Wednesday, December 8, 2021

How to slip out, but only from bed

I've spent my career ruining my back. That's simply one more item to note, seventy nine odd years later. In addition to broken and crushed bits, or perhaps because, my body tossed in fibromyalgia. I wonder how we dealt with it a century ago?

I was referred to an arthritis doctor at least thirty years ago, and kept fairly comfortable with minor arthritic pains. But the day my back went into spasms, like wash boards across each other, the only doctor who listened was my arthritis doctor. Fibromyalgia, he declared. He prescribed a mild dose of Lyrica.

A drug addict I'm not. But I am dependt on several meds for my well being, for relief of back pain. I've used Lyrica the longest, more than twenty years. I'm on my third or fourth doctor; they move or retire. I've weathered several protocall  changes by the federal government, essentially defining which kind of doctor can prescribe different tiers of drugs.

My drug history follows me around fairly well. However, the breakdowns are awful, most especially to me. Three nights ago I looked into the pill cup and saw the ubiquitous statin, some vitamins, and no Lyrica. I inquired, and was told it had been ordered only for thirty days, then they would take me "off" and see how I did. None of this had been discussed with me, the verbal patient who understands, or the prescribing doctor.

Nothing I could do at ten at night, so I closed my eyes and hoped for sleep. I've done withdrawal in the past of narcotic pain meds. It bascially involves one sleepless night and life's the same thereafter. Of course, I hadn't taken the narcotic for twenty years. 

I fell asleep straightaway. When I woke it was not morning and I was not raring to go. It as an hour to midnight, my back was in full spasm and I lay in a pool of cold sweat. That was my night, doze, wake, feel my back in motion, sweat, wet pillow, wet sheets.

The last time I woke was 6:30 ish. I sat up and slid to the edge of the bed, unaware the bed pad and sheet came too. I came to the edge of the bed, then over, like over a vanishing edge. I held the bed rail all the way, and and sat down with (I hope) a gentle thump. Nothing hurt more or less than before and my  back kept on grinding.

No harm, no foul, but what to do now? My roommate, a light sleeper was awake, but neither could reach the call button. Carole commenced pounding the wall and yelling. I scooted across the floor and found my New Balance. Let me tell you the kind of noise that comes from the heel of a NB, slammed to the floor. And it still took three or four minutes before five people came through the door, simultaneously!

I waited for them to check me over and put me back to bed.
Then it was my turn to tell them their job. The arogance of checking nothing, telling the patient nothing. I was assured it woulel be resolved before the day's bedtime. "I have a bridge in Brooklyn" I said, to almost every "promise".

Knowing the resolution was days away, I called Laura to sneak in my private bottle of Lyrica. She did a wonderful job, in her best underhand, duplicitously producing them among a pocketfull of absolute trash.  And I was right. No fix Monday, also no fix Tuesday. I'm promised tonight. We'll see.

In the other meantime, Carol's son sent us flowers. No one can believe I've been here mostly on my back in bed for ten weeks. So, it can be done!

And Laura and Kamaria visited, with a gnome. Handsome fella.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Some prooogress to report

Last week physical therapy read  me the riot act. I have progressed dramatically in physical skills rquired to care for myself in my incapacitated state. There is little left to teach me, that I need to know when I get a new weight bearing status in that leg in three weeks?

Except Joanne, the instigator, already had a new appointment for Tuesday, to get a new number from the young ortho fellow. I was on the way to the nurses' station to be sure I'd picked the correct date for the appointment, and I intecepted the physio person and the scheduler.

The scheduler was on the phone with the doctor's office, cancelling my appointmrnt tomorrow. "It is far too soon to be exposing that leg to another x-ray." Where were they when I was fighting off that chest x-raying fool of a doctor at the hospital?

Long story short, the physical therapy lady and I went back to my room and made a new plan.I can transfer from place to place using the Hoyer lift and the slide board. I also figured out how to get from seat to seat without an intermediary device. But, I have not been trained, or the aides certified. With shorter sessions, we can cover three weeks.

In the meantime, it snowed last night. Also in the meantime I cannot see how to get to the "dashboard" and read your blogs. I'll see what I can do about that tonight!

