January 07, 2022

So This Is The Hospital? Needs Better Urinals.

The ambulance backed into the ERs dropbox, dragged me out the rear... better than via the roof hatch.  I actually asked why there was a roof hatch, but alas I was already being rolled into the lovely eggshell blue hallway to a room past the open bay where the high pressure world of traumatic wounds and spurting blood in a life or death conflict against Death itself.


Two doctors were eating pizza and chatting. But in a high intensity manner.

The EMTs had one last gift for me as they dragged me off the gurney to the bed-like object that would be my resting spot for the next five hours. They tried not to bump me around, but failed. Not really their fault... YOU try transferring a walrus from one table to another, see how it goes. The next hour is mostly a blur now. Medical people wandering in, poke and prod, then wandering right back out again. Somewhere in there they gave me a stylish gown in no specific color... a sartorial choice that I have become quite familiar with, alas.  

Eventually I began recognizing people that made multiple stops in my space. One actually poked me with a needle to take blood... the first of many vampire visits I'd experience. Someone else hung a bag of whatever because that's what the do in hospitals, then plugged it in.

I'm reading the above stuff, and it's not really very funny. None of it really was, honestly. it's even past my admittedly tiny abilities to make funny. There was a lot of pain involved. Like when they took x-rays of my upper leg and they needed me to turn my leg this way or the other... that really was agony.

Then it was time for the device I'd become very familiar with... the Angry Growling Donut. Yes, others call it a CT Scanner, but I don't care. Sadly I had to do the leg trick again, except in a small confined space with no room to move. Fun was had by all. Then it was back up to the warm and inviting ER room and its remarkably comfortable table with great back support. 

By now it'd been a couple of hours, and I'm sure this'll come as a shock to everybody, I needed to use the little ducky room. This caused a rather confused look to appear on the nurse's face: What do you do when a patient the size of a treaty battleship needs to pump bilges take a leak when he can't sail walk? A handheld urinal was out; prior experience definitely rendered that a non-starter. Suddenly the expression of "brilliant idea!" appeared on the face of a second nurse that had been called in for consultation. Or moral support maybe? Was never quite clear on that, just the first time of many over the next couple of weeks. The decision was made: the collection container (two liters... I appreciated their optimism) from a suction machine (note: possible foreshadowing) and two diapers to catch possible overflows (really, it was quite flattering)...

...and everything held in place by two nurses.

Ah. Yes, of course. I should have realized beforehand.  Suddenly the old adage passed through my mind: "You have no pride, you have no shame. You're in marketing!" Or, in this case, a hospital. Ah well, 25 years of retail burned all that down to a small, mewling thing huddled in the corner of my mind, and it's not like worse things didn't happen the last couple of years at the Duck U Bookstore. So once everything had been set up and the audience allowed to take their seats. I let fly. I tried very hard to keep the sigh of relief contained; no reason to make this any weirder than it already was.
Prize gathered (240ml... hey, it'd been a long time) a look of concern flitted across the nurse's face and she asked me a question that in other circumstances would have me laughing at the surrealness of it all: "How long has it smelled like this?" I could only shake my head: not too long at all, really, but not recently. With that answer received, she took the precious liquid away.

Then another torture device was brought in: the ultrasound machine. This was applied to my inner thigh after that odd gel stuff was gooped on, and Madame Torquemada began her work. To explain just how this felt, let me apply a comparison that can be easily understood. 

Imagine you're in a terrible car accident on the highway. Everything is destroyed, the engine is in the back seat, the front passenger seat is ten yards behind the car, the works. You yourself are unharmed, and simply get out the normal way. As you do, you are counting your blessings.

Then you are attacked by a bengal tiger. Just as the massive teeth and claws approach your unprotected body, you are hit by an 18-wheeler at full trot. Then, as your broken body lies on the side of the road, someone runs up and presses an ultrasound scanner to your leg.  

After being allowed some water... an entire Dixie cup, all to myself!... I was left alone for a bit. I think I texted Brickmuppet and Ben both at this point though to be honest that's kinda slipped my mind. A bit after that, three nurses, led by a woman that was obviously a doctor (if nothing else, her name badge and ID with the large word "DOCTOR" under it gave it away... mind like a steel trap, that's me) walked in.  She explained that the Angry Growling Donut and the ultrasound both spotted a blood clot in my right leg. The good news was that was fairly early in the experience and should respond well to the usual brace of blood thinners and other meds.  The bad news was that she could not admit to t.he hospital without a display of the physical situation. Or to put it simply, I had to try and stand up.

