Friday, January 9, 2009


Today at the clinic I was in one of the less desirable beds, one of the ones where space has been eked out over on the open floor plan end of the infusion floor, the end with all the chairs separated by only curtains. And yes, each chair still has its own TV. Anyway, there are four beds over there as well, and it's, well, cozy. When the infusion pump beeps at the bed next door, you hear it as if it were your own. And yes, charmingly, when the TV next door to you tells you over and over and over again that yes, folks, I'm afraid it's true, the Seattle Post Intelligencer is on the market and likely to go under in two months, you hear it as if it were on your own TV.

The thing is, the people in the next room over weren't actually watching the TV, because the man who was in for treatment was being diagnosed with pneumonia. The process took a bit of time, and lots of it was familiar. First, he said he had a bit a pain in his chest. Then he said it was only there when he coughed. The nurse asked how long he'd been coughing, and he said about two days. Then they checked his oxygen levels, and he was at 89 or 90 (you'll remember that that's low, if 95 is normal). Then he zoned out for a moment or two, and didn't hear some questions. That, too, has evidently been going on for a couple days (his daughter was with him). Then he was also feeling nauseas, and at one point he threw up the ham sandwich he'd eaten. Then news came that his doctor wanted him to go to the hospital, followed by a lot of talk about getting an ambulance and which service they would use and whatnot. A couple times they administered some medication that I dimly remember getting, which floods into your lungs and makes you cough, with the hope that you'll loosen what's happening there. He was also taken away for a chest X-ray at one point, which showed that he did have pneumonia. He then got an antibiotic drip. His temp was very high, around 102, so they tried to cool him down a bit. Eventually the ambulance arrived and he was taken away.

My nurse came in as his bed was being cleaned up for the next patient. "Now that that room is empty, could you turn off that TV?" I asked hopefully.

"Oh my gosh, YES," she said, and for the rest of my stay blessed less noise reigned.

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