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Wanna see the damage?

Another weekend, boredrome and doldrums. No excitement except self induced! I seem to have a bye week of therapy, though my roommate has been severely tasked!

So, here is the lucky break! My 23 year old hip replacement seems not even to have shifted! But the femur with the big pin took quite the hit!

That's the inside. Here is the outside, when I was brought to Regina after surgery. The 80 staples were a bit of an exaggeration. More like 60'ish.

Plus a helluva bruise. The head wound care nuse and his cohorts have taken dandy fun in caring for it. They said "No drainage, no dressing!" But they were in there daily, changing the dressing. Tim, the wound specialist, was extremly careful to expose the minimum skin to adhesive; I'm allergic!

There was a small (?) intercinine squabble when he gave the patient care supevisor permission for two nursing students to partially remove his bandage and learn what she could teach them from the wound. 

Ignoring my pleas to go easy, off came the tape, woosh! PCS asked what to do next. "Clean and dress!" the excited reply. I asked if they had an order to do so. PCS swooped down and dished non stop instructions, including a very painful antiseptic. I asked several times if this were in the order; no response.

When the wound care fellow appeared next day, his reaction was not happy. A bit of skin was removed with the bandage. He said he was sorry I'd allowd this to happen. He got my version, plus the krap they foisted onto my feet to prevent pressure sores, to which I had an adverse reaction and two aids spent an hour scrubbing away, not successfully.

He excused himself mid redressing. He came back half an hour later and told me the PCS nor her students were permitted in my room again! So far, so good.

So here we are in steri-strips, to fall off as they may. No drainage, no dressing!

Laura came to visit today. She brought me a new book, "The Boys", to swap for "State of Terror" by Hilary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny. Though no fan of mysteries by any except Agatha  Christie, I must give the book a "Not Bad." I really have little for comparison!

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Slight progres report

Yesterday I made an uncomfortable ride to the doctor's office for staple removal. More than fifty. I quit counting. The left leg remains non weight bearing for the next four weeks, when I'll be reevaluated. The femur is one long bone to repair!

Between then and now, my job is to become strong and easy on my non-dominate right leg! I wish I were Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In the meantime, let's be food critics!

This was called beef stroganoff with summer squash. The noodles were dry and sticky, the squash boiled to mush with the hide of a rhino. The dessertwas good for two bites before the sugar overwhelmed.

This is called mac and cheese with stewed tomatoes. Good old Kraft mac and cheese that has been foisted on the world's children. The "salad" is iceburg lettuce, shredded one sixteenth inch wide. It's like chewing green hacksaw blades. I've given it two chances, and the cherry tomatoes three. One more for laughs?

"Welsh rarebit" with steamed brocolli and decent bacon. Let's hear it for that mainstay of American cuisine, 
American cheese.

For all that gripeing, I am making progress. I'll tell you next time. 

Saturday, November 13, 2021

This facility will go from a five review to a one

There has been a sea change in this country over the last two years. You see it in all the "Taking applications" signs lining the perimiters of every business, manufacturing plant, service industry, restaurant around you.

My friend Ann has run a kennel in Wisconsin for twenty years. At this year's end it goes on the market, and probably will sell only for land value. She cannot hire anyone who wants to work.

That is exactly the problem here at Regina. The "staff" see no reason to do a decent job. If reprimanded for a bad job, they leave. Another job literally is around the corner, down the street. Good wages, premiums are offered and taken.

From this bed I can see how understaffed it is here. I think. Perhaps enough people are not doing an honest day's work. I do not know how the "help"affects mobile patients. I know this immobile patient has learned some hard, hard facts.

I can lie as much as four hours in urine. I can go hours without a pain pill, especially if physical therapy is not on my schedule. I can amuse myself for hours finding another was of getting an aid into the room for help.

A friend called last night, in the midst of a four hour pee episode. She called the nurse's station and texted me "Susie is on her way down. Let me know." Forty five minutes later, Susie arrived. We all know I am not beyond climbing the ladder of authority for answers and help.   

I feel like Janis Joplin, dialing for dollars. "O lord won't you find me a helpful aid!"