Monday, September 28, 2009

CHAPTER 13 SCOTLAND Leaving the hospital

Cherie got her crutches and I got the Zimmer! I am actually able to use it and get around very nicely! It means for me I get off the potty chair and that is wonderful!
I start slow but by the time the day is over I am scooting around nicely and it is so exciting! The girls are cheering me on and it feels good! Now I am getting somewhere!

The day cleaning crew comes in and starts tidying up and cleaning like every morning except this day the cute little lady cleaning has her helper with her and he starts elevating every one's beds up as far as they can go. I am wondering what are they doing? Well I soon see that the cleaning lady is crawling under the beds to dust! When she gets to mine I hang my head over and say that looks scary to me! She grins and says what you have to do to make a livin'! I would be afraid one of those beds might collapse and squish me!

Friday night goes okay and I am still alive to tell about it, the only thing was it was so hot in the hospital during the day and that night.

That Friday Ross was upset because he could not find a tee shirt in the hospital gift shop that said Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.......he said they have them at Mayo Clinic! I told him he was funny!

Richard and Angie came to visit that night and Richard in his English accent told me "we might be late tomorrow afternoon visiting, because they were doing a whiskey tour." I thought he said they might be "lit"! I said you wouldn't do that to me when I am in the hospital would you? !!!!! That is one of the things tourists do in Scotland is go to the Scotch Whiskey distilleries.
Glenlivet distillery


Ross said to me a few days before that they rent Ambulances to get home from the hospital. I said of course they do because everyone drives a bandaid box here! How would you get in one if you had broken bones and could not crunch up!
Richard is always talking about my Denali and the other big cars and trucks we Americans drive around. Well that is okay for them, but I saw what damage little cars and big trucks do while I was in the hospital there. I want a little protection thank you very much!

It is Saturday and about mid afternoon one of the little day nurses aids comes in and walks down to "the girls end" and announces that they need beds and she hates to break up the happy little family but 2 have to go and it isn't Isla
We all looked at each other and I thought we were going to flip. We said to her we aren't going! We refuse to leave Isla there alone without us! She finally got us to say okay, but we would not go if we were not going to be in the same Ward. We were getting closer to going home than Isla and we knew we would have to go through this sooner or later. We both felt terrible to leave Isla there but Isla put up a good front for us.

They took Cherie down first in the wheelchair and our Ward was going to be in Plastic Surgery by the burn unit. Okay, now what kind of plastic surgery do you get in a government hospital I thought to myself?

The nurse got back to take me down and away we went. I tell you I was so nervous about this move. When I got there it was a tiny room with 3 beds in it and mine was an antique version like I had never saw before and it was stuck behind the door. This bed did not even have any way to lift the head of it up and I had to sleep elevated! It's headboard had a hay rack for a method of elevation! You just had to stack pillows on it. Gad, the thing was horrible! Actually our friends we were visiting just had a new grandson and they were showing us the photos of Mom and baby in the hospital when he was born. I made the comment what kind of weird bed is Louise on?

Oh, just like this one! ha ha

Looking up my nose in my hospital bed! You can see the hay rack headboard

Well I am not too keen on my situation down here in this old part of the hospital, but Cherie was just going on. I am visiting with the nurse and she is helping me get settled in. She was fixing me up with some bandages on my knee because it had started oozing water out of my surgical wounds....lots of water...gross..
Same situation the nurses are very nice down here and we did get away from Godzilla and Isla told Cherie maybe she will get fed now she is down there.

In a little while a nurse comes down to talk to Cherie about her complaints over us getting thrown out of our ward upstairs. Well I did not know this yet but when they delivered Cherie to her new room they pushed the wheelchair up to her bed and left her. She asked the nurse "well what do I do now"? The nurse looks at her and said "you get out of that wheelchair and get on your bed". Cherie looks at her and said, "How am I to do that, I can't walk and I just got these crutches an don't know how to use them yet!" and " the next one, Karen, that they are bring down is worse off than me!" Cherie said you should have saw the look on that nurses face then. The nurse told her they said we were ready to go home when Physios ( their term for Physical Therapy) releases them. The toilet down there wasn't a handicapped one so Cherie couldn't even use it! They had to modify it with the cute little raised seat with arms. There wasn't a shower in it either but the nurses were nice.....

Isla emailed (Facebook) Cherie and said no one was taking care of Margaret now and that our beds were still empty. Actually my bed was still empty when I got out of the hospital...........who do you think banished us from Ward 43? They did not need the beds like they said did they!