I goggled (back in grad school I would have helmeted. More protection while welding) at her. Seriously? Step one then... slide my legs to the edge of the table. My left leg moved fine, but the star of the evening was my right one... and I couldn't move it. My foot worked, but every pain receptor  in my brain lit up with a nearly visible "TILT" light. After a few more attempts, each hurting more than the one before it, she said "That's enough. Would you agree?" That was directed to the nurses. A half hour later, I left the ER, bundled into an elevator and rolled to my new home for a while.  It was 1030pm on the last day of February, 2021.

Next Time: More Zombies!

Also next time: Hospital pt2: Like A Cloud, only with squeezy boots.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:58 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
Post contains 1158 words, total size 7 kb.

1 I remember you txting me that you were at the hospital, or the ER, and then it was a day or two before I could get you again. I think. I do remember you telling me it was a blood clot before that, so I was a bit worried. I don't think I posted to The Pond until you said they thought it would respond well to treatment.

Posted by: Ben at January 08, 2022 02:02 AM (3npKf)

2 Holy cannoli. That sounds like a supremely unpleasant and disheartening experience, man.

Posted by: GreyDuck at January 08, 2022 09:28 AM (rKFiU)

3 GD, not yet. Most of that comes later. This was just the sort of thing that happens when you end up in the hospital. The two liter collector was a bit out of the ordinary though.
Truth be told, I welcomed the admission. I knew this was potentially life-threatening... technically... but having a leg stop doing leg things really made it creepy.

Posted by: Wonderduck at January 08, 2022 01:45 PM (bHHXR)

4 I just had both my hips replaced. I know about the squeezy boots, and the Robin Hood tights. I also got to give myself injections of blood thinner for the last 30 days. That was special.
Godspeed.

Posted by: John Peters at January 08, 2022 08:11 PM (do9LM)

5 John, thankfully they realized that things to manipulate my right leg could break the clot free, so no tights.
Two hips at once just sounds like torture.

Posted by: Wonderduck at January 08, 2022 09:14 PM (bHHXR)

6 My sympathies, Wonderduck.  The ER is not a pleasant place to be.  I had a couple of trips to it in 2020.  I'll save most of my stories for another time out of respect for our host's story, but I'll give one.  Much like our nautical avian host, I'm built like a battleship.  The beds they have in the local ERs are these heavy-duty roller beds that look more solid than your average car.  Unfortunately, even when you're completely ambulatory, the nurses like to raise the side rails and there is no easy way to lower them yourself.  For some reason, the room I was in didn't have a call button in reach and I hit the point where I needed to go to a nearby restroom or purge where I was.  Since I couldn't get the rails on the sides down, I crawled to the foot of the bed (feet first).  As I was starting to sit up on at the very end of the bed, it promptly decided to emulate a teeter-totter and plunged down over a foot.  As visions of the bed flipping end over end on top of me flashed through my head, it then decided to return to balance and the wheels at the opposite end hit the floor with a crash that I'm certain was heard from over a block away.  I then rolled off to my side and sat up on the side as close to the center as the rails would allow me and stood up.  Moral of the story: do not try to sit at the very foot of those hospital beds.
John, sympathies on the hip replacements.  I had both of my hip-joints re-aligned when I was a late teen to prevent needing replacements, but I had to do them a year apart so I could remain ambulatory.  Most definitely not fun.

Posted by: StargazerA5 at January 09, 2022 10:13 AM (+kFls)

7 Nightmarish. And of course it is worse not to have a friend or family member sitting right there (and fully conscious/not in pain) to advocate for you and keep an eye on things (as well as send on errands or go looking for nurses).
Sigh. The automatic blood pressure  cuffs are scary enough. I cannot even imagine what you went through.
But we are glad you got through it.

Posted by: Suburbanbanshee at January 09, 2022 11:37 AM (cHUaN)

8 So glad to see you posting again, Wonderduck. I cannot tell you how many patients I've transferred on and off the CT "examining table." I have never promised a patient that the transfer will be painless, but we're usually trying our best (honest!)
As for your self-assessed meagre comic abilities, I got a smile from the phrase "Angry Growling Donut."

Posted by: L. Beau Macaroni at January 09, 2022 04:20 PM (fieDC)

9 Me: Um, I broke my little toe just before Christmas.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 09, 2022 07:45 PM (PiXy!)

10 Pixy, did a reindeer step on it?

Posted by: Wonderduck at January 11, 2022 01:08 AM (bHHXR)

11 I figured a drop bear fell on Pixy and he narrowly got away with his life.

I'm sorry you had this experience, Wonderduck. I'm glad you're satisfying my vulgar curiosity, though! 

Posted by: Kathryn at January 11, 2022 12:52 PM (8548M)

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