Taken – Day Two

There was no consultation with the Doctor to define what it is we were looking for and exactly how we would go about looking. People just starting showing up. Sometimes they would tell me what they were doing, but often I had to ask No one asked for my permission any more. I no longer had any control over what happened to me.

I had been asking about being allowed to sleep since around 10 last night, and I was still lying in the ER 4 hours later. They said they were going to admit me. I was ready to get to a room and get some sleep. It had been a bit of along day. Sometime after 2AM they moved me to my room. I had heard them say earlier that I would be in Room 212, but when the gurney rolled up to 212, it back away – into Room 202 across the hall. The attendant said, “You got upgraded to a Private Room! Lucky you.”

The room was a standard two bed room, but the other half of the room was empty. No bed. No furniture. Nothing to suggest a second bed but the 2nd TV and the privacy curtain railings in the ceiling. The window was shuttered with room darkening blinds. I was attached to an IV machine plugged into the wall. The length of that IV line and the length of that power cord defined the full range of my motion during my stay. I was, for intents and purposes, chained to the wall with that IV.

Of course, now that I was in a new room, new people had to come in and ask me the same questions I answered repeatedly down in the ER. And new people had to come in and get their own vitals and prick another finger for yet another blood sugar test. Then there were more people with more machines. There was the set of 3 X-Rays that covered the rest of my torso that the previous 2 chest X-Rays didn’t cover. Then there was an inspection of my internal organs with a sonogram (my pancreas is fine, but my liver is a little fatty) Then later, with a different sonogram, an inspection of my heart.

Sometime after 3AM I asked about the possibility of going to the bathroom. The nurse handed me a plastic receptacle. I asked if I was allowed to use the bathroom next to my bed. That was fine but, of course, the IV prevented me from being able to actually close the door. I hadn’t been in a bathroom since I left the house Saturday morning. Sometime you just gotta deal with it.

Somewhere in the night the pace slowed down to just the usually accepted irritation of having someone wake you up every 4 hours to stick a piece of plastic in your mouth, squeeze the crap out of one of your arms, put a blood oxygen meter on one of your fingers, and if you are really lucky (diabetic) they will also lull you back to sleep by poking a hole in one of your fingers to check your blood sugar.

Usually you are in the Hospital for a reason and you voluntarily accept this punishment as part of your medical care. It kept occurring to me that I was not here because I was sick, and in fact, they couldn’t find anything wrong with me. If I had been detained in a jail cell I wouldn’t have been treated like this.

I finally found sleep despite the disturbances. Sometime around mid-day one of the Doctors shows up and confirms that there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with me. Everything checks out. There is still that pesky abnormal EKG though. Unable to get a copy of a previous EKG from my Doctor he feels we need to do a nuclear stress test to make sure there isn’t a problem with my heart. So, we’ll just get that scheduled. Oh, and you can’t have anything to eat or drink before a stress test, so the “no food or water order” still stands.

I absolutely hate stress tests. You might even say, “with a passion”. Or you could just say that they terrify me. The object of a stress test is to really get your heart working hard so they can observe it under “stress”. Hopefully, to see that it is working properly. Back when I was still physically able they would make me work out on a treadmill until my heart “stressed” enough. The “last time” I did a treadmill I nearly collapsed and I really thought I was going to die. I don’t do those any more.

Another type of stress test is the PET Scan. They take scans of your heart while you lay in a machine with your hands over your head and they inject chemicals into your blood to force your heart to act like you are climbing a mountain. Your heart pounds, your chest heaves, you break out in sweat, and you are overcome with nausea. But you have to lie still – for the test. I swore I would NEVER do another one of those.

I wonder what a nuclear stress test is like while I wait. I’d been to the bathroom a couple times now, so I have scouted THAT side of the bed. I discover that I can just scoot the IV around the end of the bed. From there I am able to stretch out to the end of the IV line and snag a chair sitting over in that empty space. I drag it over next to my bed and sit down. I discover I can also reach the closet where they put my bags. I drag out a bag and change my underwear and put a pair of shorts on over them. At least that much dignity recaptured.

