Monthly Archives: February 2011

Typhoid Debra

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So this afternoon we finally saw the doctor, who was curiously impassive to my digestive complaints.  My fever had broken down to the layman’s “low-grade” — elevated but not dramatically — and aside from a hacking cough and stuffy head and some serious fatigue, there was nothing discernibly wrong with me.

Despite our pathetic ramblings about my sad state of affairs, she remained unimpressed, until The Lovely Rhonda mentioned that I had indeed been tested for flu.  She wandered off halfheartedly to check as I got dressed, having been cleared for takeoff, and returned saying it was lucky I didn’t have any of those chronic health problems such as diabetes, asthma, etc. — since I did in fact have influenza.  I was still going home, just a lot faster and with a mask on.

The Lovely Rhonda, sainted as she is, has driven her progeny off to grandma’s for the duration, and my own spawn will remain at my ex’s instead of coming over here.  I am officially unfit for company.

There is a lot of controversy over flu shots, but I wish I had gotten mine.  Twenty bucks and two minutes of my time, perhaps a day of feeling a bit crappy, would be way better than this.

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You’ll never sleep alone

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It’s very thoughtful of the hospital to provide patients with all the comforts of home.  Now that they’ve gone to single rooms only and you no longer have to share your cranky, disease-ridden space with another luckless idiot, electronica and staff must fill the roles of your loved ones.

1. The cats

We have cats.  Three cats.  Three cats who each have individual methods of guaranteeing fewer than three hours of unbroken sleep in a row on any given night.

2. The children

We have three children also.  If they are not waking us up in the night for no reason, peeing in their beds, or coming down with ear infections, then they are waking up at the crack of dawn and unreasonably demanding entertainment and things to eat.

3. The dog

Just one dog, but as he advances in age, so does his somewhat iffy digestive system.

Here at General Hospital, we have:

1. The IV pump.  Clickety clack. Gruuuuuumble. Clickety clack. Gruuuuuuumble. (Repeat rhythmically all day and all night)

2. The bed.  When it’s not taxiing down the runway and revving up for takeoff, industrious metallic badgers are cleaving its landing gear off like bark from an elm. Whooooooosh! CHITTER CHITTER CHITTER! Whooooooosh! CHITTER CHITTER CHITTER!  (Repeat all day and all night, but at random intervals)

(Wait — do badgers chew bark off elms?)

3. The nurses, CNAs, and other ancillary staff.  Vital signs every four hours!  Just here to check your IV pump!  Replacing your bag of normal saline!  Blood draw at 6am! I’m sure the startled gasp I greeted each and every one of them with won’t take a few minutes off all of our lives.  What, do you want to live forever?!

With luck I’ll be discharged today.  If not, at least I know my faithful companions will be here for me.

Indignities

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So, remember when I recently said that my blog was exhibiting this alarming trend toward becoming a litany of my various insignificant physical maladies?   I would like to point out, before continuing this particular entry, that I did just post two items that had nothing to do with my personal, um, person.

That being said, I am posting this from the “comfort” of a high-tech electronic air mattress hospital bed that randomly adjusts itself for my comfort, noisily and with fanfare.  It sounds as if we are about to achieve liftoff, but it’s really just the bed groaningly accommodating my butt.

I’m here for “observation” which really means “we’re not sure what the hell is wrong with you, but figure you’ve suffered enough.”  Apparently showing up at the ER twice in three days and not getting better despite hefty antibiotics demonstrates your sincerity in this respect.

Thus far I have suffered oh, the many indignities:  First, The Lovely Rhonda denied me my coffee.  My rightful, God-given coffee.  Which I got none of.  Today.

Moving on to the more hospital-specific indignities:  Peeing in a cup.  Peeing in a “hat.” Peeing dragging an IV pole around with me everywhere I go.  Wait — that’s dragging the pole everywhere, not peeing everywhere.  I’m not quite THAT elderly and infirm.  Also, I lost my underpants.  I mean, I know where they are, but where they are is a bag in the closet and not so much on my personal person any longer.

