Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just say No to Drugs

Three times this year I've been hospitalized because of this damn crohns. Before this it was only the once, when I was diagnosed with it at age 14. I don't know why this year's been so bad but it seems to be my time to get the stupid thing angry. Oh well ... year is almost over I guess.

So I spent all of my days off in the Crazy Town hospital, the staff was wonderful, the neighbors were ... crazy and the drugs even crazier. Let's start with Drug 1 Emla. LOVES it! I have a phobia of needles and this little patch makes it so I don't feel a thing. So I put it on my hand and that's where my IV goes. Cool. Then they take blood out of my arm, don't remember that. I just remember starting the whole thing sitting upright then being flat on the bed, warm wet rag on my head and few more staff beside me. They told me what happened but I don't remember what they said. They gave a few minutes of just sitting there then the second drug morphine, argh it's a love hate relationship. It has this ability to burn the back of my head and neck, swelling my throat and making me incredibly stiff. If I was a guy that could be a major embarrassment. Finally after that passes, the pain from my crohns starts to fade away. Drugs 3, liquid gravol, never knew there was such a thing. Well that stings going in the iv and makes me sleepy. They probably did it to make me easier to handle. Nausea went around there, just remembered sitting there not caring about squat, being so pissed at the world.

At this point I had gone 2 nights no sleep, it's amazing what happens to your body when it doesn't get the sleep it's used to. Had a bunch of tests, few more drugs, one that makes you feel like you've pissed yourself, lovely. That was my CT scan, ie. big ole doughnut thing. Confirmed. Partial obstruction again. Go Kat go! All day I am slipping somewhere between fully alert and ok to deal with to semi-asleep. My nurse was really nice though, she kept checking on me and seemed to know when my morphine wore off and was ready with more. So even though they knew what was wrong me with I didn't get any medicine for it until much later that night.

At this point I've spent all day, since 1:30 am when I came in to 21:00 that night in the ER room, in our little stalls separated by sheets. There is this one man who kept yelling for his mother (he was at least eighty), a woman who balled, and a man who kept asking about his 'horn' and how his catheter was. No wonder they liked me, I just sat there and did what they asked. I know better then to piss of the people with the drugs.

So surgery was opted out again, thank you wasn't going to do it, so they chose steroids, yey more drugs, number 6. Got some liquid stuff of that, yey. Then I got more morphine and more gravol, oh god. They then got a room for me upstairs, sweet cause you can't sleep in the ER at all and that would have been another night without it. The porter (person who transports you place to place in the hospital) asked if I wanted to walk to the room, go into a wheel chair or stay in the bed. I said I can walk. Get up and then the nice old paramedic who had been minding his own business a few steps away, caught me and helped me in the chair. I hoped I thanked him, not my most charming moment. It sucks when your mind says you can do something and your body backs out on the deal. So I was ported by wheelchair.

I barely remember getting to my room, I just remember waking up the next day really. Felt a bit better, hell a lot better. I could smell things now. I smelled pretty bad. I needed a shower. Bad. Felt even worse for that paramedic. Got showered, got some liquids and by the end of the day I was allowed to eat 'regular' food and if I passed I was allowed to go home the next day. Sweet. They also had me take pilled steroids, Drug 8. No I did not skip Drug 7. Drug 7 was one I could not pronounce in my iv bag I noticed the morning after. Don't know what it was, or what it did. They either did it while I was asleep or as I was nodding at things.

