Yesterday was a day from hell. I spent the entire day in a hospital having some rather unpleasant procedures performed. Before I write any further, please be aware that I have nothing but respect for the doctors and nurses that care for me. Both the doctors and the nurses are caring and considerate to my needs, almost to a fault. However, yesterday was an off day for them… As I explain my day, you can see for yourself why I should have insisted on their beside manner reboot.
The first procedure of the day was a spinal tap. A spinal tap is now referred to as a lumbar puncture or LP for short. I have had a few of these tests over the years and I know from experience that this procedure is far from pleasant. I geared myself up; I put on my big girl panties and was led to the procedure room. I ignored the cries of the other patients and girded my loins for battle. I was as ready as one can be. My neurologist and two nurses were already there and waiting for me. The doctor is a very detailed and no-nonsense kind of guy. He does not sugarcoat anything. He explains that the procedure is done without an anesthetic and will be somewhat uncomfortable. Somewhat uncomfortable?? To you it may be somewhat uncomfortable…to me it is VERY uncomfortable. I am put into a seated position and told to bend over at the waist as far forward as I can manage. Without a seatbelt, this request is just wrong. You guessed it…I fell off the exam table and on to the floor. Smack on my face as a matter of fact. After some burly orderlies assistance, I was lifted and placed back on the table. My burly assistants stayed with me this time and the doctor began his speech again. This time he produced the needle he was going to use. It was not a needle, per se, but rather an 8-inch ice pick that was going to be placed between my vertebrae and into my spinal column. Hey doc, I really DO NOT need to see the needle/ice pick! In addition, DO NOT tell me you are putting that thing between my vertebrae and into my spinal column. Moreover, doctors, DO NOT tell your patient that a more experienced man in his office generally does this procedure. Furthermore, DO NOT tell your patient it may take several attempts to get the needle/ice pick in the correct place. Some things are better left unsaid. My anxiety level was well controlled when I entered the room. Now…it is not so much. Thanks a lot, doc! My burly orderlies hold me in position and the doctor tells me to relax. Hey doc, I was relaxed until you showed me the needle/ice pick, you bonehead! The doctor was not kidding about making a few attempts, only it was not a few…it was MANY! He finally found the spot and then for me things went black. I had passed out cold. When I came to, I was again on the floor. In addition to my doctor, his two nurses and my two burly orderlies, I had about 25 other people in the room with me. I was in my classy hospital attire, the dreaded hospital gown sans underwear. Did I mention I was lying on my stomach…without any underwear…with the opening in the back?? Everyone in the room had a view of my junk, both in and out of the trunk. I wanted to die or at least go home and never EVER see these people again. EVER! Finally, I was ready to proceed with the test and the third time was the charm. It went off without a hitch. So what is my suggestion to the doctors? Keep the information to yourself. Trust me, we are MUCH better not knowing…especially about the needle/ice pick.
The next procedure was the MRI of my brain (yes I have one) and complete spine. The test would take several hours, which was good. You need to lay flat on your back for at least 4 hours after a spinal tap, and the scan would take about that long. My burly companions stayed with me the entire day, poor guys. All I could think of was my undignified display during the LP. It was not pretty, folks! I was lifted up and placed on the table. I was not even allowed to transfer from my wheelchair to the table. Come on guys! I can do this myself. Especially since I am in a hospital gown…with “my load” not properly tied down, so to speak. Alas, they had their orders and I suffered another rather undignified display. I was looking forward to a nice and relaxing time on the table. It was not meant to be, my friends. I had to be restrained, per the doctors orders. I was completely immobilized by straps and a cage and placed in to a tube that was only slightly larger than I was. If you read my blog about my pantyhose ordeal, then you will understand that I felt like my swollen leg being forced in to the tiny piece of nylon. I am not claustrophobic, but I have to be honest, I did not enjoy being trussed up like a holiday ham and forced in to a sausage casing. Finally, I was in place and the scan began. I usually keep my eyes closed and try to take a catnap, but the pain in my back was preventing me from my well-deserved snooze. I opened my eyes and beheld a terrible sight. There were claw-like marks on the ceiling of the MRI tube. They appeared to be bloody. Do you remember the scene from Silence of the Lambs where Catherine was in the pit and she sees the scratches made by the previous captives? Well, my reaction was the same and out of the tube, I went. Okay, bring on the Valium. Mama needs some drugs, STAT! I was soon in my happy place and the test went as planned. I even had a pleasant nap to boot. It was all good after that and the scan was complete.
The final test was just a blood draw. It should have been a piece of cake. My beefy companions were still at my side. Apparently, my previous performance warranted constant support. By now, I did not care that they had seen my stuff…I had Valium and was still in my happy place. I named one of my companions Jason, of Jason Statham fame. He looked nothing like the actor, but one can dream…especially when one is hopped up on Valium. Just how much did you give me, anyway? A young nurse came in to the room to draw my blood. She was a student and was learning how to draw blood. LEARNING? No way, Jose! I have had enough LEARNING for the day. The floor nurse came in to tell me that the hospital is a teaching hospital and would I please reconsider the young nurse-to-be. Okay, after all I had to learn how to draw blood many moons ago. We all have to start somewhere…it might as well be me. Poke on, newbie and collect your 19 vials (yes, I said 19) of blood. To my joy, the girl had skill. She was able to find the vein without too much trouble. However, she had some trouble with the collection vials. Needless to say, she ended up being spattered in my blood by the end of our time together. I do not like the sight of blood…especially my own! I have now left my happy place. Jason is no longer present. Chuck had replaced him. Damn it!
And my final humiliation of the day is…going to the bathroom and getting dressed. I was not to be allowed to get up without help…FOR ANY REASON! You are kidding me, right? It seemed that my ordeal was far from over. Do you remember your mom telling you to wear clean underwear in case you were in an accident? Well now, my underwear was clean but far from my best pair. They were not undies either…they were BLOOMERS! I wore the most comfortable things I own to the hospital. I did not expect to go full-on commando…nor did I expect to dress with an audience…like Chuck and what’s his name, the other one. Apparently, they only had experience in taking off underpinnings. The tag goes in the back, boys!
I cannot say that my day was entirely bad. I did have a nice nap. After my day from hell, I had to wait for Rob to collect me from the hospital. I took a trail around the hospital. The grounds had been transformed in to a healing garden complete with ponds, streams, and waterfalls. The trees were blooming and the spring flowers were in full bloom. It was just gorgeous. I fed the ginormous koi in the pond while parked next to a full-size topiary man covered in ivy. I was back in my happy place!