Notes from a memoir in making…
Crap, the alarm didn’t go off. Okay, maybe it did, but I just set it two hours ago, so maybe we both slept through it. So, here I am on this cot next to Paul’s hospital bed, hair going every direction, eyes still stuck together and my brain on sludge mode. Without the elixir of life (coffee), and with a full bladder, I have to wake myself up enough to answer specific questions and protect Paul from cruel and unusual poking and prodding.
In a teaching hospital, this happens 5 days a week. Waking up to strangers in your room, and not screaming, “Get out!,” is an acquired skill. You can tell who the doctor is, because he or she is usually a snappy dresser, and freshly showered. The students either look intimidated by the doc and exhausted, or they look attentively up into the doc’s face, have brown noses and try for the matching snappy look, with a semi-pressed lab coat.
Either way, it is game on. Once in awhile I can get them to check back later, but usually they are in a hurry and
won’t can’t change their routine. It is amazing how different their behavior is when I’m just waking, and still in bed, compared to when I’m dressed and alert when they arrive. I know they are not the enemy (at least I do on my good days), but I still have to make sure the facts they are using to decide Paul’s meds and treatment, are based on what he and I know to be the reality.
Paul is groggy, but always humble and accommodating. He knows I’m listening, making notes and generally on top of it. This is the best gift I can give Paul, who is on his 6th or 7th plan B treatment to try and stop the aggressive attack of Graft vs Host disease. The gift is allowing him to not have to remember medications, side affects and his vital statistics. If there is an issue to be discussed, he can lay and listen, while I rattle the cages to correct or get more information about his treatment.
I grab a hair clip, my notebook and pen and another day begins.
It’s almost midnight and I’m happy to report that I made it through another dreaded Friday the 13th. Personally, I think it is a lucky day. Turns out, I had neither dread nor luck today…but isn’t that lucky?
Thanks for hanging out,
Every Damn Day? Who’s idea was this anyway?
From writing challenge Every Damn Day December at http://treatmentofvisions.com/2013/11/26/evdadadec/
December 14, 2013 at 8:01 am
Very compelling writing, Patti. xo
The photo of the frost on primrose is another beauty.
December 14, 2013 at 8:17 am
Thank you, Luanne. I will be over for a visit in a few:>)
December 14, 2013 at 8:02 am
There is no way to measure your gift(s) to Paul.
December 14, 2013 at 8:18 am
Wish I could give him more. I’m taking baby steps back into the memoir. Thanks for being here, Marian!
December 14, 2013 at 11:10 am
Someone at some hospital somewhere said “If you need to rest, a hospital isn’t the place to do it.” On TV, the comfort and rest of patients is top priority. In the hospital, the staff’s efficiency and convience beats out the patient every time. Good you are there to advocate because having to be ones’ own advocate from a hospital bed while pumped with drugs is tough. Don’t forget to breathe.
December 15, 2013 at 2:49 pm
Hey, Marilyn, sorry I missed this. I just found out that I am not getting all my comments in the notification thingy that goes red when you have a comment. I have to go to each post, open it and look through the comments. Just a heads up. I will try to remember to add this info to my next post and Facebook it to.
This post was just an excerpt from my memoir-in-progress about my husband’s illness and death in 2008-09. And, there sure is no time for resting at the hospital. I still wake almost every hour from that year living in hospitals.
Off to check for missing comments!
December 14, 2013 at 11:42 am
Patti, because I’ve been there and even if I hadn’t been there, when you write about your experiences with Paul, you ring my bell. You talk about the hardest worst craziest most chaotic time in your life. He’s fading into the place where he depends on you to hold the rational side. You feel like a mad woman. There are decisions to be made and you’re on first base. And those starched coats and the doctors who put the staff at ease and those who made them tremble. Somehow you bring me there with humor, compassion, and honesty. Your love circles everything, making this as beautiful as it is horrible. The world needs to know what serious illness does to our lives. Our generation will make sure they do.
December 14, 2013 at 4:51 pm
Somehow, I knew this would connect with you. I thought of you and Vic when I was writing…wondering if you went through the same things. Even if the props were different, I knew enough of your story to realize you would have been where I was too. Thank you for your compassionate words.
I agree that our stories need to be told, so many of us are writing about it, and I do see some changes happening. The social shift is slow, but I believe illness, end of life and caregiver issues are being brought into the light. For the good of the next shift, our children and theirs.
December 14, 2013 at 2:47 pm
Who’s idea was every damn day anyway? Good question. Our host who said he’d be submitting too ain’t, but I have no complaint with something that’s keeping me, you and Linda in touch. Right now, I’m enjoying my grandson’s nap. Usually this is my ‘day off’ but my daughter was drafted to help friends in need of her SUV and muscles to move. Wouldn’t you know we finally got a decent snow…
December 14, 2013 at 4:54 pm
Hugs to that little guy and I hope you get your “day off” soon. I admire what you do for your family. Snow…our little bit went away. I’m happy about that too.
December 14, 2013 at 5:48 pm
I’ll be more than happy to give him that extra hug and tell him it’s from you!
We’ve still got grey skies. What’s amusing is the weather icon has been changed to a sun with a thin cloud over it. Must be the parallel universe and not this one.
December 14, 2013 at 7:49 pm
Hahahahaha! thanks for that big laugh:>) love your humor!
December 14, 2013 at 9:53 pm
December 15, 2013 at 8:31 am
Hello brazen, selfless woman. I just love reading about your compassionate stories and sharing POV’s from caregivers and the one’s being cared about. You are an amazing writer and your convictions and compassions make your writing a pleasure to read even when the subject is not one of a happy one. People like you and Elaine sharing the word about giving a damn about humanity and sharing conversations about subjects that many don’t wish to talk about is so commendable. Peace to you! xo
December 15, 2013 at 12:14 pm
Well, thank you, Debby. that is certainly high praise coming from a woman who has walked the hire wire of writing and publishing about a hard topic. Like they say, it takes one to know one. I did not stick my tongue out either:>)
Seriously, I appreciate your being part of this. xo
December 15, 2013 at 12:26 pm
Well thanks for inviting me to be a part! Your posts are very enlightening and remind us that life is not always a bowl of cherries and compassions need to be reminded! xo
December 17, 2013 at 9:01 am
Knock Knock, I’m here! I love this story! So many things raises memories. The one thing about university hospitals that I do dread as well is the poking and prodding; I should write about one incident where I made a resident literally sweat it out. I feel a bit bad now but then I felt he deserved it. Hopefully he’s less pompous.
December 17, 2013 at 9:04 am
Why hello there. So glad you love it. Yes, write away, you’d do a great job on a story like that. I’ll watch for them:>)
Please come back when you have some time and welcome!
December 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm
What a gift you have when you put words to post — I could feel the dizzying fuzz of being jerked awake by the energy of other people in Paul’s room. And I know the urge to protect — my dad was in a teaching hospital a number of times. It’s like trying to fight off an advancing army when they are “game on.” Sounds like you got the routine down just right — another gift to Paul.