A Patient Point Of View

So it has been awhile since I last wrote anything. I meant to start back sooner, but the more time that went by, the harder it became. A bad case of writer’s block. Also, I thought after a wait so long, that the first post back should be something either very funny, odd or profound, though, oddly, I don’t think people think of me as very funny or profound. My mental jury is still out on the odd part. But then I had the sort of fluke experience that offers  insight and a new appreciation and empathy for what people often go through.

It began with a trip to the emergency room Sunday night at 3 a.m. with a hugely distorted swollen face and neck, difficulty swallowing and a fear of eventually not being able to breathe. I was fortunate that our sleepy hamlet’s hospital’s ER was empty, but everyone who worked in the ER came in to see me because, as one nurse put it, “We’ve never seen anything like this before.”

The nurses discussed my white blood count in tones that made me a little afraid. (My count was 19 and 10.5 is considered the high end of normal.) After the results of a CT scan came back, the ER doctor (a short man with thick, longish silver hair) came bounding into the room with what seemed to be giddy excitement and said, “This is beyond our capabilities. We don’t have an ENT that can handle this, but we’ve called Shands and talked to the ENT in the ER and we will be transferring you there.”

Shands is a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Florida located in Gainesville. Gainesville is about an hour and a half drive from where we were. The ER doctor told me I had to go by ambulance because he was afraid I might begin to have difficulty breathing and need to intubated. The EMT would be monitoring my vitals throughout the ride.

I arrived at Shands’ ER at 8 a.m. and within three hours, a procedure was done with local anesthesia. I was admitted to the hospital and put in an isolation room because I was septic with an elevated heart rate and they needed to determine the exact type of bacteria that had caused the infection. I can’t say enough about the level of care I got at Shands or what I learned about bacterial infections except “outstanding” on the former and “enlightening” on the latter.  I may go into more detail in another post.

I have a new appreciation for what people with physical deformities must go through as I could see the looks on people’s faces as I was wheeled through the emergency room and taken to what I started calling my little cell. I also have a new appreciation for what people with chronic pain experience. I was in pain before I got to the first ER and it just seemed to get more intense as time went on. When pain is significant, it is hard to focus on other things. They started me on morphine shortly after I arrived at Shands and I was told I could have more every two hours, as needed.

I am a person who rarely gets sick and can’t remember the last time I sought out a doctor because of an illness. I have visited friends and relatives in the hospital over the years, but you really can’t appreciate what they’re going through. It looks much different from a hospital bed. And it is a scary feeling especially when it takes a couple of days to determine exactly what is wrong. The last time I was a patient in a hospital was almost 50 years ago when my tonsils were removed. Come to think of it, it was a scary experience then, too.

Since I was a three hour roundtrip from where I lived, I knew visitors would be few and far between. But what I think made a tremendous difference is the friends that responded with texts and calls and even a visit when I reached out to them. It helped keep my spirits up and even though it was difficult to talk (and eat) and we tended to talk about what had happened to me, it eased my fears and made me realized how loved I am.

While I have tried to thank everyone personally, I really must tell the world how great you are. Thanks to Kevin and Jean for coming to visit that first afternoon and Jean for calling each day to check on me. A huge thank you to Gwen who came with Kevin and Jean and drove my sleep deprived, surely frightened 82 year old mom home, and then brought her to visit me on Wednesday and for all of the texts and calls. (As a side note it took my mother almost five hours to drive to Shands because she got lost several times in Gainesville and was a bit overwhelmed by the “big city” traffic.)  Also, many thanks to Ronnie, James, Susan, Kim, DJ, Scott and Tom for your texts and calls. You guys rock!

It is good to be back home. And that shower shortly after I arrived home (the first since Sunday morning and the first opportunity to wash my hair) never felt better. The swelling is almost gone and the pain is barely noticeable. I’m still bandaged and on the antibiotic for eight more days.

I will never again hesitate to visit a friend in the hospital. I know firsthand the emotional benefit. Life can be random and sometimes difficult but knowing you are loved and cared for can make the difference.

