Tuesday, April 24, 2012

16- The Spark Plug

I've been hearing murmurs and rumors of a physical therapist.  My legs could stand a good stretching out.  I think atrophy is settling in.  It has to be.  This shouldn't be as bad, since I was tapped. Getting all of that fluid out of me will make more room to breathe.  

My food is here, and they're starting to feed me things with substance.  No taste.  I can't have salt.  Not to mention, having a big appetite is not on my medical chart.  When the food comes, I have to get myself in an upright position using the power of the bed, and my paper towel tube sized arms.  This is a project in itself, and I always need help.

 We usually end up situating the bed in a flat position, while I try to pull the head-rail behind me, and push with my feet.  All I need to do is slide my head to the top.  There is nothing in my way except for my own body-weight.  Consequently, an orderly ends up helping, pulling my arms until my head is at the end of the bed.  As we move the bed back to the upright position, the orderly puts one hand on my chest.  

Provided that, I won't slip back down to my rag doll state.
After rolling the food in front of me, and 15 irritating minutes of getting it ready, she's here. She's in her twenties, she's fit, and she has the typical blond, Carolina bob, covering her cranium.  No, I'm so hungry.  Urgh.

She comes into my room, slapping her hands together like a praying mantis.  
"Alright, Donnie!  Are you ready?"
Does she know me already?  Have we done this before?  The answer is yes, when she tells me its just like last time.  I have to try to use the walker, so I can start getting mobile.  Crap, we have done this before."
"OK.  Let me eat first", I say.

She tells me we'll only be a minute, and I can eat when we get back.  My belly's grumble is as loud as my mouth's, and I am cranky.  By the time I get back, this even-par food will be hospital cold when I return.  
The nurse begin to get me in position.  Move down this way as far as you can.  Farther. Farther.  I lift my arms so they can strap the amply sized nurse to my back.  It seems rather impossible that she will fall if I do.  I hope she doesn't.

Now, I stretch my left foot down to the floor with my safe red sock.  Then, I follow with the right, falling onto the walker, but I am somewhat upright.  Today, I have to make it to the nurses station that is a long 10 meters away.  Presently, I am only holding myself up with those flimsy arms, and they try to nudge me forward.  My knees buckle immediately, but I'm strapped in.  The alcoholic myopathy has definitely taken hold.

"Keep your head up.  Lean forward so you don't fall on your back.  Head up.  Lean forward."
I can't make it.  My strength and balance are wasted, and I get a reprieve.  I can eat now, but I'm breathing like I just finished The Cooper River Bridge Run, side by side with a Kenyan.  No eating for me.  I just need to sit, and lean back for a second to catch my breath.
"Mr. Todd, you're going to feel something cold go into your arm.  Its to help you relax."
I say OK, and blink my eyes.
I just missed lunch, again.
Morale boost.

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