Friday, July 18, 2008


This morning started rather inauspiciously. Actually, the inauspiciousness started last night, when dear Laura and Sonja brought me a huge bowl of pho and a chocolate milkshake and none of it tasted good. It just tasted icky. I ate some broth and a couple pieces of beef because I know I need to support my body's incredible ability to heal, but I really had to worry it down. I was also just worried in general because of having the nose-air-thingies instead of a mask. You see, my brother and I have always been prone to sinus issues, particularly as young, loud mouth-breathing children who drove my noise-obsessed father crazy, obviously on purpose, with our plugged noses. I can breathe through my nose as an adult, and I believe I usually do (in fact, I am right now), but oxygen pumped (even whisper-soft) directly into your nasal passages is incredibly drying, and I found my nostrils boogering up at an alarming rate. You can put the nose tubes in your mouth and get the oxygen that way, which I did the three times I had to dig out the obstructions (I know—EW), but this is definitely not a long-term solution.

So I asked for a mask back, explained my issues, and they were happy to oblige. The mask I got has a water feature which is actually quite pleasant in a variety of ways. The main way is that it keeps my mouth and nose well humidified, but the purely aesthetic way is that it literally sounds like a brook babbling over mossy stones and glinting shallows, through a sun-dappled wood. I am not, as we know, typically a fan of white noise in any form, but whether out of necessity or simply comparison, I am a fan of this particular brook.

I was still anxious, though, so my nurse offered to give me some Ativan but I didn't really want to take it. I knew they had just been giving me low regular doses (to keep me under control I'm sure), but they'd stopped doing that, which I took to mean they wanted me to survive without Ativan at all, not that they instead trusted me to know when my body would actually benefit from some. Fortunately, Laura knew for me, and so I had some. And then, the dears each gave me a foot massage and it was so wonderful and amazing, with the babbling brook and the soothing anti-anxiety meds and the rubbing in the darkened room, and I slept well, and for the first time, perfectly flat (instead of at a slight incline first necessitated by the nose feeding tube then by my inability to keep from coughing flat on my back).

Anyway, at 3:00am I woke up and ate some peach pie that Sonja had brought, and at 7:00am I woke up and immediately had to use the commode (no connection to the peach pie, just the absent catheter). Ian helped me get on the commode, but something—suddenly being upright, the exertion of getting off the bed and into a sitting position (I tell you, I'm w e a k), the fact that I'd slept flat the night before and moved around things in my lungs—I was peeing, then suddenly I was coughing, and then I was desperately calling for a basin and then I was throwing up and coughing and not getting enough oxygen and stuck there on the commode . . . it was scary.

My nurse came quickly, though, and got me back to bed, and gave me some Compazine, then offered me Ativan because I was, clearly, still a ragged mess. "But they're weaning me off Ativan," I said.

"Who is?" asked my nurse. "Your doctor?"

"Well, they were giving it to me all the time and now they're not."

"Yes, they're not giving to you as a matter of course, but it's on your list of drugs that you can request, and so you can decide if you feel you need it."

Oh. I can be in charge of whether or not I'm sedated a little? Well then. I get what Laura was saying last night, and I agree with what she would surely say now, that this is a good time to sedate me. "Okay, then, yes please," I said.

Since then, things have gone well. I've moved to a new room: 7 Southeast number 7354, ph. 206-598-6395. This room is not in the ICU, it is in "Floor Care", so I don't have my own nurse either sitting outside my door or inside helping me with serious things. Instead I have to wait a little longer for some things, but I have a normal hospital bed (the ICU mattresses are air-filled over-designed and over-built ones that were, I suppose, comfortable enough for drugged people even though I always ended up crowded down near the end) and it's just freer. And I can actually see my view—my last view was great, but it was primarily behind me.

AND—Today I took my first shower since 1 July. A lot of loose skin sloughed off, but not all—I'll have to shower again, probably soon.

And I took special care with my armpits.


Andrienne said...

Another brilliant post. Only you would make sedating yourself, and a mask that sounds like a babbling brook, seem appealing. The foot rub needed none of your descriptive talents!

Stacey said...

I have to admit, that I have mixed motives for leaving a comment here. While, yes, I do want you to know that I am glad you have finally washed thoroughly :-), I also can't handle seeing the grammatically incorrect "1 Comments" at the bottom of your posting...Guess I'm in the right profession, hey?

Love you darlin.

Cousin S.

Chiara said...

A babbling brook mask sounds pretty cool--and good on you for getting the Ativan when you need it. Can't wait to see you next week!

Stacey said...

hugs and love from PDX

MS laura said...

Your armpits comment made me chuckle : )

And your sloughing skin sounds like renewing energy because of the newness that lies underneath sloughing skin.

Enjoy those future showers : )


Laura (matching socks)