Room Temperature

 

imageHaha!  That’s my feet sticking out from underneath a throw.  If you’re thinking I’ve run out of mesmerizing topics 13 days in to this January blog-a-day thing I’ve got going on, you might be right.

But I was sitting here in my 19 degree C house admiring my new fuzzy-on-the-inside socks when it occurred to me that they are worth sharing with the world.  Hey, it’s late and I’m tired, and I’ve had one of those days.  So you get sock sharing.

Early this afternoon I went for a follow-up appointment at the ENT Clinic at the University Hospital to discuss the results of the ultrasounds and needle biopsies on my neck.

The waiting room was crowded and hot and I had my winter coat over my arm for almost an hour.  My chair was right beside the reception desk so I got to hear many one-sided phone conversations from there and from rude people on cell phones, plus people talking and a hanging television screen had the sound on.  I’m always afraid in these situations that I won’t hear my name being called.  Then I imagined what it might be like to have a hearing aid and have all these sounds amplified.  Hell, more or less.

The thermostat in the exam room read 24.8 when I got in there.  Then it went up to 24.9.  When it reached 25 I imagined what it might be like to spontaneously combust.  At 25.1 I considered stripping and lying bare skinned on the floor tiles.  It was 25.3 when I left.  Gawd only knows what it’s at now.

I’ve been seeing Dr. Rizk.  And yes, it rhymes with risk.  Once again everything has come back with all kinds of horrible things ruled out, so we know what it isn’t, but nobody knows for sure what it IS.  Or what these lumps might develop into given time.  So my options are to keep showing up for tests and check ups ad infinitum or to have them surgically removed and be done with them.  He told me to go home and think about it.

I also got a flu shot today.  And some toiletries and these amazing slipper socks.  Never before in my life have I had a problem with my feet getting cold.  I’m that person who sleeps with her feet out from under the covers.  I have put bare feet in snow boots and not complained of the cold.  But lately things have changed.  Poor circulation maybe?  Every so often my feet will suddenly be freezing cold and I have to kick off my flip-flops and scrounge around for socks.

These new ones are perfect.  And yeah, gorgeous too. We turned the heat up to 20.  Because it’s winter and we are old. And possibly because W has complained once too often about being cold and I have suddenly developed some empathy on that subject.

And THEN (will this day and the recounting of it never end….) I looked up “room temperature” although what I really meant was ambient temperature and was astounded to discover Wikipedia says its 75 F or 24 C.  I am speechless.  How can anyone stand it that hot?

Okay, your turn. Tell me I’m cold-blooded and strange.  Or is it just where you live and what you’re used to and comfortable with that determines personal ambient temperature?

I’m going to bed now and these socks are coming off.  My feet feel like they’ve been in an oven.

Carry On

A patio chair with arms converted using a couple of hard (extremely glamorous) cushions into the perfect post hip surgery place to sit. We are very creative, and too cheap to buy a proper office waiting room chair.

A patio chair with arms,  converted using a couple of hard (extremely glamorous) cushions into the perfect post hip surgery place to sit. We are very creative, and too cheap to buy a proper office waiting room chair.  I hope we are able to disassemble it and let it go when the time comes.

My November Day Seven

Our house looks like some kind of strange geriatric bomb hit it.  Pieces of furniture are shoved to the side to make wide enough spaces for a walker to pass through without knocking things over.  We have crutches propped in a corner, a fancy high-rise toilet conversion thing in the bathroom and a sit down bath tub/shower seat which we will be trying out shortly.  There are pills everywhere.  And bandages and surgical tape and alcohol wipes and instructions and information all over the place.  W has a special sling for putting around his foot to help him lift his leg up on to the bed, and a long-handled grabber apparatus to pick things up off the floor and help him get dressed.

W is giving himself the injections he needs once a day (I am SO thankful I don’t have to do that for him) but I get to change the dressing on his incision.  Lucky me.  There are thirty-one staples and yes, I made him wait while I counted them.  Then I shot sterile saline across the room because the valve was stuck and scared the crap out of him.  Surprisingly enough, nursing was not a career I ever considered.

Before I went out this morning to pick up another prescription I tried to make sure everything he might need was accessible and within reach.  He told me not to worry, he had his hooker beside him on the bed.  So that is now what we are calling the long-handled picker-upper thing.  Can’t wait to explain that one to the kids.

I hope none of this sounds like complaining, because that is not at all what I mean to do.  Compared to the frightening impossibly hard journeys other people must face, this is really nothing.  We will carry on carrying on.