That night was hard to go to sleep, my neighbor, sweet old lady, 91 but she snores like dynamite. It was like standing in the shower all night and listening to someone open and close the curtains, that shrill, metal on metal kind of sound. A nurse asked if I wanted a sleeping pill as sleep was apparently crucial to my recovery. Why not. It's not like I don't do drugs as of lately. Mystery drug 9. Oh 9, how I hated you. It was this little white pill that went under your tongue, it then dissolved. Alright. Go to sleep and have terrible nightmares all night long. Not only that there are points where I know I'm awake and feel things bumping into me. When I open my eyes I see silhouettes of people run beside me and into the wall. Hallucinations. Great. I remember lying awake, watching the horizon, praying for the light to come, so these shadows would stop terrorizing me. Every time I closed my eyes, they would bump me, for hours. If I did manage to drift off I would have a nightmare. So yes, I spent many hours waiting for that sunrise. The morning nurse, said I looked tired. Tired. I was beyond tired. Tired of drugs!

I ate my breakfast very quietly, the nurses were worried. I could tell though they didn't say anything. Normally when I'm in there, even when I’m sick and in pain, I make jokes. It's a means of survival for me. No jokes, no nothing, I didn't even make eye contact with them. How could I tell them I was afraid of the silhouettes that had haunted me for hours, without them thinking I was crazy. I couldn't. So I didn't.

Another doc came in, she said since I was eating all right I'd be able to take the pilled steroids home, gave me a prescriptions for a few days and then 4 to take today. I was cool with anything, I just wanted to get out of there. A nurse took out my Iv and well I bled for a good five minutes, three gauze pads, 2 alcohol wipes and 1 Band-Aid.

I am now home, having had another shower, had to get the hospital smell off of me. In a nice warm, fuzzy housecoat, bowl of hot soup and lots of crackers. Life is good. I'll get those drugs tomorrow, I don't need them until then. For now I am done with drugs, just say no Kids. Just say no to drugs.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Walking the road

I almost feel like I shouldn't write this blog, because of the day it is today. Through internal debate I've decided this blog is for me, to put my own thoughts in order and being such, if they didn't need to be put in order, I wouldn't write the blog. That being said, I will write my blog and I'm sorry if anyone feels it is ill-timed, but this is for me.

This is my second day off and I still find myself thinking about a call I took on my first night shift on Monday. It was from a woman who thought her husband was having a heart attack or a seizure, she wasn't sure which. He had vomited outside and she had brought him in. He's breathing but not responsive and foaming at the mouth, so I verify her home address and phone number, then patch us all over to ambulance dispatch. In the time it took for me to tell ambulance where the patient was, he stopped breathing. I entered a fire call from my side as well, per protocol when a person is not breathing, fire is dispatched to assist. All the while I can hear her crying, 'Phil, don't leave me'. Ambulance has her start compressions but to no avail. I wonder when she knows what both ambulance dispatch and I already know. I think she must have known though because her crying was less panicked but more upset, if that makes any sense. In ten second intervals she would still plead with him, not to leave her. It broke my heart to hear her plead and I kept updating the call with what was happening. This was Ambulance's ball game now, they had control of the call guiding her with the compressions that wouldn't be stopped until a paramedic or firefighter arrived on scene. For the most part I was the silent person in the back of the room, typing information to the fire fighters on route, briefly talking with the ambulance dispatch, briefly with the grieving wife. It came to a point when Dispatcher Grumpy, who was doing Fire Dispatch that night stood up and said 'Kat hang up.'. I muted my phone and asked why? What if something changed? He told me that ambulance dispatch would call him if something they needed to know happened. I hung up as instructed, at first thinking he didn't want all the information being put on the fire call and then I read what I was putting on there. I was pretty much stuck on 'on mode' and was writing things like 'still preforming compressions' and 'male still not breathing'. The man was dead, I was with her when it happened, maybe not physically but I was still there. Dispatcher Grumpy was pulling me off the call because I didn't need to be there anymore. I had done my job and needed help getting unstuck from 'on mode'.

