Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Long Weekend Repost: Post Game Report

Ok, this one was written last August after being released from the hospital where I was 'staying' to be monitored while starting the first several doses of my scary new 'better pay attention to the label' heart medication. As it is a pretty long post, I'm putting it up over the weekend, so feel free to read it in sections, or skip it entirely. Better yet, why don't I just tell you how it ends. I wake up and discover it was all a dream....

My little three day visit turned into five days for a few medical reasons and with only 7 channels on the 1970s TV fixed to the ceiling with a black pipe used for plumbing or blunt bludgeoning, I was a little strung out.

I was going in to be monitored as I started a very potent, almost experimental heart drug. I should have guessed what was in store for me when my first nurse had no clue why I was there and actually assumed I was in the hospital to have my implanted heart shocking/rhythm maintaining device checked. Uh, here’s the thing Nurse Dixie, I don’t have one. When I told her it was for the meds, she disagreed with me and then confessed to having never heard of Dofetilide, the med I was about to be given. It’s a good thing she had that nice grandmotherly thing working because she would be doing something to me or writing something down and then say things like ‘oh wait, that’s not right’ or ‘it’s a good thing I caught myself, you shouldn’t have this.’ Instead of worrying, I just laughed, knowing I would probably die in her care. Fortunately, not long after I arrived, there was a shift change.

My first roommate was something one could only dream up, except I’m telling the truth. He was an older Southern Gentleman, a real dandy. Listening to his voice, I felt like the Confederates were just moments away from stealing my plantation and drinking all my sweet tea…I mean that what the Civil War was like, right? I should probably begin podcasting, because written word will never, ever do justice to my impersonation of him calling his mother’s caretaker. As he was watching an I Love Lucy rerun (as opposed to the new episodes I guess. Did I really need to say it was a rerun), he called his mom’s care taker and this is what I heard (now picture a very, very dignified Southern voice saying this ‘tell mutha, that Vitameatavegimin is on. You can watch your stories lata, Vitameatavegimin is on.’ I was laughing so hard I almost popped my IV out. Moments later his phone rang and in the same dignified voice, I heard ‘I will have to call you back in 90 minutes. Vitiameatavegimin is on and then I need to watch my Judge Hatchett.’ All I could do every time his mouth opened was picture Forrest Gump’s Mama’s house.

Now I believe it is well documented that I can do very little without messing it up. Unfortunately, hospitals stays are apparently no different. Since I was hooked up to a heart monitor that transmitted wirelessly (they can figure that out but not how to get a WiFi connection), I was free to take little walks. Part of what I like about walking in the hospital is that I always bring a pair of shorts and a t-shirt to wear, so I let my gown hang open from the rear. It cracks me up watching people turn around as I pass thinking my arse is hanging out (are you looking at my bum). If they are patients, they usually ask me how I got away with shorts and a t-shirt and I just tell them no one stopped me. It’s a fun game to play and I highly suggest you try it next time you’re hospitalized!

For me, walking was actually encouraged so they could see how my ticker was holding up. I walked as often as I could. My mistake on my first walk was that I went all Energizer Bunny on everybody and just kept going. I saw a window and was drawn to it like a moth to a flame, or for you younger readers, like Lindsey to a half opened bottle of liquor. Of course the window was practically on the other side of the floor I was on. About 25 minutes later I realized I might have strayed a little too far so I headed back. It was about half way back, as I approached the elevators, that I thought I heard the faint sounds of my nurse calling my name. So, like any kid in trouble, I stopped to look for a place to hide and could not find one. As my flight or fight reflex took over, I started running towards my ward. I slowed down right before I got to the nurse’s station. She asked if I had been running. Forgetting that she could see every beat I take (with sincere apologies to The Police for butchering that line, but admit it, you'll be singing 'every breath you take' to yourself for the rest of the day. Especially after I do this: 'every breath you take,' 'every breath you take', 'every breath you take.'), I told her no. She then proceeded to tell me that I had gone too far and that she would tell me not to do it again, but since my heartbeat accelerated so rapidly during my ‘little walk,’ I should not walk again until I was shocked back into rhythm. It was at this point that I admitted I had run because I thought I was in trouble. Everyone that heard this just shook their heads. Yep, the trust was gone…no sucker for me.

I learned a few hospital stays back that if you know a visitor is coming, give them directions to the hospital that will take them past all the local eateries and say something to them like ‘I will tell the nurses not to let you in if you don’t bring me a burger and fries.’ This devious method of getting decent food has not failed me yet. But it did lead me to my second straight run-in with the nursing staff. My new nurse walked in as I was polishing off my Whopper (that’s what she said…sorry, that was SO easy) from lunch and gave me the lecture that I was not allowed to have outside food. I shoved the rest in my mouth and apologized for the misunderstanding. What I neglected to tell her was that my parents were on their way with tacos for dinner. Fearing the return of Nazi Nurse, I have never eaten tacos that fast in my life. Little tip here: don’t quickly gobble down spicy tacos. It is not gastronomically worth it.

Finally, after my shock back into normal rhythm and with plenty of my new medicine in my system, it was time to come home. That was until I tried to fill the prescription they gave me for my new med. The pharmacy told me they didn’t have anymore and had no idea how they were going to get any. I wanted to commend them for their excellent customer service skills, but figured it wasn’t worth it. My nurse stepped in to help and was able to get the pharmacy to give me a 14-day supply. When the pharmacist said that’s all they had, I made a joke about cleaning them out of Dofetilide. She said not to worry and that she was assuming I was the ONE person in the hospital who they had been supplying it to for the last 5 days.

Now there’s a comforting thought…One of the biggest hospitals in LA and I was the ONLY person on this drug? Who the heck am I supposed to call if I get sweats, diarrhea, chronic fatigue, chills, blurred vision, liver failure, I start receiving AM radio signals in my head or get anything that lasts more than 4 hours? OK, I’ll admit, I probably would not call the same person for that last concern as I would for the rest of them, but you get the point…

Have a great weekend (and remember to send your questions for Q & A Monday)!!


Eva said...

...every single daaaaaaaaaaay, every word you say. Every game you play, every night you stay, I'll be watchin' you.

Sorry. You were right.

Employee No. 3699 said...

What the heck does Vitameatavegimin mean?

What is your favorite letter of the alphabet and why?

Who is your favorite cartoon character?

Butter or margarine?

Have a fantabulous weekend!


Just telling it like it is said...

As long as your breathing I am okay....althought they should have had the meds an if not they should make waves to get it ...after all your the costomer

meleah rebeccah said...

Oh my god. I think this is one of the first posts of your that I ever read! Has it been almost a year already? Wow.

This post ws funny then, and its still funny now!

Have a Kick Ass weekend.


Just telling it like it is said...

I'm just glad you still a live after the nurse wa giving you medication that she had never given...she could have a least called the pharmacist...and then told you that!!! Rock on

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I think YOU are the only one that could make a hospital stay sound kind of fun.

Employee No. 3699 said...

P.S. Did you ask that nurse to x-ray your chicken?