Part II: The Weight of It All / Evaluated / Covid Spreads

October 29th, 2021

I decided to bypass "Part 1: The Everlasting Super Downer" for fear of losing my audience. I hadn't realized how ugly things may seem from the reader's perspective until rereading it just now.

I also bypassed "Last Chance to Abandon Ship" - which was intended to be my original Tuesday blog posting, but that's a relationship revelation focused affair, and far worse than Part 1's revelation/epiphany subject matter.

So that leaves us with a more uplifting read…

Part II

Wednesday

I'm All Wet

Utilizing my filthy bed sheet, three staff members pulled me onto the shower bed, before wheeling me out of my room. And in this foreign corridor I moved upon wheels effortlessly gliding across the white tile flooring. I saw things. I saw people. I saw staff lounging around, enjoying snacks while playing with their phones. I saw the nurses station (I think). I saw false window frames that revealed all of nothing. And then into a strange room I was hastily brought.

Although I shivered uncontrollably when wet, the overall sensation wasn't all that unpleasant.. lukewarm water running over me, then ice cold liquid soap drizzled chest to toes, before a warm water rinsing. My hair was aptly managed as well.

Towels were draped across me, and the shivering eventually stopped. I chatted with the staff. I looked around at these different surroundings. I briefly cried. And I almost felt human.

"I'm clean!" I declared aloud as I passed those same staff members on my way back to the room.

I mostly enjoyed my first shower experience since October 1st, 2015. It did take a couple of hours to coordinate. During the immediate hours leading up to the event, I conserved energy as best I could.. motionless, eyes closed, not thinking, shielding both sound and light. And perhaps that helped.

On the way back to my room, I also saw outside, as my physical therapist wheeled me past the patio area. I explained to her that I hadn't been outside in more than six years, besides ambulance trips to the hospital and such. So she asked if she could help change that, offering to stop by my room (every so often) to bring me outdoors. I answered "yes" emphatically.

I won't get too excited about that possibility yet. Maybe it won't be allowed. But the thought counts for something. Sometimes it really does. People tend not to think about me all that much in real life.

Weigh Not?

Well, this is the problem. After further review, the staff believes I am nowhere near 130lbs. And that makes sense. Out of necessity, I stopped eating orally in February (complete blockage/intestinal obstruction?).. and lost between 300 - 500 calories per day, which adds up over time.

To confirm this weight loss theory, I took some selfies for comparison sake. And yes indeed, I've once again become skeletal. But I have a plan.

If I increase my formula by one bottle each day, that would cover for the missing calories (adding one-third of a bottle per daily feed). My original concern, and reason for not having done this already, has much to do with overall hydration. More formula means less water (by percentage and overall). And my water intake already runs very low.

They said they have a nutritionist here, so I'll see if I can track her down (yes, everyone here is a woman, but fortunately not the same woman). But I think I'll have to run a little more dehydrated to put on weight.

Noise Reduction

Today they brought a massive haul into our room.. a large red refrigerator, all kinds of unhealthy snack foods, and a flat screen TV, all for my roommate (purchased by his daughters).

The best part? Headphones! YES YES YES YES YES!!!!! You heard that right… or perhaps you didn't.. if you are wearing headphones. Anyway, I experienced a silent night, despite the ever-flashing television screen.

As an added bonus, Jeff offered to purchase applesauce and/or pickled relish for me (to keep in the refrigerator), so I wouldn't have to ask anybody in particular for help. He now has money on the books to buy whatever he wants.

"Anything to help out my roomie," he says.

Dead Cows Don't Moo

What's really helped is that, in a sudden bout of frustration, he ingloriously massacred his barnyard animals yesterday.. with his fists! His anger was due to a combination of not getting his pain meds (again), technical difficulties, and having had his sheep fleeced by an unknown assailant.. someone named Bo Beep. Anyway, the tablet never stood a chance. And the cows went down hard.

Thursday

Hair Hair

By the way, my hair on my head is plain brown. Not black. Not anymore. Perhaps it will lighten up with each additional washing. Dirty blonde? Pure white?