I sat there for a few minutes, waiting for the call. Ambulance did arrive and so did the firefighters. I waiting, watching and waiting for Fire dispatch to be called and updated with what I knew was there. I had to see this one end, if that makes any sense, I felt like I had to see it through. It was updated. The man was officially dead. Fire dispatch entered a police call, also standard with any sudden death at home. The man was young, early 50's, and it was completely unexpected. I read the police report later, probably shouldn't have, husband and wife had, as the officers put it, intimate time and then the man went outside on the porch and got sick. Wife brought him in. He had chest pain and the wife was going to take him to the hospital. Things went downhill and she called me. Now I was up to speed, I knew the beginning, middle and end. Thinking that could take my mind off the call, I was wrong. I still thought about it the rest of my shift. Dispatcher Grumpy asked if I was okay and I said yes. If a call bothers you, you are weak, if it doesn't you are cold. There's a very fine line you have to walk and I walked it out of there.

I've had a couple calls like this in the past, where people die either on the phone with you, or you're talking to the spouse while the other had died in their sleep beside them. I think it's harder when the people who go are good people. Not that I want to see anyone go, but when it's a gang banger who has a gun fight with another gang banger and dies ... it doesn't bother me as much. Call me cold. When that same fight gets an innocent bystander, who had been at the wrong place at the wrong time, call me weak.

Toady is a day of remembering. I did not go to a service, I did not stand at cenotaph while poems were read and the wreaths were laid. Call me cold. I stayed home and was alone with my thoughts. I remember our veterans, what they sacrificed for. What my grandparents fought for. They stood for peace. I honour them for more then just this one day. I've always been told there's not one way to feel so there's not one way to show it. I held my own moment of silence and thanked those who not only fought and were taken, but those who fought and came back a different person then when they left.

I was always told that we never know how long or short our lives are supposed to be. Just that however long it is, that's how long it was meant to be. For whatever purpose our lives serve, it will be served and then it's time to go. We don't always get the luxury of knowing what the reason is, for it could be our deliberate actions or actions that we didn't take, something that someone saw or interpreted us to do. We may serve our purpose and never know it. Our purpose might be our death, it might be a change to come because of it. What our death might spawn. It helps because I know the husband and the veterans had served their purpose and that it wasn't in vain. Whatever they were supposed to do, was done. Rest their souls, you have walked your road. Now I will walk mine until I have done what I've supposed to.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

High winds

I will open by saying, garbage cans have the ability to fly. I seen it. They also have the ability to crash, entertaining. Needless to say we have a lot of wind here today and my day has been filled with the sounds of things being blown around, crashing and the tree that bends way to close to my windows for comfort. I can picture it coming down and crashing through my window while I'm in bed. Next horror movie.

The latest big crash was the big ole garbage bin thingys that people put out to their curb. I live in a 10 level apartment building so there are lots of things to go flying around. I don't understand when we get wind warnings and people don't take anything inside. Hearing the crash I go looking through my windows, nothing. So I go out onto the balcony, making sure the cat stays inside, because even though cats land on their feet ... I somehow think he'll be happier if those feet weren't airborne.

I can see the garbage bin flying through the parking lot, just blowing probably a foot or so off the ground and it's banging cars as it goes. Lovely. It finally comes to a rest against a house. Things are still being banged around so I look down, neighbor below me has this plastic stuff blowing off and there it goes across the parking lot. Kites can be inexpensive. She's losing some serious stuff though so I go to the 3rd floor to tell her. 1st thing, this third floor smells like fried chicken and Cheetos, a weird combination. 2nd, there are hearts and flowers everywhere. I am wondering who the hell lives on the third floor. Every door has some wooden sign thing that says welcome, or enter, or happiness stuff. It's also unusually warm.

No answer on the door with a big ole wooden heart that says Welcome. I tried. While leaving I tried to open the hallway door with my shoulder, it's how my floor has to open it's door, and ouch. Okay, so their door actually works and they get to use the knob. Getting back on my floor, the sixth, it's freezing. The vent things are open and all you can hear is the wind, there is a penis scratched into the wall and no happy sayings. It's all what you are used to. I unlock my door and I can't open it, have to again shoulder check it because the wind inside is keeping it closed. I do have my balcony open a little, need the fresh air circulation. My shoulder is a bit sore by now but I'm in and my cat comes running and crying. Great. What'd he break in the three minutes I was gone.