I’ll close with a picture of the sign the girls in my tap class made when they learned why I wasn’t there on Tuesday night. When I finally got home Thursday afternoon and checked my email, their picture brought a smile to my face. It was also the only time I ever regretted not having a smartphone as I wasn’t able to see it sooner.

Thanks again to all the special people in my life. And thank you for reading.

My dancing peeps, Emily, Katie and Liz. (Rachel was absent that night)

My dancing peeps, Emily, Katie and Liz. (Rachel was absent that night)

 

 

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F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES IS HERE!

I’m now a twice published author thanks to H.E. Ellis! If you like your fairy tales slightly or completely f*cked up then you’ll enjoy this book. All proceeds go to charity!

H.E. ELLIS

  • Has the stress of facing the holiday season alone got you down?
  • Are you dreading another Thanksgiving Day dinner defending your recreational life choices to your staunch Republican (insert Military Branch Rank of your choice here) Father?
  • Tired of being seated between your fighter pilot/Sunday school teacher/Abercombie & Finch model big brother and your half-dead Grandmother who smells like cheese?

WELL HAVE I GOT A SOLUTION FOR YOU!

From the warped and creative minds of the Blogosphere’s most talented writers comes a retelling of classic fables and fairy tales, each one more twisted than the last. F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES is the first of a two eBook novella series created by THE BLOGGER COLLECTIVE, a talented group of participating authors from around the Blogosphere. It’s childhood as you never remembered it. 

BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE!

F*CKED UP FAIRY TALES  is guaranteed to make your brother come out of the closet while…

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A Chicken Tender Comes Home To Poop

So I can now add chicken tender to my resume. I just returned (though the actual returning occurred last night, but ‘just returned’ gives it the sort of out-of-breathlessness that it really doesn’t need, but I digress and it’s only the second sentence) from the land of sketchy internet service and no cell reception. Yes, I was goat herding again, along with horse feeding and cat whispering.

But this time, there were chickens. Three of them. In case you were wondering, all chickens do is eat, poop and lay eggs though I’m not sure of the exact order. These are not free range chickens though they used to be free range but if they ranged free here, they would be coyote food, so they are in a little chicken coop. Of course, by ‘here’ I mean ‘there’ because I didn’t bring the chickens home with me.

The chickens laid their eggs during the day in a straw-filled covered kitty litter box in the coop. In the evening, after herding goats into the barn and feeding horses, I would collect the eggs, scrape chicken poop  and turn the kitty litter box around so the chickens couldn’t get in there during the night because if they did they would poop in it. Apparently, chickens are like cats and people and prefer privacy when pooping.  I can’t say that I blame them.

My hair stylist (though I’m not sure my hair has a style as I just let it do what it does best which is hang) is also a chicken tender. She says she spreads the chicken poop in her garden. I didn’t do that. I just scraped it off the tray that lined the bottom of the coop into the pasture next to the coop. There’s also horse poop and goat poop in the pasture because horses and goats aren’t that picky about where they poop.

Do you know what other animal isn’t picky about where they poop? Frogs! After being gone for a couple of weeks, my front porch had quite a bit of frog poop on it. Yes, those cute little tree frogs are pooping machines and they like to poop on my porch. There’s not frog poop on my porch now because I swept it off before I started writing this.

I don’t know about you, but after dealing with all that poop, I’m a bit pooped but I did want to give you the straight poop on chicken poop.

 

A Free Safety Meditates On The Redundant Way

So, about a month or so ago, I last posted and in that post that last I posted I said that I was back. Apparently, that turned out to be less than true. This, of course, is assuming that true is not an absolute. I like to think that it is an absolute though there are times when it seems a bit ambiguous and I am always surprised when I like ambiguous truth.

In my defense and it bothers me a bit to think that I feel a need to offer a defense, so maybe there should be a better phrase than ‘in my defense,’ but since I can’t think of one as I’m typing this, I’ll stick with the ever so popular defensive position, but not the safety position I played on a college powder puff team, but the one that goes something like ‘at the time I wrote it, I really had every intention of writing more…..’

