Saturday, March 8, 2008


It was about noon that a porter came by to transfer me to the ICU. I remember because they had to bring my lunch with me. They didn't really have to bring it, since I didn't eat it, but they did anyway. In fact, i didn't eat lunch or any other meal for the next 5 days or so. My room in the ICU was a lot different than the one from which they had brought me. The ward room had been to seem comfortable, homey. It had a couch, it had closets and cupboards, and a little bedside table with a phone on it. The head of the bed was set against the wall, and there was a curtain you could roll across for privacy, as well as a big door to the room. The ICU room was set up differently. There was no couch, nor were there any closets that I could see. There were cupboards, but they were obviously only for medical supplies. I couldn't see a phone, although I never looked very hard for one. The bed was in the middle of the room, with the head up against a monstrosity of machinery with all sorts of plugs and knobs and readings on it. It was humming as well, and would start beeping when I was hooked up to it. I got a look at it when i was wheeled in, but didn't really look at it again. There was also no curtain to roll around the bed, nor was there a big door for privacy. There was a curtain, but it went over the large glass sliding window that served as the opening to the room, and even when it was rolled closed, there was a little window so the hospital staff could keep an eye on things.

Once safely deposited on the bed, I was connected to the monstrosity behind me. A blood pressure wrap was put on my right arm, and it would automatically take my pressure every hour for the length of my stay on the floor. I was also hooked up to a bunch of little sticky things on my chest that measured my heart rate and heart beat 24 hours a day. I would hear beeping and whirring from behind my head constantly for the next few days.

A nurse was at my side almost immediately, ready with a syringe of morphine and a rundown of the way things were gonna work. I was to be in what they were calling amongst themselves "reverse isolation". i was to be protected from infection, but I could still have visitors. These visitors must sanitize themselves before they came in, however. If for any reason I was to leave the ICU for tests or anything like that, I was to wear a mask. I wasn't to use the washroom. It was shared with the room next to me, and they didn't want to have to sanitize it every time my next-door neighbour used it. There was a little commode rolled in next to my bed with a lid on it, and I was to use that and call the nurse each time I used it. This was fine with me, because with how weak I was feeling, the bathroom looked way too far away to get to anyway, at least without a wheelchair, or a complicated set of pulleys.

I didn't read, or watch much TV, or even converse with my constant companions, Tiffany and my father, during the first few days. I don't remember much of those, so addled was my brain with drugs and whatever else was going on in my body. I remember my father reading to me from Spin magazine at one point, and watching Cheaper by the Dozen 2 on TV with Tiffany at another(there really wasn't anything else to watch). Tiff had managed to somehow weasle herself a little seat thing that she could almost stretch out on, and then somehow managed to talk the nurse into allowing her to spend the night(which was apparently against procedure in the ICU). Fearing for my health, Tiff spent that first night wearing a mask and gloves. She tells me she didn't sleep, and I believe her. Not only did she have the germ-hindering paraphernalia to contend with, but she apparently stayed up all night watching my heart-rate reach bizarre levels while I slept. I, in turn, slept in 15 to 20 minute intervals, waking every so often to check that I was, in fact, in the hospital, or to drag myself with much grunting and difficulty to the commode. When I moved myself the foot and a half off the bed to the little seat with the whole in it, apparently my heart-rate would jump even higher, and this would give Tiff even less reason to sleep. Unfortunately, the anti-biotics I was taking were causing me to need to use that commode several times a night. So, I wasn't happy about having to exert so much energy just to take a crap, Tiff wasn't happy because she was(rightfully) scared, and I'm sure the nurse wasn't too happy about having to clean up the potty every time.

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