Sometime between 3 and 4 the Cardiologist came back in and said that the test was scheduled for TOMORROW, so take it easy the rest of the day. My LIFE is on hold and this is the LAST TEST before you have to let me go, and the soonest we can do this is Tomorrow? My fingers are being stabbed every 4 hours, I am getting regular blood thinner injections directly into my stomach because that’s Hospital Policy to avoid blot clots, I’m getting insulin injections into my stomach to control my blood sugar when I haven’t eaten in over 24 hours, I am “chained” to the wall in a room I can barely get around in and I am just supposed to “kick back” and enjoy my vacation? Seriously?

I think that’s when I started to get mad. Even I could see the logic of how I got where I was. Sometimes weird stuff happens. But THIS was just over the top. It’s one thing to “have” to violate someone’s rights in the name of the greater good. It’s quit another to apparently have no regard for the discomfort you are causing that individual. After a “good night’s sleep” I was feeling much more like myself and I set about to regain some control.

I called the Nurse in. I asked, “If the stress test isn’t until tomorrow shouldn’t the ‘no food or water order’ be lifted? Shouldn’t I be able to eat or drink between now and whenever the cut-off is for the test?” She said she would check. She came back with a menu so I could call in my order for Supper. She also brought me a Styrofoam cup of ice water. That water was absolutely wonderful. I sipped water and crunched ice for a long time.

The supper tray finally came, and on it were the quesadillas, milk, and pudding I ordered. I worked the IV around the bed again and recovered the chair from where they had pushed it back and had supper sitting in a chair at a “table”. I was actually pretty impressed with the quesadillas, them being “hospital food” and all. The Milk tasted good as well. Fortunately I have this nasty habit of reading the sugar content of almost anything that goes in my mouth, being diabetic and all. I read the label of the “diet pudding” that I ordered only after telling the person that I was diabetic and couldn’t eat sweets. 15grams of sugar!!!! And 27 grams of carbs! Were they trying to kill me? Even when I am splurging, that is like 3 days worth of sugar for me. Unbelievable.

Day Two didn’t end without another struggle for control. Sometime after I had moved back to the bed a Nurse came in with “New Doctor’s Orders”. She was going to put something on my legs. More protection against blood clots. I’ve worn “diabetic socks” and even had some kind of leggings on in one hospital or another. I figured this was another one of “those”. I complained that I was already having a hard enough time keeping cool in the room. Wearing shorts allowed me to leave my legs bare and exposed. She insisted.

She attached Velcro from my ankles to my knees. First one leg, then the other. I already hated it. Just when I think she is leaving, she flips a switch and turns on a machine now attached to the end of my bed. Like those blood pressure straps, the wrap around my ankles was filling up. Then the next strap up started filling. The one on my ankle started releasing as the one near my knee filled. These things were going to continuously squeeze my legs! I sit up so I can look at them. That’s when I see that my legs are now attached to lines running to that machine. My legs are now “tied to the bed”!

I got very angry. They had crossed the line and I wasn’t playing any more. I ripped the straps off my legs and tossed them off the end of the bed. I had been splitting time between the bed and chair and had been to the bathroom more than once. I was staying active and moving around. Not that any of them would know that. The only time anyone comes in here is if they want to do something to me, or want something from me.

The Nurses took note of the straps, but made no mention, nor any attempt to pick them up. When I tried to move the IV back over so I could sit in the chair, those straps got in the way. So I undid all the lines, turned off and unplugged the machine and piled all that crap up next to their computer screen – where it all stayed untouched, well at least it was when I left the room for the last time.

At midnight the “no food or water order” went back into effect. Day Two ended relatively peacefully. I would need all my strength for Day Three.

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