I’m sure most people have figured out I’m not great with intentions, though again, the free safety in me feels the need to add my intentions are typically good or well intended which isn’t the same as well attended. If I had been attending to my intentions, my intentions would have become actions because I would have been attending to all those things one must do to turn an intention into action. Of course, one must know what all of those things are and I don’t, so that’s a problem. I think I may have Intention Deficit Disorder. I’m going to start telling people I have IDD.

It’s possible that the problem is I’ve been so very busy with all of the things I do when I’m not writing that I haven’t had time to write. It’s also possible we won’t be bombing Syria but I’m not holding my breath on that one. Let’s just say I’m having difficulty accounting for all of my time.

I took a class on meditation because I wanted to see what it was about. It was about meditation. We did a bit of it. My left foot fell asleep. I did leave the class with the intention of meditating each and every day because that’s the redundant way. And I did meditate for about fifteen minutes the very next day. Of course, that was about six months before my last post so that was one well intended but not well attended intention. Like I said or wrote, I’ve got IDD and I’ve got it bad.

Or maybe not so bad, because I did acquire a DVD course on mindfulness and meditation though not because I want to be mindful about how I’m not meditating but because I want to be more mindful and thus meditate more or maybe I want to meditate more and thus become more mindful. (I should probably figure out what I want.) I’ve watched 6 lectures so far and those of you who might recall I don’t always do things in order will be pleased to know that I am watching them in order because I will do things in order when it makes sense to be orderly and in this sense it did. Of course, lecture 6 was the one that told us to actually begin daily meditation. It suggested that one not proceed with the lectures until a daily habit has been established. I watched lecture 6 three weeks ago. I haven’t watched lecture 7 yet.

Again, the free safety in me wants to add that the lecturer in lecture 6 who is the same guy in all of the lectures but you couldn’t know that for sure which is why I told you said that establishing a daily practice might take some time. Clearly, he has known some IDD sufferers. This IDD sufferer meditated three days in row after watching lecture 6. SInce then it has been a day here and a day there, but not everyday and the last day was at least a week ago though I can’t remember the exact day. I really have no excuse or explanation though some might argue this post is some sort of an explanation. And they might be right about that.

So clearly, I have not been meditating. So what have I been doing? I fed a hot dog to a great blue heron. Twice. Though it really only took a few minutes each time so I probably shouldn’t have mentioned it except that it was cool or frio  if you speak Spanish and I don’t though I know ‘frio’ means cold or maybe cool. Do Spanish speaking people saying ‘Es frio’ the way we say ‘It’s cool?’ I don’t know. But I’ve spent time wondering about it.

I’ve also been shooting the next door neighbor’s cat. With insulin. The cat’s diabetic. But again, it only takes  a few minutes every twelve hours. I only have to do it one more time. Until the next time my neighbor goes out of town. And I’ve only done it a couple of days so, again, not a huge amount of my time.

And while I haven’t been holding my breath on the Syria bombing thing, I have been calling my congressmen (and yes, all three of them are men) and sending them and the White House emails asking them not to involve us in someone else’s civil war as nothing good will come from it. Yes, I think the use of chemical weapons is deplorable though I think the use of ALL weapons is deplorable hence my reluctance to lob bombs. At some point we need to stop the perpetual war machine that we have created. And now seems as good a time as any to begin that process.

I seemed to have gotten off topic and don’t really know how to end this post so I’ll just say thanks for reading though I didn’t say it so much as wrote it.

Happy trails to you……….and thanks for reading.

Because Sometimes You Have To Get A Little Dirty

So some of you, or possibly only one of you, may have been wondering about the status of the big pile of dirt since last I recounted dirt filled tales. I am happy to report that the big pile of dirt is approximately half its original size though unchanged since my last dirty report.