Okay now we are settled in and this floor is weird. The patients down here are all mentally deranged. There was one woman who tried to get Cherie out of her bed because she said it was hers..... scared her to death since she has a broken hip and sometimes those old people are strong as an ox! She constantly roamed the hall exclaiming "oh, my God" over and over in a dying voice. Creepy and it was dark and gloomy down there too. We had a roommate who had plastic surgery on her abdomen trying to fix some damage from an 8 year old car wreck. So that is the kind of plastic surgery you get in a government hospital. She informed us she never sleeps when she is in the hospital ever. She said I roam the hall and read, so actually she wasn't in the room much that night.

We have our evening visitors and we are telling them our story of the day. Then when visiting hours are over it gets creepy again. Cherie and I are laying in the beds and the lady is doing her chanting and you could hear the sound of a TV muffled and what sounded like someone banging a tin cup on jail bars.... I said to Cherie " Cherie do you think we are really in plastic surgery or are we in the NUT HOUSE? I did not sleep much that night because I was afraid to shut my eyes!

The next morning I am sitting up in my bed and I am thinking I am getting out of this place today one way or another! I was getting depressed and Cherie says "Karen, what are you thinking?" I told her I was getting a little depressed and she said I want you to snap out of it!" and I did. I told the nurse I wanted out of there today and she said that it was Sunday and Monday was a holiday and Physios aren't working today. I said well you better find some of them today.

The nurse comes in and sends me down the hall to the room of a gal named Karen and her roommate who have a good shower and they won't mind us using it. Okay, I thought that odd but I hobbled down on my Zimmer and to the shower I went. When I got there I saw Karen and asked if it okay I took a shower. She nodded and tried to smile. Karen obviously had been burned very badly over her entire chest and body area with half on her lower face. She was so thin and a fair redhead and I wondered what tragedy had befallen her. It was obvious she had been there for a long time because her scars were not fresh, they were healed. While in the shower I discovered the Zimmer made a great towel rack.

When Cherie went for her turn I told her, to leave her crutches this time and take the Zimmer, it makes a great towel rack and you will need it. She zipped off and went to shower.

Then two gals from Physio showed up to give me crutches. I took to them really well and they said the would be back and where was the Zimmer? Oh, that, Cherie took it to use as a towel rack and you can pick it up when you come to give me my stairs test with crutches. You could not get out of the hospital until you could climb stairs on your crutches. So Cherie and I got our crutches test and passed! I was going to be free to go!!!! Ross arrived about then and I told him I was getting out of the hospital where were Richard and Angela? He said on their way back to Banchory.
Ross called them and they said they would turn around and come back. Well the bad news it took hours to get dismissed from the hospital.

Ross went down to the nurses station and informed her our beds upstairs were still empty. He said the nurse was very annoyed they told her a white lie about Cherie and myself and why they needed us in their ward.

I wanted to go back upstairs to tell Isla goodbye, but I knew I would cry and not want to leave her. It was late and Richard and Angela had waited long enough. I was going to miss my best Scottish girlfriends Cherie and Isla, I had known them only a week but we had gone through what seemed much longer and lots of pain together. We celebrated our small accomplishments in our own recovery.
We had hooked up on Facebook to keep in touch with each other in the future and Cherie made me promise if I came back to find them. I will you can count on that. Cherie was going home on Monday if she could get a ride in an Ambulance, but is was a labor holiday on Monday in just Aberdeen, so I am not sure if she had to wait until Tuesday or not.

It was one of the worst and one of the best experiences of my life all wrapped up into one package...
I had so many people praying for me from home for my recovery and I am also very thankful to them for that. I truly felt their power of prayer, and I felt so bad that they were all so upset. I had phone calls to my bedside and Ross's cell while I was in the hospital from my in-laws and my church stake President and my Relief Society President. I love them all and I couldn't have made it without their support from the homefront.

Now it is time to see Scotland on Crutches!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thank goodness for Friends Chapter 12

Typical of most of our days in the hospital it went fine.

My visitors were Ross (who came at 2 and never left except for the designated no visiting hours between 3 pm and 7pm.

The poor guy just out wandering around and trying to find something to do. He had told me the day before he met a woman who was there because her husband was in a horrible motorcycle accident over by Skibo Castle where they live.