There on my balcony is more plastic, all pressed up against the door, trying to get in. Securing my big brave security cat in the bathroom I collect the plastic from my balcony and put it inside, that way it doesn't become a flying projectile again. All the while this old woman from the third floor is hanging her laundry, each time she put a sock on it blew off going across the parking lot.

Me: Mame you just lost a sock.
Older lady: Yes I have socks on.
Me: *sigh* Your bra just went across the parking lot.
Older lady is now feeling herself. : No, I'm not wearing one.
Me: *blinks* The clothes you are hanging up are blowing off.
Older lady looks at the line beside her. :They're gone!
Me: You got some underwear on that bumper. You might be able to catch it.

Older lady is now mortified and takes her laundry basket inside. Shaking my head I have returned inside as well, I don't really want to see an old lady's thong anymore today and I really don't want to go back to the third floor. Lee (my cat) is snoozing now, occasionally be woken up by insecure items and car alarms while I watch that tree the keeps looming towards my window.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween and Quirks

Tonight was quiet but full of quirky little things and I don't mean Officer EE. Guy looks like Mario, talks like a thug, gets into trouble like a rookie and is about hip height. Nice guy though, funny when he's not working. ANYways, off topic there. Started my shift with a domestic call. It kinda gets cookie cutter some calls. Woman screams, man yells, banging around, woman cries, police car rolls. This apartment has a history for domestic violence so we go code. Get there. 2 guys playing video games. Cops check the house, all clear. *head desk* Losing my faith in my witnesses.

Woman calls 911 because her wood furnace is making strange noises, splashed water all over the floor and there is pressure in the pipes. She's grabbed the kids out of bed, threw them in the truck and hightailed down the road because she thinks it's going to explode. I'm shaking my head but hey, she thinks it's danger and she got out,that's cool. I just couldn't help but thinking how I had a hard time convincing people to leave a burning building. Maybe next time I'll mention the furnace has a rattle.

Oh last night was Halloween, not too bad at all. It rained all night though and it was Sunday. It was like being a kid really, everyone brought something in. I kept walking through different pods saying trick or treat. One girl brought cupcakes and well ... they were pretty looking but the icing was bitter. I tried to eat it in private because if I ate it facing my other coworkers they laughed at the faces I couldn't help but make. But I ate it! We also had mini chocolate bars, gummies, candy corn, chippies and Supervisor Plaid Jacket got all dressed up in this costume thingy and handed out candy. What a sight to see. Needless to say we got a few pictures.

Last night though we had 5 adults jump out of a van and threatened to beat the fuck out of a bunch of kids. Took their candy and then chased them through back yards. Sigh, what the hell.

Tonight we got a call for an injured person out cold in a bus terminal. We get there and the buddy is passed out after one too many Listerine bottles. We get him to come around and ambulance comes by for good measure. Turns out he's not fit for cells and needs to get transported to the hospital for clearance. Alls good. Then I get a call saying the hospital refuses to accept the man because he has no ID, at all. Uh ... he's homeless, he never has ID, he comes to the hospital and cells so much he's got his own coffee mug. Poor paramedics are stuck with this drunk that they can't drop off and they really can't keep him either. It's one thing to bring a puppy home but ... something about drunk 50 year old men just doesn't fly. Officer GM who had worked the call has to go all the hospital, go with the charge nurse and paramedics and go, yup that's drunk jimmy. Patient went in, paramedics went on their way, cops went on their way. 10 mins later, paramedics are calling back. Hospital is refusing to keep him. He's too rude. Take him away. *head desk* We can't put him in cells until he's medically cleared, and they don't want to clear him because he's dropped too many f bombs. Cops were heading back as I was heading out the door.