Snapshots

• Morphine. When the ER doctor said he was giving me morphine, I felt a small illicit thrill. I thought I’d be living on the wild side. As it turns out, morphine hurts. A deep, hot flush moved across my upper body, and then all my major muscle systems seemed to seize up for a moment. A flash of nausea, a little faintness, and then all the pain receded. It was clear and calm. The ER had scale of pain, one to zero, and when I went in, I pinned it at eight. After the morphine, it was zero. I had morphine every three hours until I was discharged. I do not understand how people can become addicted to that stuff.

• I had a few tense experiences. It began when I was in what they called “short stay” which was pre-op. I had nobody with me to take care of my stuff, such as my purse or my clothes. I didn’t want to leave my purse randomly in some pre-op room which would be occupied as soon as I left. I had some cash and cards and my Blackberry and everything else in there. The guys came down to get me for my operation but I wouldn’t leave my stuff there. So this woman who was with another patient came over and said, “I don’t mean to interfere but I used to work in a medical facility and they are following the correct procedure by telling you to leave your purse here.” I said, “Don’t interfere. Go away.” She said okay, bless you and I hope your surgery goes well. Finally a nurse decided to take responsibility for my purse because the surgeon was getting impatient. I gladly gave it to her and rolled up to surgery. Much later, after surgery, I asked for my purse. The nurse – a different nurse – said she had no idea where my purse was. Finally my purse was brought down – and there was nothing in it. My camera, cash, cards, Blackberry – everything of value was gone. I began to cry – I was in a sensitive, powerless position anyway, and this bitch nurse says, “Well you signed a piece of paper saying that you don’t hold us responsible…” I said, “I didn’t say you could steal my shit! Find my stuff! Right now!” After some time, they found that the first nurse had put away my valuables. The bitch nurse said, “You knew they were going to take care of your stuff. Why do you have to act like that?” I wanted to smack her in the face. Later I had my revenge, but for right then, I was just ticked. Later, I got up to use the bathroom. I was wearing two gowns to protect my modesty (one put on front and one on back) and after using the bathroom I realized that one of the gowns had dipped into the toilet. I stepped into the hallway where the bitch nurse was and said, “My gown got wet.” “Just shake it out,” she said. “Can I get a fresh one, please?” She rolled her eyes and walked away. Another woman – a PCA (I think it stands for Patient Care Assistant) – walked in and I asked her for a new gown and she got me one, but didn’t like the fact that I wanted to put it on like a jacket, thereby protecting my naked butt. She said, “You’re putting it on wrong.” “No, I’m putting it on correctly to protect myself.” That morning, some quality control nurse came in and asked how I felt about my care. I told her the truth: there was one bitch nurse and one PCA who was just an incompetent boob. She said she’d meet with them and have a chat. I was pleased.

• The bitch nurse also pissed me off because she lied and said she gave me morphine when she did not. I had asked for some more from a second nurse, and she went to consult with the bitch nurse, who told her I had some. I said, “Consult my chart please, you’ll see I’ve not had anything for three hours.” I was correct. The bitch nurse came in to give me some morphine. She wanted me to have vicodin, and I told her that while the vicodin did a lovely job of putting me to sleep, the pain was still too intense for vicodin to handle. I said, “It makes me drowsy….” She snapped, “So does the morphine!” I said, “And if you’d let me continue, it doesn’t quite blot out the agony of losing an appendix.” In the morning she gave me some morphine without being asked.

• I don’t have health insurance. I am paying for this in cash. I’m not tickled pink to be paying for it – but I’m paying for it because I’m a responsible person and I understand you are not responsible for my appendix.

• I have no help at all. Nobody is here to prepare food or wash my clothes or help me dress. Though at times I dearly wish somebody were here to help me, I am in general very pleased with myself for handling this on my own. I am managing the pain, my clothes, my food – my whole life. Even when I am weak and sick. It’s at least one thing I can be proud of.

• Right before I was discharged, the surgeon came in. She’s a blonde woman in her late 40′s. I asked her if she liked her work. She said, “No.” Then she paused and looked up from my chart. “I used to, but….” When I asked why she no longer enjoyed surgery, she said, “A lot of reasons,” and walked out.

• J told me that when she called to tell him I was okay, she was brusque and kept trying to get off the phone without answering his questions. I found her to be a strange, fascinating person.

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Comments

  1. I wish I could give you hand; I know just how you feel. When I had my emergency appendectomy, I was in Alabama, at a school where I knew no one. I was totally on my own too. The good news is that I only missed 1 day (my attack was over veterans day) of school, and was even back doing (light) PT after four days.

    Keep us posted!

  2. Do you think you can grand-father the bill till the free universal health care comes along? Just thinking…

  3. You are lucky they even treated you at all without insurance. The “medical” center here.. just sends you on your merry way if you don’t have insurance. They would rather you die. I am not exaggerating.

    I had a lady who helped me paint my house yesterday tell me that they refused to cast her broken heel because she didn’t have insurance. They told her to keep it wrapped in an ace bandage. I think these “corporations” are trying to twist our elbows back until even the most sensible of us will cry out for universal health care. It’s all a big huge wave of socialism that has been in the making since the Clinton Administration with “hillary care” and it’s now just going forward. Companies are not going to treat us “uninsured” so that we either die, or beg for socialism..

    ps.. I hope your recovery goes well.

  4. I hate that bitch.

  5. I’m sorry you have to spend your money on an unpleasant stay in the hospital and lost your appendix to boot. Some nurses are lame. I hate being in the hospital. I can never sleep, no matter how much morphine I’m on. Bleh. I have a collection of those socks too. I hope you feel better soon.

  6. Well I lucked out because I don’t have insurance, but I have financial aid at MD Anderson, so they will not be charging me for my treatment.

    Yeah, my leukemia is totally back and I probably will need another stem cell transplant. Perhaps by then I will have my insurance or my medicare and won’t have to have bake sales to pay for the transplant (which I’m not sure MDA would cover at .5 million bucks)

    So far I’m on day 2 of chemo and have had 5 blood and platelet transfusions. I’m on vicodin, but save the morphine for the really hard chemo – but it just makes me sleep, hork, and then sleep again.

    Screw that bitch nurse. I hate people that don’t love their jobs. The nurses here are super sweet!

    Hang in there. Rest and don’t overdue it. It took mom about 8 weeks to start feeling better. I’m glad you are live though – you got cuter socks than I did!

  7. caraellison says:

    Oh sweetheart, take care of yourself. We Vicodin sisters gotta stick together! : )

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