The horrible thing was he was in a coma, but he had just came out after a week an she was so excited! They had both trying to find something to eat and found the cafeteria together and she had asked him if he were an American.. He told me she was nice, but she was wearing black and orange! I had to smile because Ross is very conservative, but he should be used to individuality in women's clothing by now...after all he married me!

She came by to see us in my room that evening and she was so cute and sweet, I liked her a lot! She wanted to know what we had planned on doing after I got out of the hospital. We told her we were going to Ft. William and the Scottish Highlands. She said do you know about the wee MIDGE'S and to look out for them? We did experience them and they are like a mosquito.

I just wish I could remember her name I would have liked to kept up with them. I saw her the next day also and she came in and we hugged and chatted it up.
My little angels Cherie and Isla wanted to know if I was related to her...

I cracked up to myself, because when I said, I just had met her the day before I think they thought I was odd being that friendly with a stranger. We were all there under duress with sick spouses in a strange place, so you show your feeling more when you are.

Richard and Angie came to visit bringing goodies to me. They are so very generous and brought me things all week. My favorite were the wonderful Thompson seedless grapes I devoured especially when I was on food strike! This evening I was presented with the most yummy box of chocolates from Thornton's and more grapes. I told them all about our "favorite Godzilla" nurse and they all checked her out.

Things had not changed with Godzilla this evening either. The weird thing is the nurses aids were not very friendly now either. Godzilla came in to give me my next to the last IV antibiotic to be pushed into my hand. I was thinking I will be so glad to get done with that IV tomorrow! IV Antibiotic time, Godzilla came in and pushed so hard that the antibiotic squrted out from under my IV bandage all over me! She then said to me, "oh we have to get the IV nurse in here to get a new one put in". I naturally said," not necessary because they can make up tomorrow morning with pills. She said no, I will talk to the doctor about it. I know she did it on purpose, but I didn't give it to her....I knew never to do that to her I was not strong enough to defend myself and I wanted to go to sleep sometime that night!

I had been given the okay to get up on a potty chair after they took my leg bandage off. That was no easy task to accomplish either.. I asked a nurse to help me get on it. She pulled the curtain and wasn't too helpful and said to call when I wanted back in
bed.... I said okay. This was about 1 am I believe, I called for a nurse, none came. I decided to help myself back into the bed which I accomplished somehow...still don't know how I did it. My leg dangling from a potty chair not supported hurt like the devil so I took my chances. I hung on to the railing and drug my self up there. I perched myself in the bed and wasn't sleepy so I got on the computer to type a few emails.

In about two hours I heard Cherie making her way to the restroom and her Zimmer was screeching. On the way back I heard her and thought she was having a problem. I couldn't see her because the curtain was still pulled around my bed. I said "Cherie are you okay" She said "yes I am okay". I laughed and said her Zimmer sure was hollering!

It was about that time Godzilla jerked open my curtain and started telling me to shut up and why was my curtain drawn!

She said I was going to wake someone. Well we had 3 of them that didn't hear too well and 2 of them talked in there sleep with night terrors!

I let her have it then, I said your help left me on the potty, no one came when I called, and I had to drag myself into bed and I can't walk. So do you want to be responsible for that damage and then there was this issue of the IV getting blown out of my hand. I said it all in a very nice way, and that surely ticked her off more.

When she stormed out Cherie told me she told them she hated my voice and she could not stand it.

When I told Ross, Angela and Richard the next day he said
," what is there not to like about a sweet American southern drawl?

gotta love it

Yes and I did get my new IV in before that night was over.......

to be continued. . . . . . . . .

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Some Scary Nights in Scotand

It is now 7:15 PM and time for shift change.

The night aids came around nice and friendly to see us.

I called for my pain pill and marching in the room about half way down the ward came this BIG nurse.

As I watched her I wondered where she was from, I thought to myself she might be from Samoa or Hawaii. Then about that time she turned her head toward me and slowed her pace down, and then

"Oh, it's the Americano", which was okay, until she stammered and said "We call all Americans that in the Philippines.

I then knew by her demeanor and actions it was meant to be derogatory towards me and it had slipped out before she thought.

I believe she would not like any American no matter who they were and she never called any of us by our names.

All the nurses up to this point called all of us by our given names and we did the same.

I never knew her name, but I named her.............


That evening my pain was terrible. My leg hurt so bad I thought I was going to go nuts. I had to have my pain pill every hour like I had started earlier. My new nurse did not like that because it meant she had to be on her feet and moving more delivering my medications. Our pill cart usually came every evening just after shift change. On her shift our pills wer always an hour or more. That just meant we all had to lie in pain longer. The aids wer fine but they were not a fast a mover as the others we had had so far.

