Tuesday, June 19, 2012

41- Indignation Incarnate

Autumn 2011
The nurses are already waking me up, and it is still dark outside.  I can't remember the last time I had any sleep that was worthwhile.  I have accumulated enough hours of sleep deprivation, it should be illegal.  I know its not healthy, although they wake me to check my vitals, and I have to keep riding this merry-go-round until I don't know when.  I am beginning to wonder if they are ever going to let me out of this place.  "You need to show some improvement before we discuss your discharge", they keep telling me.  Discharge.  Bl-eh.

All of my oompa-loompas are in place, dancing around with their needles, washcloths, thermometers, and blood pressure cuffs.  My entourage's questions are raining on me simultaneously, while I am trying to handle my personal cloud, encompassing my brain like a thick morning fog.  At times, it feels like they have performed a lobotomy while I was out, yet on some occasions I am completely frustrated, and grouchy, and I am not a nice person to be around.  Or, I could be over thinking, I guess.

  One of the nurses discovers that I no longer have a catheter.
"Oh, they took the condom-cat off", the caregiver asks?
I technically don't lie, "I don't need one anymore."
"Alrighty, then", she shrugs.

Another nurse approaches my bed and asks,
"What would like for breakfast, honey?"
"Bacon", I blurt out.
"Ha.  No.  You're on a diet.  I just remembered."
"Shit", I mutter.
"Grits, eggs, toast, coffee..."
I cut her off, "I don't drink coffee.  I have been saying that for two weeks, or however long I've been here.  Can I please have sweet tea this time?"
"OK, sweetie.  Its alright.  We'll bring you some iced tea", she says as she crosses a word off from side to side.
"Sweetened", I reiterate.
"I gotch you, baby."

The head nurse lays out my itinerary for the day, in no particular order, as if there is any chance I will remember which scanning, stabbing, sampling, or manipulation they have planned for me.  For every RN, that injects medicine, or collects blood, there is a student who misses the vein.  During that time, the off target assistant conveniently has a superior over their shoulder watching, who seems more like the school bully teasing, "Ha, ha.  You missed it."
"Ha, ha.  That's hilarious", I say sarcastically. 

When my breakfast arrives, my expectations are low, and the food runner places each item in front of me individually.  First, one bowl of grits, that is clumped into six or seven, asteroid-shaped clusters, all on top of what looks like fire ant eggs, is presented to me.  Then, my plate of yellow eggs, with white stripes throughout, that look like miniature rubber chickens, and are about as chewy.  Followed by, my cubed, hunter green gelatin with some kind of fruit floating inside the jiggling nourishment.

To accompany my delicious, and exquisite breakfast in bed is my, "Careful, this is hot", coffee.  Damn it.  It isn't rational that anything should upset me, but it does.  Besides, this steaming cup of Joe could pass for a mug that was used as an impromptu ash tray last night.

"Hey, sorry, but may I please have some sweet tea instead of the coffee", I plea?
"Yes, sir.  I'll run down, and get that for you", she replies.
"Oh, and some cheese for my grits", I add?
"What kind of cheese you need?"
"You know.  Shredded cheese.  Cheddar, maybe", I suggest.
"What's that look like", she asks?
"What?"  I'm confused.
"We've got white cheese, or orange cheese", she says kindly.
I unintentionally smile at her, "Hm.  Orange, please."

As the request comes out of my mouth, the head nurse walks in.
"Oh, no.  He can't have the orange cheese.  He can't have salt", she corrects the assistant.
"Alright, can I have the white, please", I rasp.

Finally, we have reached an agreement, if not an understanding.  I question myself again, because so many bizarre episodes keep occurring, that it has to be me.

When the cheese lady returns, she has forgotten about the tea, but fulfills my request, "white, shredded, cheese".
As I look at it, I pinch some out with my fingers, and sprinkle it back into the ramekin.
"I can't have salt, right", I state.
"That's right.  I'm sorry", she says sincerely.
"No, don't be", I tell her.

Its Parmesan.

Appalachian Sunset 

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