Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sure, Go Get Some Sleep. Go Ahead and Try.

I begin to understand my parents’ complaint with hospitals.  It’s all about sleep. Well, that and bad coffee. But sleep is primary.

There was no real  major one thing causing me to not sleep. It was just a heaping pile of little things. Most aggravating was the IV needle right in the bend of the elbow. I sleep with my arms bent, on my sides alternately, managing covers, pillows, and keeping my shoulders as comfy as possible at any given time. I brought it up shortly before my usual bedtime, aka 11:00. The response was to plan on a half hour wait since shift change was just coming up. OK, half hour, no biggie.

So I left my light on, door opened slightly, waiting to be able to get comfortable.

And waiting.

At least I got those leg thingies which inflate around each leg alternately in order to prevent clots forming disconnected long enough to get to the bathroom.  Then  of course they got reconnected, preventing that part of me from ever getting comfortable. The pillow was the wrong pillow, small. flat, and so slippery I was sure it had better places to be. The bare ass gown had the lower tie knotted, and wasn’t in the least stretchy, so every time I turned over was preparation for a military campaign. The shoulders snap, giving access to the torso. The snaps unsnapped with movement, and the IV kept me from reaching around to refasten, so my shoulders got cold. The leads glued to my front connected to wires in a gadget in my front pocket - mostly - but turning over gave it leave to clunk elsewhere at the whim of gravity, never landing anywhere comfortable.

The three blankets on my bed weren’t tucked in, or even lying the same way over the bed. The leg thingies kept tangling up in each other via their velcro, and their air lines tangled in my feet. After a bit I realized one was too tight, or perhaps it was supposed to be like that and the other one just wasn’t doing its job and I might get a clot anyway. The nasal cannula for the O2 was a royal pain, poking and drying out my nose simultaneously in an admirable job of multitasking. I finally removed it, figuring if any harm was done, somebody’d notice and make me replace it. Until then, I’d take my victories as they came, however small. If you sense the beginning of an attitude here....

No. “”Beginning” is definitely the wrong word. By 2:00 AM it was thoroughly established.

If I lay on my back, the head of the bed and the knees needed to be up a bit. If I rolled over on a side, they needed to be flat. At one point I decided to turn the light off and try to snooze, but hit the wrong bed control in the dark while changing position and got the nurse call instead. The person responding was not, of course, qualified to move the IV.

Somebody had their TV on down the hall, and the guy who’d been next bed over in the ER was next room over now, needing a lot of attention, and coughing up half a lung with great frequency. It had me wondering when he was going to stop regenerating more lung bits to cough up. Eavesdropping  through ER curtains had informed me his next and final stop would be a nursing home presuming he got stabilized for some other issues. He’s only two years older than I am. He only quit smoking two years ago, though I don’t know if it was before or after his stroke. (So much for privacy, eh?)

And, of course, every time I moved a bit I also bent the elbow, reminding me why I was still waiting for somebody to come in. There had been about 6 people coming in and out, taking vitals, getting blood, pushing pills, and anything but moving the IV.

Finally! My RN appeared! Yee Haaa!

Yeah, like it’s that simple. The reason the IV wasn’t in the back of that hand is because the stabber in the ER found a vein that bled under my skin, all over a couple gauze pads, but not into the attached tube. My nurse looked that over and decided to work on the right arm. She tied the rubber tourniquet, slapped here and there, had me pump my fist, wiped alcohol here and there, opened packages, and poked. And poked. My veins knew she was coming, boy. Four tries later, she decided to call in the B team. She left the wastebasket in the corner half full with more paraphernalia scattered over the floor.

The B team was named Ann, someone with a bit more vintage to her years. She looked over the lack of progress so far and decided to go back to the left arm again. She’d raised one promising looking vein, and watched it disappear in reaction to the tearing of the paper from the needle. Literally.

Did she give up? ever fear. Time for a completely new approach: the back of the watchband area. Luckily it was sans watch, my having developed a rash in allergic reaction to my plastic watchband, now given up over a week since. The rash is still vivid red, but apparently no impediment to Nurse Ann.

Yee-ouch! That one smarted! I thought she found a very healthy nerve. She thought she’d missed the vein, but when she tested it, she’d struck red gold! I was not about to complain about the pain if it meant finally that we could get the elbow one out. She quickly taped everything in place before this vein could change its mind. removed the other, and actually requested that I bend that elbow over the gauze!


And a whole four hours sleep before morning wake up call. But don’t blame the staff. This time it was the bladder.

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