Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lost and Found at 2 am

You do some of your most profound thinking in the wee hours of the morning, I’m convinced.  I think that’s true because, at least in my case, I have more time to stew about it and really ponder on it. I don’t really consider it quality time, but I’ll take the brain CPU-power in the dark if that’s when I have it. I’ve been in and out of consciousness the past couple of days more because I just didn’t have the energy to stay awake than anything else and let me tell you that’s got to be the strangest feeling for someone like me who always has half a dozen irons in the fire. Fact of the matter is that when it comes to this kind of situation, nothing (and I mean nothing) matters outside of the absolute immediate.

So, what kinds of things occupy my mental CPU at 2:00 am? Well, there’s the IV alarm because I rolled over on my fluids tube and I made a kink in it. “Downstream Occlusion” is at least something I could do something about because I can adjust the tube myself or roll over, but if it’s upstream or if there’s something else, I’m out of luck and then that persistent beeping becomes louder and then I have to push the nurse call…if I can find it.  Maybe they’ll just hear it. Maybe it’ll just go away.  No, I have to do something. I have to find the nurse call. Wait, which cord is that? It all looks the same right now. Am I really that out of it? No drugs, mind you, just out of it. So, the beeping persists until I can muster the veritable willpower to find the nurse call.

Then there’s the baser stuff like getting up to use the bathroom. At some point, reason sets in and I muster the strength to use the commode chair just a pace from my bed…and then call the nurse to move the nastiness away afterward. Why in the world would this be such a difficult thought process, you might think. I can’t tell you, honestly, except to say that being in such a weakened state, you just don’t think in auto-pilot like you’re accustomed. You communicate using big-boy words and tell the doctor how it hurts and they look at you over compassioned-rimmed glasses and years of experience, but inside your head, you’re thinking, “I think I need to go to the bathroom so you don’t put me in a diaper.”

It can be a humiliating, dignity-robbing experience to fill a commode chair with your own waste, of course, but it can also reaffirm your faith in the medical profession that it’s not just about numbers, chemicals, and needles, but about some of the softer things that speed healing like smiles and caring. To make it work, there has to be as much of both, mixed with a modicum of tough love to keep you fighting when you just want to roll over and sleep.

I felt I had made a triumph to feel strong enough to take the extra four paces to the bathroom last night, not to mention not having to require someone to inspect my bowel movement. Having a shower downright poured energy I didn’t have into me.  On the lost side, I weighed in at 179.1 pounds, a weight I haven’t seen since it was the 80s and I was ‘too sexy for my shirt, to sexy for my shirt, too sexy.’ Now, I’m probably getting too skinny, but that’s another story.  I’d really enjoy eating more because I have to say the food here has really been good, but I just don’t feel like it.  I’ve tried to eat as much as I can, but it just doesn’t taste right. The fruit is as much as I care to eat and everything else is a crap shoot.  The kicker is that the minty-fresh taste that the toothpaste and mouthwash people developed tastes rather foul as well.  I really wanted to have that much to fall back on, but alas, I have this lingering sorta sweet taste from them that isn’t quite minty and not quite fresh! Add to some abdominal cramps, it’s just not a good recipe for a bit appetite.  The docs don’t think there’s anything bad going on, but they do want to do a CT scan on my gut to make sure nothing has settled in.

On the found side, I guess I’m finding it far too easy to sniffle over stoopid stuff on shows I watch on Netflix.  I was watching a medical drama (I know…am I crazy?) before all this went down, called, “A Gifted Man,” and inevitably, everything works out emotionally except for the guy who doesn’t and everyone is sad including me and my eyes just open up over this fictitious drama about a condition that someone looked up in a medical book because it made a good script. Good grief, I’m a basket case!

So, I’m attaching an unretouched picture (and it won't let me rotate it) from today to prove that I am, in fact, in lousy shape and that my scruffy look is not something to be sought after…and I had to leave my attitude t-shirt on as well.  I figure if you gotta be in a veterans hospital where “cussin’ like a sailor” is pretty normal, this is pretty tame.  And no, I’m not much of a potty mouth although I have let one fly from time to time. I am, after all, all too human.

So, it has definitely been a day of lost and found and I’m sure I’ll find some other things I just didn’t expect and lose some other things that long-needed shedding.

Thanks to the many of you around the world (literally—didn’t know I had a veritable fan club in the Philippines) who are rooting for me. It does mean, the literal world to me.

Stay strong, be well. Much love to you all J