I’ve got a neighbor on my floor who sounds like he’s in bad shape. Every day, at least twice a day, he’ll suddenly start moaning and calling out Help, and if someone isn’t there in under a minute, things start beeping, which means he’s pulled some wires out and is thrashing around on his bed. I called the nurse for him yesterday when I heard him ramping up and they got him calmed down before the alarms started. I think he may be doped to the gills and delirious, but I hope he comes out of it soon.
Last night was a little milestone that took a lot out of me (literally): the catheter is gone. They decided to schedule the removal for midnight, for some unknown reason. My overnight nurse Chesa has been my favorite by far, so I was relieved that it would happen on her watch. We made a plan so that I’d get a shot of dilaudid at 11 and then we’d take care of business at 12. At 11:30 though, my moaning neighbor started up again, shit started beeping, and they scrambled all the available nurses to deal with him. At 12:45 two nurses I’ve never met came in and I immediately understood what was happening: the older nurse was training the younger, who had never done this before. OH HELL NO. I let them prepare all their stuff and get ready, and after the fourth time the young nurse banged my junk around, I looked at the older nurse and said through gritted teeth, “Excuse me, but I’d prefer if you handled this from here on out.”
And, frankly, once she took over, it was pretty smooth sailing.
This leaves a couple of other tubes I still have to deal with: there’s a vacuum attached over the incision on my stomach, which is helping gather all of the remaining fluid in my stomach cavity and sending it to another tube nearby which is attached to a squeeze bottle. This is where that fluid collects every day. They were talking about taking the vacuum off today, which sounded like a Big Deal. Turns out, it was not. A nice man named Peter came and within five minutes had the plastic wrap and the carpeting peeled off completely. The incision looks lumpy and misshapen, but there are no visible stitches–those are all inside. Peter put some glue on the outside, bandaged it up, and cheerfully told me we were done.
The pain team came in and talked about removing the epidural soon, once I’m able to take more fluid by mouth. I have no idea what to expect there, but what I’ve been able to feel is a piece of plastic stuck to the small of my back. And I’m up and walking to try and jumpstart my GI tract so that I can begin taking colored liquids and move to solid food. Nothing has happened yet, and I’m getting impatient.
Overnights here are the worst because there is no actual rest; someone is in the room every two hours to take vitals, clean up, or check blood sugar. And I can only sleep on my back because of the incision. I just want to get home and get into my own bed. I miss my people and my house and my food.