Let The Hospital Stay Begin…

…July 23, 2011… (Continued from Part .5)

When the sixty year old man had finished his story, the forty-ish balding nurse stood in silence for a few moments, gazing in admiration. Or was he staring at the clock wondering if the tale had finally ended, or if the sixty year old man was just taking a breath (his first in the telling of the saga) and would continue his story?

Who knows?  Whichever the case may be, he made sure the telling was over because he completed his “paperwork” and called for transportation to a treatment room. 

The journey from the “check-in” area to the treatment room was rather boring, so Man of Action started telling his tale, again, to the orderly pushing the gurney. He was interrupted about every fifth word by with word “Si” coming from the orderly. Apparently, the gentleman either didn’t speak English, or he was warned not to let me think he did, by the forty-ish balding nurse. 

So I just shut up for the balance of the trip.

Once in the treatment room, I was left alone for a few minutes to contemplate my situation. Actually, my condition didn’t seem so bad at the moment, in light of what I could see through the crack the door to the hallway…

There was a foot occupying the end of a gurney just outside the door. On the foot was a big toe. On the big toe was a big toe nail. The unfortunate part of that was that the nail was positioned at a ninety degree angle from the toe. 

Warning: This will make you say “owee-ooh-ee-ooh-ooh-oweezowee“. If you are OK with saying “owee-ooh-ee-ooh-ooh-oweezowee” , click here to see a pho-toe of a toe that looks very similar to the one I had to look at for thirty minutes before anybody came in and shut the door all the way.

Fortunately, when someone did come into the room, one of them was Judy. 

Unfortunately, the other one was a young nurse.

Normally, that wouldn’t bother me too much except that she had something  ominous looking with her. She called it a Foley Catheter. 

I knew what a Foley was – it was a guy with the first name of Tim with whom I graduated from high school. I had no problem with that. 

My problem was with the “Catheter” part of the equation. I also knew what that was…

Warning: This will make you say “owee-ooh-ee-ooh-ooh-oweezowee“. If you are OK with saying “owee-ooh-ee-ooh-ooh-oweezowee” , click here to see a photo of what, if you are a guy, at least, you never want to tangle with. 

I couldn’t think of anything to say so I said, “what’s that for? “

She responded, “Well, we have to give you a way to eliminate waste from your body.”

I said, “Oh.”

Then, neither one of us said anything for a minute or so. We just looked at each other. Then I looked at Judy. Judy looked at me. The nurse looked at Judy. Judy looked at the nurse. A doctor came into the room. We all looked at the doctor. The doctor looked at the nurse. The doctor looked at Judy. The doctor looked at me.

The doctor said, “Excuse me. Wrong room,” and left.

I looked at Judy. Judy looked at the nurse. The nurse looked at me.

I looked at the nurse and said, “I don’t suppose that thing goes down my throat while I’m under anesthesia, does it?”

The nurse said, “No.”

I said, “Oh.”

The nurse said, “This is going to hurt a bit.”

I said, “How much is a bit?”

The nurse said, “It has been compared to what a woman feels during childbirth.” She continued, “if you are ready, I’ll start.”

Judy grabbed my hand and said , “Breathe.”

The nurse began the procedure. 

I said, in my most primal screaming voice, “COWABUNGAHHHHHHHHH!!*$#@!”, and turned to Judy, gritted my teeth, looked her straight in the eye and screeched, “YOU DID THIS TO ME!”

Then everybody started laughing. Like it was funny or something…

I, on the other hand, was just wondering if they could just tear my toenail back ninety degrees and call it a day…

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Click here to go to the next installment, part .7

This is part .6. If you would like to catch up, I would suggest starting at part .5. From there you can come back here, or go to Part 1, which is the first of 7 parts relating to the actual trip up Half Dome and back…

 

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July 23, 2011

The sixty year old man was semi-sitting up on the gurney in the emergency room, after the forty-five mile ambulance ride from the small mountain town of Oakhurst, just seven miles north of his home in Coarsegold. Oh, he didn’t look sixty, true enough, but right then he was feeling it. He didn’t look sick, either, but right then he was feeling that, too. And, in fact, he was sick… really sick…

He had just successfully completed a solid week of vomiting, dry heaves, sleeplessness and generally feeling worse every half hour of life that he had managed to crawl through. It didn’t help that he had not been able to urinate, have a bowel movement or even fart the entire week – he was feeling somewhat full on the inside, even though  the only thing he could keep down the last four days was hot chocolate. And, of course, there was the constant taste of ammonia in his mouth.. “Where the heck did that come from?”, he thought to himself. 

The x-rays taken in the urgent care facility he had walked into a few hours earlier – for the second time that week – showed massive build up of gases in his abdominal cavity. But the thing that bought him a ride in an ambulance and entrance into the emergency room was the lab report. It was really ugly, and the doctor didn’t even make an attempt to put lipstick on it.

“I’m completely baffled by your lab results – they don’t match what I’m getting from you.”

“What do you mean,” asked the patient, thinking that the doctor thought he might be lying about how he feels.

“Well, I’m looking at you and I see a man who, while he may be feeling under the weather, looks otherwise perfectly healthy and fit.” He continued, “But the lab results show me a man in complete renal failure and ready to have his heart explode at any minute.”

This, naturally, piqued the patient’s curiosity beyond the point where he could shut up.

“You mean I’m dead?”

“No, but I don’t know why not, and you are well on your way.” Then, in an effort to temper the effect of his last statement,  he informed the patient that he was being sent to the hospital. Right now. In an ambulance… 

The admitting nurse, a large man of about forty with vastly thinning hair, was sitting at a computer typing in information from the forms so nicely provided by Todd, the attending paramedic. He interrupted his flying fingers in an effort to become social for a minute.

“Says here that the patient is sixty years old. You don’t look sixty years old and I want to make sure I have the right guy.”

“OK.”

“So how old are you?”

“Sixty”.

“You sure?”

“Pretty sure. “

The nurse gave him a look that said ‘Alright, I’ll use ‘sixty’ for now,’ and entered the ‘information’ saying “OK, sixty years old”.

Thank you for your confidence.”

So why are you in my emergency room?”

“I would like to be sixty-one some day.”

This, actually, caused the nurse to smile, though the smile was followed by another inquiry into how the man came to be applying for residence in his hospital..

“It’s a really long story”.

“Can you give me the cliff notes version?”

“I took a hike up Half Dome and now I’m here.”

“Maybe fill in a few more details for me?”

The man agreed and launched into his tale of adventure, intrigue and cutting off his toes…

The important parts of the Lab Report

labresults

The Hi-lighted parts are the parts that would normally have made Man of Action dead.

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Click here to read the story of how I got here in the first place…

Click here to proceed to the next part of the hospital stay…