Supplies I Demand

I met with the brand new nursing director yesterday. And I explained things.. things about my formula supplies. I have three bottles of formula left. Two 4x4 bandages. Eleven cotton swabs. Seven squirts of hand sanitizer, etc.

I asked if I should be ordering these and other medical supplies myself?

Hmmm.. I don't think this woman took kindly to my suggestion (body language indications), nor the additional suggestions I offered (re: receiving my feeding formula in a timely fashion).

To remedy my "running out of needed supplies" problem, she'll have the Noc Nurse (overnight shift nurse) run through a checklist every Tuesday evening with me.

Shot Down

In regards to my formula feed suggestion, she said that the CNA's aren't allowed to perform any medically related tasks (even at home, caregivers weren't supposed to be assisting with my formula feeding). So I get it. It's just that I need the nurses to perform the task within a certain timeframe, and it's not always happening. And it needs to happen. I need the calories. Sure enough, yes I do!

OK Mom

My elderly mother endured Part II of the plastic surgery yesterday. Apparently my little sister couldn't come down the mountain (due to unknown reasons likely never to be mentioned), but thankfully my niece was able to cover. And most importantly (for her), my mother said everything looks a lot better now.. plus, she felt okay overall.

Positive is Negative

Another one of our nurses tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday. She was frequently in our room Tuesday afternoon, so we've been testing twice daily ever since.. instead of every other day. We are playing a dangerous form of Russian Roulette here.

In any case, lockdown continues for our specific unit for an additional two weeks. And now a resident down the hall just tested positive, too. So they are only allowing a limited number of staff into our rooms.

Re-evaluated

For fear of being institutionalized, or possibly being medicated against my will, I spoke carefully with the Director of Psychiatry (apparently, from some local institution), and she seemed especially curious about recent attitudes and events. She's going to introduce my case to the head psychologist (my torso is in fine shape, by the way), who shall in turn, use me as a character reference.

Honestly, I lost track of what all was happening and discussed in the midst of my being intently eyeballed. I was instead (more or less) focusing on the Director.. trying to get a better read.. she seemed to be plotting.

I am not typically a paranoid person, but sometimes you sense things.

Untrue Love

I just realized today that I am in love with the blonde wound care nurse (No, I am not really, as this "love" is merely a figure of speech.. because as you've likely guessed, all of my love recently evaporated like a puddle in the all-day desert sun.. so I have none to give).

Not only does Wound Care Nurse have a fantastic voice (imagine, a similar vocal range as Winona Ryder's), her personality is dynamic as hell. I cracked up three separate times today while in her immediate presence, listening to her speak and interact with my cranky-time roommate. Wound Care Nurse offers slightly atypical responses to questions asked, but she's not too far off the beaten path. Either way, you really need to pay attention to what she's saying or else you'll miss something, a subtle nuance or the clever turning of a phrase. Yes, it's necessary to listen to her entire completed sentences, just to be sure. When most people speak, it takes only a word or three before I am able to determine where their words are headed. A matter of chronic predictability.

Wound Care Nurse also says the things that need to be said, without candy-coating or donut-dusting. The words seem to flow out naturally unobstructed. Plus, she's got a knack for quick-witted retorts. And it's darned refreshing. Indeed, Wound Care Nurse is an intriguing human.

I last experienced a woman like her back in 2006. Ellisa. A person I met while karaoke singing in South Scottsdale (she was good, while I was very average). Still, I boldly approached her. And the rest is history. Very long ago history. But she had that same kind of energy and flow as Wound Care Nurse, a bubbling sort of buoyancy. A floatation device for the wannabe charmed, and those desiring to be transfixed.

Blasted from the Past

My roommate has his television activated, and the sound isn't all that loud (although I can hear it clearly through my ear muffs). And then on top of that, he is playing crap-ass country music on his laptop computer with impressive volume. Plus, 100-year-old woman is intermittently scat-croaking her siren song across the hallway. And then, now.. all of a sudden… they are power cleaning the hallway with something resembling a zamboni machine (the kind they use to smooth and resurface hockey ice at ice hockey games).

