more pain medication?” I shake my head no. I think of Tony and his two girls who I have come to love as much as my own. The thought of never lying down beside him at bedtime while he drifts off with his arm draped over me is unbearable.
I start to thank God that I’ve made it through this type of an infection a second time where the results can be’ grave”.
“I need to go pee, please”.
“Ok,Miss Easter, but we cannot let you out of the bed yet, you are too dizzy. You will have to use a bedpan”. A bedpan????? You have to be kidding me! Won’t my pee go all over me? How do you do it lying down, I haven’t peed laying down since I was 18-months-old!!!! I tell her that I will try to hold it.
“No, no, Miss Easter, you must not hold it. I’ll be back”. Swish, swish and another few swish, swishes and she is back. Another nurse is with her this time and they are trying to get this awkward, completely useless pan under me. I am shaking from weakness, pain and the anesthetic that is in my system, “It won’t come out”.
“Just take your time, Miss Easter. It is often difficult to go right after surgery.” “Let us help you sit up.” I must have paled at the thought because they both started rushing in reassurances of how they would be there for me, etc. Truly it is a struggle to get my body into a sitting position but on top of that, I have to climb on top of that metal monstrosity that obviously some man had invented without realizing how difficult it would be for a woman to “go” like that.
I take all of that back. Bless the woman who invented this little miracle-contraption, it worked. Relief overwhelmed me as I was able to do what I needed. The nurses were wonderful. “More pain medication, Miss Easter?” I shake my head because I am shivering again. I am running a fever again. Or maybe it just didn’t stop. They are concerned that my blood pressure is so very low, so they add another bag to the web of stringed drip-bags above my head, although how a bag of water can boost your blood pressure is lost on me.
Nurses chitter-chatter amongst themselves while patients are moaning with the immediate pain that immerses you the moment you are out of sugary. Happy nurse voices encouraging the patents to wake up and assure them that they are fine..
I squint my eyes open a crack as the bright lights are making my head hurt and I see that I am in bed number 14. Everyone is visible to everyone else all around the room. Although, being quite modest, this is not my favourite way to do things, but I can see how important it would be if I were having an emergency and the nurse was with a patient at the other end of the room.
Doctors wisp through, quickly snipping out instructions to the nurses. I feel a little more coherent. I’m thirsty and ask for juice which they happily give me, telling me to sip slowly. I am shaking too much to hold the cup myself, so the nurse holds it up for me. As I rest my head, I start shaking more. My head starts to hurt. I know what this means.
I tell the nurse I am getting a fever. She says “Don’t worry Miss Easter, we just checked your temperature. I will get you another warm blanket”. I continue to shiver, growing colder and colder,which grows to shaking as my body is going through Rigors with convulsion-like shaking. My fingertips start to hurt from how cold they are and my breathing becomes laboured and difficult. I cannot move to cover my head as I am so cold because of this severe shaking. My breathing is now so bad that I am feeling as if my chest is being crushed. As if two strong hands were pressing against my chest to crush my heart and squeeze the air out of me. I am actually afraid. I have never felt my heart crushing like this and struggled so much to breathe. The bed is rattling from how badly the trembling has gotten. My fever spikes soon afterwards. The nurse rushes with the thermometer and there I was at 39.9 and rising. Only twenty minutes after not having a fever at all.
They treat me with Tylenol, morphine (to stop the shaking) and warm blankets. I feel the morphine inch through my veins slowly relaxing the uncontrolled muscles and the warm blankets help me relax enough to start breathing again. The nurses speak about this and though my teeth are still chattering a bit, I explain to them what just happened. I have always spiked fevers like that since I was a child. It isn’t as common in adults, but will happen with bacterial infections.
I sit in the recovery room for another hour as the two lovely nurses attend to me with care and nurturing. I drift in and out of reality as my fever is dropping, I break into a sweat and barely sense people come and go. Finally they feel I am stable enough to head to my room and the porter is called. A happy guy if ever there was one brings me to my room #277, a room I’ve stayed in a few times before. It is an isolation room because of an enzyme I got at the hospital during one of my stays.
My nurse comes to get me settled in, I smile when I see her as she is one of my favourites. Andrea has the biggest smile and is always laughing. I have never seen her angry, impatient or rude. She says “don’t worry honey, I’ll take care of you.”
And so the worst is over (I hope) and the recovery begins.