My IV's are push IV's not drip. which meant they administered them with a syringe in my IV port in my hand just like a shot. They were 4 tubes and the antibiotic was pushed in slow as they could. Well, I did not know the reason for that, but I now do. You go slowly because if you do not the patient gets nausea and can throw up or faint. Well not little Miss Godzilla, she used all 500 lbs of body weight and 6 feet of height to shoot that antibiotic in me as fast as she could. Let me tell you that was not pleasant but the good news was I did not get sick.

I was telling Cherie and Isla about her and they said "why didn't you tell her you had a name and how she hurt you with the IV?". I said to Cherie, " I am not about to make her mad at me because she is the one giving me my medicine and she could do me in if she wanted" She had her mind made up about me before she ever saw me.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Things are a Changin ' in SCOTLAND Chapter 9

Thursday was a day of a lot of pain for me. I was convinced under the huge dressing covering my leg it was going to be black flesh, it hurt too badly for it not to be. My pain level was so bad I needed my morphine pill every hour. It would wear off in 45 minutes.

I was anxious for them to take the dressing off my leg so I could see it. I was not able to lift my leg at all at this point. The swelling of my right leg was huge!

I had finally started to eat my food, my stand off had ended to a degree over solid food. I did have to ask Cherie and Isla what some of the food was. I asked what Cold Gammon was and they told me it was like thick bacon (Canadian bacon.). I did not want that it sounded to fishy to me.

The food was good enough when you got it. For some reason there were several meals that Cherie did not get, and then when she would tell them they would offer her something she did not like. Isla did not eat well at all because she has severe soy allergies. I did not realize how much food really contains soy that you don’t realize.

I was worried about the 93 year old occupying the bed next to me. She had stopped eating the day before. She was waiting on surgery to fix her broken hip. She had stopped eating or drinking anything. I noticed she had red stripes had started

running down her cheeks. I told her family my concerns and they thanked me.

We had these TV/Internet/telephones that were a piece of junk! The keyboard was hard to work and the keys were little and stiff. The TV had 20 versions of the same game show as far as I could tell. I only turned it on twice, and they charged a fortune to use it.

Today was the start of the weekend shift and Allison was our day floor nurse. She was about 50 years old and a real character. She reminded me of a young Lauren Bacall. She took good care of our needs and spent time talking to us. She was always there in good time if you needed her. All the nurses called us by our first names in the hospital and we called them by theirs. It gave it a pleasant feeling to be on a first name basis.

Shift Change was at 7:15 PM and that was when I was about to meet the only person I had encountered that scared me.

To be continued………

Friday, September 4, 2009

Chapter 8 SCOTLAND

Man, I bet you would like me to decide to post on a regular basis!
Well truthfully I would too! I have had some small problems that hit me in a big way since I had surgery...

Foremost being I have been on Pain Pills for 2 months and I am trying to get off of them...
Not so pretty because it makes you ornery! For some reason you
don't sleep much after sleeping and being sedated for 2 solid months!

I have to laugh about it because no one else around me was....
I thought I was the center of attention,
Didn't you get that memo?

Okay, back to Scotland

I had my emergency surgery Tuesday night July 7th.
On July 8th I found out I do not like bedpans...

Okay, now you know that. Then by about Wednesday the cart nurse (who brings all the pills you are to take for PAIN and such) started trying to give you pills to loosen up your bowels.

Well, I told you I don't like bedpans....
They sure aren't going to get into that whole ball of wax!
I would take my laxative pills and I got real creative with hiding them in my toast,
or in my night stand. I know they would just give me the stomach ache,
but I am not going to take a chance of the other thing a bedpan!

They took blood samples to check the infection levels every day. It was Thursday the the 9th that my blood work came back that the infection was better in my blood,
thank goodness for all the prayers being said for me at home!

Today, Thursday Cherie was able to get out of bed with a Zimmer.
( fancy smancy word for a walker in Scotland)
I said what is a Zimmer, and they laughed their heads off! Cherie said," Karen it helps you walk!
" I said "well, in Oklahoma that is a walker and they cracked up laughing!"
Isla said "Karen you are too funny"....
After that I called it a Zephyr and that really got them laughing....
The girls would say "Karen, a Zephyr is a car!"

giggle, giggle, giggle

I love those 2 girls!

To be continued. . . . . . . . . .