Friday, April 04, 2008

broken & bruised

I think it is better to let the pictures tell some of this story.
Although 'things i hate' 2wenty6 might give a clue.

Thats not a bandage on my head, its a damp cloth...

What my arm looks like under the cast...
And my left leg & finger (in a classic pose)...
And my other knee...
Total staples = 138
And, finally, my poor bike...


I was in the hospital when I woke up, three days after the accident. I had always assumed that nurses and doctors would disassociate themselves from their patients, it was just their job after all. Instead, they took an emotional investment in me and my recovery, and we were bonded, somehow directly emotionally linked. On days I suffered it was quite visible that my physical pain caused them emotional pain. I didn't understand it, why would they come to my bed and talk to me about life, sports, t.v. shows, when it would only bring us a bit closer? Why would they freely talk about their own personal experiences? Why not just come in, tell me what news of my body there was to tell and go on their way?

Eventually I understood that they only had two choices; get to know me and deal with the emotional consequences that would inevitably result, or ignore the 'me' and treat the physical person as a job; simply a body that needed repair. I decided it would be a lonely existence to ignore all the inner me's of the world. The health care culture must have realized this too, and instead of each person protecting themselves emotionally they welcomed the humanity of caring for people. I mean actually caring.

There was one notable exception who treated me as a body, and she seemed to be an outsider even among the nurses. She was the boss lady and made the decisions about who to release and when. She decided to release me, regardless of my capability to walk. This caused some internal struggles among her workers as it was obvious she was kicking me out because my insurance had reached it's limit. The boss lady said my nurse (who had also become an acquaintance/friend) would help me with 'physical therapy'. My nurse led me to the exit stairs down the hall, and that by itself was quite a challenge. Nevertheless, I was asked to climb a couple steps. I was barely able to do one. It caused me so much pain that she let me rest and then took me back to my room saying how she would not allow me to leave the hospital so early. That is the kind of caring that gives me hope for all humanity.
I guess she must have spoke her mind to the boss because I never saw her again. Instead, the next day, a nurse I had never met before (a 'yes' nurse) took me back to the stairs and had me go up two steps on my butt. Goodbye dignity. She then declared that I was capable of leaving the hospital and climbing the flight of stairs to my apartment. I never saw her again after that. The day after I was approved for stair-master I was to be 'released' no later than midnight.

The goodbyes from my other nurses were strained with guilt and sadness. I tried to explain I would be fine and that I wanted to go (which I did, I've never liked hospitals) but it didn't ease the tension. Someone must have finally made it clear to the boss that I would not be able to make it up my stairs, because around noon, she came in to speak with me. She said that since I 'should' (must) be out of the hospital by midnight and since I couldn't make it up my stairs, maybe I should get a hotel. For various reasons I firmly said 'no effin way'. She finally came up with the idea of having the medics carry me into my own home (never mind how I might get back out and down the stairs if there was a fire or something). But, like I said, I was ready to get out of there, so I'd take my chances. I finished saying goodbye to all the other people who had helped me and had gotten to know me. In the end it was like saying goodbye to dear friends. I felt that although I wasn't a part of their life and I was only one of many passing through the hospital that it still made a difference.

1 comment:

x_minx_x said...

one word: trooper

love ya babe!