There are no wrong turnings. Only paths we had not known we were meant to walk.

Guy Gavriel Kay

Hurry Up and Wait

My November Day Six

I got up before the crack of dawn this morning.  These days it’s not that hard to do since dawn cracks ever later as winter closes in on us.  The plan was to be up and off to the surgery center to retrieve my husband by nine a.m.

As of whenever it was he started sending me texts this morning, I have been patiently waiting to leave.  Apparently they are in no great hurry to get rid of him.  He has to be cleared by the physio people who must be satisfied that he is sufficiently mobile to get in and out of things like the shower and a vehicle.  There are student nurses doing practicums using him as their patient.  Why does this not surprise me?

So, on the bright side, this gives him a chance to enjoy a couple more delicious hospital meals.

Drinking coffee.  Waiting for the phone to ring.  Imagining all kinds of disasters if we screw this up.

Meanwhile, this made me laugh out loud.

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When W is once again impressing people with his agility I will tell them that isn’t even his real hip.

Coming Up Home Care

This is where a person would normally say something profound about the fork in the road, but sorry, I've got nothing.

This is where a person would normally say something profound about the fork in the road.  Sorry, I’ve got nothing.

My November, Days Four and Five

Theres a reason why I did not commit or swear on a stack of holy books to post every single day of this month.  Because I know me and my procrastinating ways.

Yesterday I went to see W in his hospital bed.  He is doing well, all things considered, and in good spirits, which is half the battle after surgery.  He is coping well with the pain and doing everything he is told.  I delivered his phone to him, and the newspaper and his bathrobe.  He seriously is one of the most out going people I have ever known.  He engages everyone in conversation and learns more about a person’s life in five minutes than I would be able to figure out in a week.  I rarely remember someone’s name.  But I think he knows everybody on his floor.  So of course they all know him.

He has a room to himself and many attentive people taking care of him. He really likes the hospital food.  I wonder if that says something about my cooking….

He looked tired when I left, so I decided to leave him to his other visitors today, but I will be there to pick him up when he is discharged tomorrow morning.

And then I suppose the real fun begins when I get to play home care nurse.  Fun times.  We will muddle through.

 

New Hip Day

My November Day Three

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Just look at this weather! Would you go out in that? Those are some giant killer snowflakes falling from the sky. I wonder if my neighbor ever wonders why I take so many pictures of his garage.

W has been safely delivered to the hospital for his surgery. We had to arrive before eight so we avoided the worst of the morning traffic, and we missed only one turn. Seriously, what are the odds? It was the last major one before the surgery centre, so no panic. We gave ourselves lots of time to drive around in circles.

It’s wonderful to be able to park your vehicle right at the door for fifteen minutes to unload your patient and help him carry all his stuff in and up to the second floor. It’s orthopaedic surgery so they are used to slow hobblers with crutches and walkers and canes.

Leaving the city centre and getting home was simple, since most of the traffic is headed in the opposite direction in the morning. And now I’m waiting to hear how it all went. And thinking up excuses for not walking outside today.

I might miss a phone call. I have a big pot of vegetable soup simmering on the stove. There’s no one here to point out to me that I haven’t gone for a walk yet. My finger tips hurt. My glasses might fog up. It’s Tuesday. The snow has stopped falling for now, but it’s impossible to predict when it might start up again. Do I really want to get caught out in that?

Yes, those are all pretty lame reasons, but the mini trampoline is also calling me; “…it’s outside or me, you can’t ignore both of us!” Sigh. Some people talk to their pets or their plants, but I don’t have either of those. It’s just me and the furniture.

It’s so quiet in here without the resident noise maker who has the satellite radio and the tv and the computer going all at once while he’s talking on the phone or trying to tell me something from three rooms away.

Anyway, enough blather for November Post Number Three. Stay tuned (or tuned out) for more exciting trips to the scary city centre coming up soon.

Sharing My World 23

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Share Your World 2015 Week 12

When was the last time you sat on a park or garden bench for more than ten minutes?  Describe the occasion.

Last summer I spent some time on park benches watching grandchildren do what grandchildren do.  Ford streams, throw rocks, feed animals, drink sweet cold drinks on a hot summer day.  I like this role as grandma, where you just have to be there and observe and aren’t expected to participate in things like mini golf tournaments or spinning tea-cup rides.  Just buy T-shirts for everybody when the day is over.  Then hand the children back over to their parents.