Because I haven’t been shoveling dirt lately. Because when people say it’s a jungle out there they might be talking about parts of my yard. Because the area that the remainder of the dirt is destined for is still in its uncleared, vine choked state. Because I was slow in getting bids to clear the vines. Because I am reluctant to do the vine clearing myself. Because some of the vines are poison ivy or have nasty thorns, not to mention the possibility of encountering snakes of the venomous kind of which three kinds have been sighted in or near my yard. Because I hate doing that sort of thing with that sort of thing being both dangerous vine clearing and getting bids to clear dangerous vines.

I took a chance in the previous paragraph and used a literary device known as beginning every sentence with ‘because’ because I figured you might have questions and I would read your collective minds though I know I say just above the comment box that I don’t read minds but sometimes I think maybe I can, so I did, and then I answered them but without writing out the questions because you were already thinking them and that would be redundant, so you’re welcome for the lack of redundancy. Now the bids have been gathered and the tree people (though not the Treebeard tree people) will be here Wednesday to do all the clearing of vines and trees that pose a danger to the house and then dirt shoveling will resume.

In other news, I spent the previous 24 hours with my best friend for what may be the last time as he is moving 1320 miles away on Thursday and we won’t see each other again before then. I’m bummed but not sad. I think the sadness might hit later. But we did have a good time yesterday afternoon and last night and this morning. We ended our time together with a motorcycle ride. Top speed for a very short stretch  – 105 mph – woohoo!

I wanted to have a picture of him on his bike, but he wanted to take a picture of me on his bike, so this is me on his bike.

I wanted to have a picture of him on his bike, but he wanted to take a picture of me on his bike, so this is me on his bike. I know it almost looks like I’m riding it, but I’m not. He wanted me to stand the bike up and balance on it but I couldn’t because it weighs a ton or felt like it did and I’m a very little person, but not a dwarf.

Big Pile Of Dirt – Day Four – Chocolate Rabbit Edition

And to think, I could have spent my morning decapitating a chocolate rabbit. But, nooooo. Instead of decapitating a chocolate rabbit, I was spreading dirt. Of course, some of you might be thinking I could spend my afternoon on chocolate rabbit decapitations and I could if I had a chocolate rabbit to decapitate. Sadly, once again, the Easter Bunny passed over my house without depositing a chocolate rabbit. Passover is such a sad celebration, although it’s quite possible that chocolate rabbits have nothing to do with Passover, which is too bad, because the chocolate rabbit decapitations are the best part of any celebration especially if that celebration involves chocolate rabbits.

In other news, the big pile of dirt is marginally smaller than it was yesterday.

This is not a chocolate rabbit because I didn't get a chocolate rabbit, but this is my rabbit sand sculpture. I think it's safe to say I should stick to spreading dirt rather than sculpting dirt.

This is not a chocolate rabbit because I didn’t get a chocolate rabbit, but this is my rabbit sand sculpture that I sculpted in the big pile of dirt. I think it’s safe to say I should stick to spreading dirt rather than sculpting dirt.

Big Pile Of Dirt – Day Three – Bobcat Edition

It's still a big pile of dirt, but it is less big than it was yesterday.

It’s still a big pile of dirt, but it is less big than it was yesterday.

So this morning I debated whether or not to take shovel in hand and do what one does when one has a shovel in one’s hand because I’ve added sore arms to my sore back and sore legs. I thought perhaps a day of rest might be in order. But after breakfast and a few stretches to warm my muscles, I headed out for round three of dirt spreading.

I know I’m making progress but it still seems like a big pile of dirt in the yard. Of course, some of it depends on the angle. From the best angle it appears that the big pile of dirt is almost half as big as when I started so that’s the angle I like to look at it from.

In other news, after I finished my dirt spreading for today, I was sitting on my back porch and noticed a bobcat walking through the yard. By the time, I got my camera, he was disappearing into the underbrush at the back of the property. It was one of the best wild life sightings in my yard ever! Of course, then I started wondering if he was using the big pile of dirt as a litter box but I haven’t been out to investigate.

This

This is the angle I like to look at the big pile of dirt from because from this angle it looks to be half the size of what it looked like from every angle at the beginning of Day One.