I had another abdominal CT scan, this time with contrast — delicious! — as well as a chest x-ray.  An adorable little long-stemmed fuzzy Q-tip was jammed so far into my right nostril that I swear there should have been brain matter on it; this was to determine whether I might just have the flu or something pedestrian like that.  And then, just in case you thought I was getting through all this with a tiny shred of my dignity still in place, they went for the silver: the pelvic ultrasound.  (They threatened me with the gold standard of indignity, the colonoscopy, but alas, it was not to be, at least not right now.)  I was wheeled into the dark little ultrasound room on my gurney like a slab of beef, and asked the tech: so are we going outside, or inside with this?  And she said, Both.  And another little part of me shrieked and died a horrible death.

Fifteen minutes later it was over.

She lit my cigarette for me and promised to call, but they never do.

They never do.

Dorkish brilliance

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So tonight The Lovely Rhonda and I attended an informational dinner put on by the pharmacy I use at work and a drug company.  It wasn’t a “look at our new wonder miracle drug” thing where they push promotional items at you and wink madly hoping you’ll use their drugs.  First off we were mostly nurses and pharmacy workers, so we don’t prescribe, and doctors don’t listen to us, unless they are exceptionally forward thinking and then only about our insights into our clients, not our opinions about medications.  I mean seriously.  I may be extremely intelligent but I didn’t go to medical school.

It was this rumpled little man who studied at Yale and was at Rutgers and has published a million articles and written books and friends, he was a walking encyclopedia of actually interesting and useful information.  And he was expressive, and totally without pretense (despite the nearly constant dropping of Yale and Rutgers and being all published, which I didn’t really take as pretense but merely fact) and on the whole a total dork, but a brilliant one.

And did I mention the ribeye steaks and the delicious dessert and the wine?

All in all, a fantastic evening, and free other than what we paid the sitter.

Mystery solved?

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This blog has become, alarmingly, more and more focused on minor physical ailments.  I solemnly swear to blog more about other things, RIGHT AFTER THIS POST.

So a few months ago I started getting this weird, red, irritated rash on my neck.  Only my neck.  It itched a little.

I put some ointment on it, it went away.

I stopped putting ointment on it, it came back.

I changed hair care products.  No change.  I stopped wearing a necklace that I usually wear most days, thinking the silver had worn off the chain and the nickel was bothering me.  No change.  I sacrificed a young goat.  No change.

Okay, just kidding about the goat.

Then in the past week or so I started getting a red bumpy rash on my arms, mainly near my elbows.  It didn’t itch but it was annoying.

I had to go to urgent care about the elbow infection thing (see previous post) and asked the doc there, but of course the rash was not really in evidence that particular day (the ointment was working) so results were inconclusive.  Try an antihistamine to see if it changes anything, then at least you’ll know it’s probably an allergy.

Well, so I’d been looking at topical allergies, but now — was it something I was ingesting?

Finally I had a look at my nightly vitamin regime.  Nothing in it but vitamins…  But one of them I only started taking a few months ago.

I stopped taking all of them for a few nights.  The rash is gone.

I’ll give it a week or two, during which I’m sure malnutrition will set in, my teeth will loosen and my bones will get soft and bendy, and then I’ll start introducing vitamins back one at a time and see which one is bothering me.  I suspect it’s the vitamin D…

You’d think I’d know better.

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So I have this habit of picking at things: scabs, hangnails, chapped lips, you name it.

And in the winter I get rough, dry skin on my elbows, just perfect for picking at.

And I picked at my left elbow (because I’m right handed) and made it bleed a little.

Okay, no big, it happens.

And a few days later I’m noticing that my stupid elbow is hurting.

And it’s swollen and red and warm.

And I end up in urgent care and yes, it’s infected and here’s your antibiotics.

And don’t pick at things!

Stupid elbow.

The end.