Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Trail Back, Part 2

At this point, my memories kind of blend together.  I have many but have lost the ability to put them in any type of chronological order.  So...  If these seem a little disjointed it's because they are!  That being said...

Getting de-catheterized.  A good thing.  Another step towards getting back to normalcy right? However I have to admit I had  never been catheterized so I had no idea what to do when they took it out (I was actually under anesthetic when they put it in).  They waited until I had not relieved myself for a while.  That was done because they said it helps if you press down and try to relieve yourself while they are pulling the tube out. Um... are you sure? I mean I've not gone in several days and once I start... You know how that goes for us men, right?  Oh yes.  It will help.  We do this all the time. Well Ok. I'm in no position to argue. Literally. Apparently the muscles of my bladder were still intact and as strong as ever. As soon as they started to pull that tube I pressed down and started spraying all around the outside edge of the tube. Had I been able to see it I'm sure it would have looked like one of those lawn sprinklers, but the gown was raised up and protecting my entire upper body... thank the lord.  So then the nurse tells me to slow down. Really? Seriously? As many of you know (especially you men) stopping after we start is nearly impossible, and if we are able to it feels like an immediate triple hernia and there is always continued leakage until we are allowed to finish. I was stuck full open throttle. Sorry nurse, but the ability to slow down or stop the stream seems to have left me. They got the catheter out and needless to say I needed a new gown and a bit of housekeeping around the chair. Honestly, I can laugh about it now but at the time I was totally mortified and felt a ton of humiliation. I must have apologized a hundred times. The nurse was very professional and courteous and nice about it, but I was embarrassed about it for several days.  As a little side not to this, after the catheter was out and I had to go to the restroom it was like a totally choreographed Broadway show. I swear it took longer to get all my IV stands and monitors and all the other stuff disconnected and ready to move WITH me.  None of the leads were long enough to just allow me to go over there without all the other hardware. Not to mention the fact that my leg muscles had decided to go on strike for the most part. I could not walk without help, but using a walker to the toilet bowl that was like eight or ten feet away would have been more of a hassle than a help. So it was always the nurse and Lea Ann helping me. I thank God for them, too. You have no idea how important that is until you can't get there on your own. Thankfully I never wet the bed or the recliner, but I did end up needing a few more fresh gowns during these processes. In the very beginning I was able to use a urinal and not leave the bed.  I liked that because it was easy and no moving  other than getting partially on one side.  Soon though they wanted me starting to get up and around more.  So that meant all the moving of hardware and such when it was time to pee. As well as my muscles in that area worked at first, soon I had little control.  It was like my body would say, "I'm close enough to the bowl...  I'm starting."  And standing in front of the bowl wasn't possible at first, so I was always sitting. Sometimes I would not get the gown out of the way and into the bowl the bottom of the gown would go. Then I would go.  Nurse? Can I have just a rubber gown?  That would be easier to clean I expect.  This is getting absolutely silly. Also embarrassing, but the nurses and Lea Ann finally had me calmed down enough about it that I was not wanting to go climb down a hole and hide.

Moving away from the restroom thankfully, lets talk about sleeping. I'm sure most of you know that sleeping is an important part of the recovery process. Healing time for your body. With that in mind, think of how many times a night the nursing staff in an ICU has to come in and check your vitals and leads and IVs and whatever else you might have stuck on you or in you. I am not a person that is happy to be awakened several times a night. Not to mention that I have to sleep on my back all the time now because of the surgery and the fact that sleeping on your side in a recliner is next to impossible for long. So I was getting a little upset I could not sleep and I was honestly starting to have some pain as the anesthetics were continuing to wear off. I asked the nurse if there was anything they could do or give me to help with the pain that was coming and the lack of sleep I felt I was getting (which, looking back now was a miscalculation on my part.  I was sleeping a lot). They changed my IV meds for the pain and the times I got them to correspond better to the night time. That worked well.  I was waking up maybe once a night when it was near time for the next dose.  When they came in to check on me it was not waking me up at all.  Dilaudid and Morphine were fast becoming my sleepy-time friends.  I was given them mainly at night I believe, thought the day time had some doses as well.  Might have been another medication that was given for the pain during the day.  I don't remember.  Honestly, the Dilaudid worked better for the night time, so we saved that for those times and never gave it consecutively. They also constantly brought the doses down to make sure I was not going to have issues later on. The pain management there was very good.  I had no complaints there at all.

While I was awake, I found a show I had never seen on TV that was a good way for me to get a smile and a laugh. Even though I was over their target age range, I actually found it on MTV if you can believe that. Its a show called Rediculousness. Its produces by the same company that produces the Jackass shows and movies.  Much along the lines of Americas Funniest Videos, but Rediculousness finds all of its clips online. None are sent in.  All those kinds of things make me laugh. To this day I still record and watch Rediculousness and AFV.  Another show I watch for laughs and smiles is on truTV called Impractical Jokers. Also watch a lot of the classic comedies on DVD.  I love Mel Brooks and his movies. They always make me laugh. Movies like Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Space Balls...  There are many.  Also movies like Animal House, Caddyshack, Smokey & The Bandit, Cannonball Run, Meatballs, Stripes...  I could go on and on. Also looking up bloopers and "fails" on YouTube... Starting to see my twisted sense of humor?  Laughter and smiling are a big part of recovery to me, not to mention I get to watch stuff I like while doing it.  Hell, on my Facebook page we even posted a video of my old high school group of friends and I lip-syncing to one of our favorite songs. There are clips of us in that video going all the way back to 1979... Its a good laugh and good memories too.

That's all for now.  Next post I will start talking about the getting up and moving around and the day I was discharged from ICU and went to the floor and what happened there. Hope to see you all there!


Martin Sproul said...

Hi Brian. I've read each of you posts as they come in and I'd like to congratulate you.

The writing makes each post both interest and a little bit harrowing for me. I'm impressed that you have managed to write so much about the hospital time as this is something I have tried to do on my own blog. Each time I sit down to put the words together, I get too upset and can't go through with it. Your blog encapsulates so much of the pain, indignity and constant battle the hospital time involves. I much prefer talking about my cycling and how it is rehabilitating me physically and mentally but maybe I'll get round to the many hospital stays one day.

Keep writing and posting as I look forward to each. I left a comment on one of your earlier blogs and forgot to leave my blog address. It's at I'd appreciate if you could have a look at it and let me know your thoughts.



Brian said...

Hi Martin. Thanks for the kind words about my writing. it is much appreciated, especially since this is my first attempt at writing anything other than the occasional email to family and friends.

As to your writing about your cycling and staying more away from the hospital time-frame, that is understandable. I look at it like this, you are looking past that particular time and rehabbing and doing something you like. Nothing wrong with that at all. Looking to the future and not getting stuck on the hospital time and the sickness. Personally, I was getting a little stuck in those memories, so my wife suggested I write about it. That it might be good to get me to let it go plus be a good read and maybe even be a help to others that are going through a similar situation. Seems to be working for me. :) My wife is a very smart cookie. :)

I'll take a look at your blog too! Thanks for the address! Keep on pedalin'! :)