If murder were on my agenda. I'd be murdering right about now. So instead, since I cannot momentarily escape this painful reality, I shall instead slip into my own self-administered isolation chamber of gloom. I'm gonna go FULL Jute Gyte! Headphones blasting my brain bits into oblivion.

Well okay, technically, it would be more of an implosion.

*Jute Gyte play Experimental Black Metal utilizing microtonal tunings, while deploying unnatural rhythms. For me, their music is very emotionally impactful.. sounds penetrating my inner being. An oddly familiar dissonance.

¡NOT recommended!

I may post the events leading up to this series of events later (Part I) -

I've yet to sleep (it's 4:16am).

Take care,
Howard

Comments

Good Morning @Howard.....Well, it's hard to know if things are better or worse for you at the moment. Certainly the nurses appear to be in your good books.

If Jeff will "Do anything for his buddy," why doesn't he turn the TV off during the night? Is this guy still sleeping during the daytime? Well, at least he's glad to have you around and he's closer to the 100 yr. old dazzling dame & her singing than you are! Good luck on that one. Don't bother to tell him that I said "hi."

And the mooing, etc., exactly how strong is this guy? Or does he have an old-fashioned rage disorder? Why is a man his age into barnyard sounds to begin with? Well, I'm glad he's keeping your relish for you....and how generous can you be! Offering to even buy it....or have his daughters steal it from the local McDonald's.

See, now you want to befriend those daughters when/if they're allowed in again if there is a new wave of COVID (wretched luck). Are there any other forbidden drinks you may want? How does a Guinness sound? Pretend like you're in a pub in Ireland or England. Even if you can't taste it, it's going in and making you happy.....one hopes. My mother used to drink it on the recommendation of a Dr. after she had her lung removed. She was exceptionally thin also. It's loaded with calories...the good kind.

Well you can join me in the Irritating Insomnia Idiots. This has been going on for about 35 yrs. I'm really lucky if I can get 2-3 hrs./night. So many of us seem to have this problem....and there's no magic wand or pill!! However, Howard, you'll be happy to know that there is still a Tooth Fairy, so bear that in mind and if you have your teeth pulled, have them saved and put them under your pillow. Be sure to mention this to a nurse! Very Important to do so.

And being clean? Is there a greater feeling in the world? And a shampoo, too? You should be able to go outside, but I wouldn't do it on the same day as your bath/spray.....whatever. What are the COVID restrictions like in your "interim place of residence."

Thinking of you; alas not dreaming. Yours, Lenora.
 
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I recently tried to score sweet pickle relish. It turns out to be a secret ingredient. If you combine it with some mayonnaise, it can serve as a sort of perfect instant flavor sauce, for some otherwise boring pieces of chicken, no offense meant to chickens.

But my golden retriever (hubby) couldn't comprehend my request (phoned in, on his store run). Married here for decades, there has never been sweet pickle relish in my fridge. I'm a dill pickle type.

Humans somehow thrive on the tiniest amounts of attention. We are just starved for it. Lost, it seems, in a sea of so many others.

The young father downstairs is so kind to me and my husband. Your reminded the world is full of these really good people.

Voices. Something about certain voices. You can't get enough of that voice. You just want to keep drinking the sound. And somehow I identified a bubble. Something about this bubble in the throat, is associated with beautiful voices.

I met this woman decades ago, and she spoke. I dissolved.

So I made note that, in my next life, work on this Voice Thing.
 
“I mostly enjoyed my first shower experience since October 1st, 2015”

You didn’t get awful pem after the freezing and shivering and washing?
I’m indeed very happy for you!

My roommate has his television activated, and the sound isn't all that loud (although I can hear it clearly through my ear muffs). And then on top of that, he is playing crap-ass country music on his laptop computer with impressive volume.”

what happened to the headphones in the beginning of the story?
I would have wanted to kill somebody myself, if I was in your place…
I regularly want to strangle my husband because he’s breathing so heavy, poor man
 
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