Hopefully you are back to read part 2 today. I promise yesterdays post was necessary to set this up, stick with me here. Thank you for reading.
The next time I woke up was in the hospital, I could hear my parents talking to the surgeon who had worked to repair my leg. I remember that it was extremely bright and I had a weird blanket draped over me. Then, they started to fill the blanket with warm air and I began to shiver uncontrollably, I didn’t even realize that I was cold until they turned it on. As I began to shiver my whole body ached, mostly my wrist. Then, I was out again.
The next time I came to I was the hospital room that would be my for the next few days. This was my first and only trip to the hospital for an extended stay. Sure, I had been there a lot with my dad as his assistant pediatrician checking on the newborns every now and then on Sunday mornings (some of my fondest childhood memories), but this was a completely new situation for me. I didn’t like it at all. I hurt, my head was foggy and I couldn’t leave my bed because of the injury to my leg. The only thing I liked was the morphine, the morphine was good. The next few days are what I refer to as my dark period (it was short, but it is still a fitting title).
Here I am, chubby and awkward not able to move. My right wrist had to be held upward above my head with a sling to prevent it from further swelling (it looked like I was waving constantly). But, I had my own tv and I had the morphine. Things could have been worse…
My first night was a bad night. I had managed to fall asleep in the awkward position I was posed in, but over the course of the night I moved my left arm in my sleep and pulled the IV out that was supplying me with my morphine, not good. I woke up in the first real pain I had experienced since the accident. It felt like the handle bar of the snowmobile was still in my leg and twisting. The lump formed in my throat and my eyes welled as I pressed the call button to get the nurse into my room to get the morphine back into my blood stream. When she entered the room, something told me I was in trouble.
The nurse was old. Not like old in the way that 11 year olds think 40 is old, she was old. She was definitely someone’s grandma and may have had a couple of great-grandchildren. It was the middle of the night and the hospital was very quiet.
Before she had a chance to ask, I said, “my IV got pulled out of my arm.”
She smiled and said, “well, I will get that right back in there for you.”
This actually made me calm down, she was confident and gave off that warmth that only a grandma can… then she grabbed the needle. Her hands were shaking terribly, the way only an old persons hands can shake.
I didn’t have any fear of needles or blood, so I was monitoring her progress closely as she made her first attempt to hit a vein. Swing and a miss, she said, “oops!” Oops is not something you like to hear when someone is stabbing you with a needle, but I smiled politely back at her.
Attempt number 2, “oops!” And the same went for attempts 3 and 4 when she finally said, “let’s try the bottom side of your arm, it will be easier to find a vein.” That is when without warning she smacked my arm like I was a junkie looking for a fix (I was starting to feel that way, actually). I gave her a surprised look and she said, “hit helps to find a vein.”
Attempt number 5, still no luck. “These veins sure can be slippery” she said with a giggle. I was no longer smiling, the pain was getting worse. Attempt 6, nope.
“Maybe we should get another nurse” I said. Her hands continued to tremble as she focused on the task at hand.
“No” she said, “I’ll get it here.”
Attempt 8 was another miss and I finally pulled my hand away and as I choked on the lump in my throat I said, “you are going to get another nurse in here or I am going to call my dad!” (The ultimate defense for an eleven year old). She looked at me for a moment then turned on her heel and left the room. I was surprised that she left with out argument, maybe she had experienced “the look” before while working with my dad. Whatever the case, she returned with a younger nurse who happened to live a few doors down from me in our neighborhood. She came over and placed the IV on the first try. That’s the stuff, I thought.
The next day, my left wrist had bruises up and down on both sides. Not to mention, the cast on my right wrist was to tight and my fingers were purple and swollen like fat little baby penises. The pressure had to be relieved so they were forced to saw the cast open. So, less than a day after I was stabbed repeatedly with needles, I had a guy sawing at my broken wrist. I was convinced the cast would give way unexpectedly and he would saw my flesh. It smelled hot and the vibrations made my arm ache even worse.
Morphine was my only friend.
My mom came in to visit with me. However, I wanted no visitors (sorry mom, I feel bad about this even today). I wanted the shades shut, TV on and my morphine. So, I quickly kicked my mom out of my room when she tried to open the shades like some kind of fat, adolescent Dracula. Karma would get me for this that very night.
I woke up shivering and had a familiar wetness on my lap. Before I looked I knew that some how I was bleeding from my leg again. I looked down and there was a big puddle of… piss (have I not mentioned that I was a bed wetter? Let’s be honest, you had already figured that out on your own). Now what? I was soaked and cold. I didn’t know what nurse was working and I was scared that it was going to be my neighbor from down the street who had a daughter that was my age… I had no options and I pressed the button.
To my delight it was the grandma again, finally a break. The relief was short-lived. She informed me that we would need to get me up off the bed so the sheets could be changed and so that I could get into a new hospital gown. I hadn’t stood up since I had been there. I knew that I was not a light little kid, she was going to need help. Two more nurses entered, including my neighbor. That stupid lump crept into my throat and I started to cry… everyone was going to know I wet the bed, dammit.
It was painful to stand, the embarrassment of wetting the bed was painful and being fat and naked in front of 3 grown women was also painful. Finally, it was over and I was back in bed, dry. The only nurse that remained in the room was my neighbor and she said, “the morphine does that to people sometimes, it’s OK.”
Damn you morphine.
It was clear that she wasn’t going to tell people who had soaked my hospital bed, so that was comforting. But, I was ready to leave the hospital. It had become a prison of pain and embarrassment. Luckily a few days later, I was out. And, with some physical therapy it was clear that I would make a full recovery but it would not be easy… there were still some bumps in the road ahead that spring…