Bill Roper (billroper) wrote,
Bill Roper

Trip Report: Sunday

And then all hell broke loose.

I woke up at 5 AM according to the clock on the wall, sweating. Apparently, the mild fever that I'd been running had broken. Given how well I'd been sleeping, I was fairly convinced that I was done with sleep for at least a while, so I flipped on a light and started to read one of the novels that I'd brought along. About this time, one of the patient care techs came in to retrieve Wayne's urinal, which he'd just filled.

It was a bit before 5:30 when I rang for the nurse, as the foam brace that I was wearing had become uncomfortable due to my sweating into it. I asked her if we could undo the buckles and let it air out for a bit and she agreed and did so. She was going off shift early and stopped to say goodbye to Wayne.

And Wayne had had another stroke. While he'd been in excellent condition the day before and well enough to fill his urinal and talk to the PCT at 5 AM, now he couldn't speak and couldn't move various parts of his body.

There was shortly a lot more light and activity in the room. By about 5:45, I got the attention of one of the folks working on Wayne and said, "Call his wife. His son is a neurologist. They'll want to be here."

Before too long, both Wayne's wife and son had arrived. Then the problem was trying to pinpoint the time of onset of the stroke. Wayne might have been a candidate for the use of TPA, but that has to be administered within three hours of the stroke. And the nurse who had seen him most recently had gone off shift early, so they were trying to confirm when he'd last been responsive.

"The male nurse picked up his urinal at 5 AM. Check with him," I said. And when Wayne's son asked and was corrected ("He's not a nurse." Ok, look, I knew what I meant.), they found him and verified that Wayne had indeed been responsive as of 5 AM, which meant that he was still well within the window for TPA.

Except that they got his blood work back and they'd finally gotten his coumadin up to a therapeutic level, which meant that they couldn't give him the TPA to try to bust the clot. Given the way that Wayne was responding, his son thought that the clot might be in a place where it could be retrieved -- effectively Roto-Rootered out. As it happened, Wayne's son had studied at Northwestern under the best guy in the city to perform the procedure, a doctor who was affiliated with another hospital, not too far away.

A phone call later, arrangements were made to transfer Wayne to the other hospital and to have the surgeon's team standing by on the other end. Wayne's son came around the curtain and thanked me for having been an articulate and effective advocate for his father.

While this had been going on, many other members of the family arrived to see Wayne. By about 8 AM, the transfer was away.

I hope Wayne did well, but this is a story that I will likely never hear the end of.

A bit later, the nurse came in and I asked her to refasten the braces around my now quite well-aired out leg. And then she said, "It's time to take out the catheter."

"Really? I'd been under the impression that you were waiting for the physical therapist to arrive so that I might get a gravity assist."

"That's true, but you need to have something in your bladder to be able to go, and the catheter keeps it empty."

"Point well taken."

So the nurse popped out the catheter. And about an hour later, I happily peed into the handy urinal. I have seldom been so happy to take a leak.

I never did see a physical therapist on Sunday, as it turned out. The surgeon came by and changed the dressings on my leg, which was good. About this time, daisy_knotwise and Katie arrived. I'd told her what had happened with Wayne, so she wasn't surprised. The surgeon told us to make an appointment for me for two weeks from Tuesday to have the staples out of my leg, which we've since done. (Made the appointment, that is.)

Gretchen and Katie stayed until visiting hours ended at 8 PM, to the delight of the various nurses who stopped in to see the cute baby. Then they headed off to home and supper, leaving me by myself with only one thing left to do.

Before I could leave the hospital, there were two vital functions that I had to perform. I had earlier that day taken care of the first, following the removal of the Foley catheter. That left number two.

There was only one big problem. I am too big to fit properly onto even the large-sized bedside commodes. It's not that they aren't wide enough -- it's the distance from fore to aft that's the problem.

(Aside: I have elongated toilets at home. I can use a round toilet, but only barely, which produces some occasional entertainment in convention hotels. I long ago wrote a very short filk of Julia Ecklar's "I Hate Little Fire Lizards" which consisted of in toto, "I hate little round toilets and my asshole hates them too." 'Nuff said.)

After an extensive search, they brought along another oversized commode of different, but -- sadly! -- no larger design. I noted that given the size of the hole, I would not even be able to clean myself. (If all of my parts do not fit into the hole, there is no prospect of getting my hand in there.) They promised that they would clean me up afterwards.

Oh, joy.

(The one nurse or nurse's aide who had led the search for the commode was quite apologetic. She said that they really needed to take this up with the appropriate hospital committee, as I wasn't the only patient they'd ever had with this problem.)

So I ended up with my bad leg splayed out to one side, a urinal in one hand in front of me, trying desperately to poo. Which I did. I had to push hard enough at one point that everything turned red, but I made a poo-poo.

Which meant that I could go home on Monday.
Tags: knee, musings

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