Would you ever be interested in observing a surgery or do you turn away when the nurse brings out the needle?

I skip over fake surgeries on Netflix and fast forward through bloody crime scenes.  I look the other way when I get needles, have blood work done, or get hooked up to IV.  Although I’ve had so much of that done, maybe it’s really not necessary anymore.  But no, I would not be interested in observing surgery of any kind.  Or hearing about it.  Or looking at your stitches.

Where’s your favorite place to take out-of-town guests?

Back to the airport.  HAHA!!  Just kidding.  Out for dinner is always fun.  We live in a place where there are lots of choices.  And I will tag along to wherever guests decide to go if they want my company.  I’m the same way on trips.  I tend to go along for the ride without any real plans of my own.  This is partly about being easy to get along with, but mostly about laziness and lack of interest in getting off my ass and going anywhere unless strongly encouraged by someone who is excited and enthusiastic.  I would be a really poor event co-ordinator.

If you had an unlimited shopping spree at only one store, which one would you choose?  Why?

Is it cheating to say a gigantic department store full of furniture, home appliances, electronics, clothing,  food, books, stationery and art supplies?  Okay, it probably is.  So I will select instead  Wine and Beyond and pick up one or two cases of everything they have in stock.  That should keep me happy for a while and take care of Christmas presents for at least a couple of years.

Bonus question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Every March I am SO DONE with snow, and yet here it falls sometimes as late as May.  So I am grateful that Spring eventually does show up, even though I give up hope about 14 times every year before it happens.

Next week it’s supposed to warm up!  Said the optimistic fool who should move south or get over it.  Okay.  I’m over it.  The sun is shining and I’m grateful to be alive.

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Really

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Our gigantic tree dropping its leaves in at least four backyards.

Several things yesterday got me saying “really?” or even “REALLY??”  It was really that kind of day.

  • We got stuck in traffic on the way to the hospital.  There is construction going on all over this city and we are running out of alternate routes.  Everyone says it will be nice when it’s done, but construction is like housework and will never be done.
  • The nurse at admitting asked me if I hadn’t already checked in because she had me marked off on her list.  Nope, just got here.  So off she went to find my impersonator.
  • Flipping through a home decor magazine I came across instructions for kitchen art. Paint some utensils white, hot glue them (artistically arranged) to a red board, put them in a frame and hang them up. On the same page there was an ad for glass cocktail wands.  So much classier than swivel sticks.  I guess.
  • The many people around me were comparing their various wait times and how far behind things were when a nurse called me to say my doctor was running ahead of schedule.  Do I know how to pick a surgeon or what?
  • Hospital garments confuse the hell out of me.  What goes frontwards and what goes backwards with a gazillion dome fasteners and ties and elastic papery things for gawd knows what.  By the time I got it all figured out we were probably back on schedule.
  • I lost count of how many people with clip boards and check sheets asked me the same questions over and over.  I think they were all planning to meet up in the O.R. later and compare notes.
  • One minute the anesthesiologist was starting my  I.V.  and the next minute it was two or three hours later and I was somewhere else.  This is what time travel must feel like.
  • On a scale of one to ten, one being discomfort and ten being the worst pain you’ve ever felt, how would you rate your pain?  I don’t know.  I hate math.  I had different levels of pain in different places – neck, throat, back, head.  I didn’t want to sound like a wimp or a whiner so I said it was a four.  Wrong answer!  No extra pain meds for you.  Next time they asked I upped it to five.  Still not high enough.  Sigh.
  • After i was declared sane enough to leave, W wheeled me down to the main entrance and left me sitting in front of the hospital directory sign while he went to get the car.  No one asked me for directions.
  • It’s impossible to keep your head still in a moving vehicle even if you hang on to it with both hands.  I suffered a thousand mini whiplashes on the drive home because we kept braking for pedestrians and red lights.  Yes I am being overly dramatic.  I believe most post op patients are.

The pain med prescription bottle says one or two tablets every four hours as needed and they gave me 30 of them.  They are supposed to cause drowsiness but I managed to have a restless night anyway.  I am supposed to leave the steri-strips in place for seven days.  They told me not to have a shower for two days.  REALLY??  That rule is already broken because our shower is hand-held and I kept my neck dry.  Fewer people will die as a result.

Now once again we wait for answers.  Follow up is in two weeks.  By then I should look less like a bus ran over my face.  Another drama queen statement.  Sorry.  I’m drowsy.  Not quite as exhausted as this topic, but close enough.