Readers of this blog and/or friends of mine (and I hope those two might overlap) may have guessed the truth last week when I announced that Nana’s Whimsies was taking a short break. In fact, one of my good friends contacted me straight away, saying I hope you really are taking a break and it’s not that your old nemesis The Bowel Obstruction has reared its ugly head.
Of course, it was that Mr. Bowel Obstruction once again had reared its ugly head. The pain began suddenly on Wednesday right after lunch. I tried to ride it out, but by 8 or 8:30 that night, I was in too much pain to wait any longer. I was very scared about going to an ER, and what would almost certainly result in an admission to the hospital, in the midst of a pandemic. I was certain Bill wouldn’t be allowed inside. Actually I was worried for no reason on both those accounts. Bill was able to be with me in ER, and he was also allowed to visit after I was admitted. The same wouldn’t have been true a week earlier.
When I get sick in Denver, I always go to the same hospital. I have never been treated in any other way than with respect. The same was true this time. I will admit they didn’t immediately jump on the painkiller bandwagon, but I get it. They started conservatively. When that didn’t work, they came shooting with both barrels.
“What are you giving me?” I asked the nurse. “Fut tunnel,” he replied. Or something like that. “Say it again,” I requested as I reached for my notepad. “I want to write it down.” “Fut tunnel,” he repeated.
Suddenly it occurred to me what he was saying. I have read enough mystery novels to know the dark road you go down when you begin taking fut tunnel. Or Fentanyl, which is what it was.
“Just like in our gritty novels,” I told my sister Bec the next day. “Except I wasn’t shooting up in a dirty gas station bathroom.”
But my funny hospital-story-of-the-period doesn’t have to do with the Fentanyl, which definitely relieved my pain but I don’t ever need to see again. Instead, it has to do with where they located a bed for me to live for the next two days. I was sent to the neurology ward. The good news was that Neurology was designated a non-COVID floor, so I didn’t have to worry about that. The bad news, however, was that patients on that floor are confined to their beds, no ifs, ands, or buts.
And therefore, so was I. My bed was literally alarmed. If I lifted a single butt cheek from the mattress, nurses and other personnel came running like ants from an anthill sprayed with pesticide. That didn’t cause a problem the night I was admitted because I was still in a lot of pain and in no mood to move from my bed. However, the next morning, the pain let up. Just as it always does, one moment I’m getting ready to ask for more pain medication, and suddenly the pain goes away. Zap. Gone.
At that point I feel as well as the nurse. Probably better because Fentanyl provided me a long winter’s nap. I began begging my nurses to remove the alarm and let me walk the floors or at least go to the bathroom by myself. My pleas fell on deaf ears until finally a nurse agreed that if she could confirm that I could walk without help, she would free me from my mattress bondage.
But here’s the problem: Whenever I’m in the hospital, I wake up the next morning with a headache. It could be from the pain meds. It could be from not being able to drink a cup of coffee (nothing by mouth). It could be a combination of the two. But I always have a headache. And when I ask for something for the pain, I’m always given the same answer: The only thing I can take is Dilaudid. Now, I thank God on my knees for the Dilaudid when I can barely stand up because my stomach hurts so bad. But PEOPLE. It’s a headache. After expressing her shock that I would turn down a narcotic, she agreed to talk to the doctor about an alternative.
About a half hour later, she comes to take me on my walk. But first, she tells me that the doctor has suggested a medication called Phenergan. It’s an antihistamine used primarily as an anti-nausea medication. Into my IV it goes and I get out of bed. I immediately feel dizzy, but I attribute it to the fact that I have been flat on my back for over 24 hours at that point. But as we began walking, it became apparent that I was as high as a kite.
The nurse walked me back to my bed, where Bill was waiting. The room was spinning. I was having hallucinations that included Bill looking like an infant and leaning over me. My lips wouldn’t move when I tried to talk.
Bill acted calm, but left as soon as he could without facing the danger of The Bad Husband Award. I never took LSD, but I’m pretty sure I know what it’s like. Needless to say, I was stuck in that bed for a half day longer.
I was freed that night, and also allowed to begin my eating regime. Best of all, they removed the IV since I could now take liquids by mouth. It allowed me to sleep better and to not have to worry about Phenergan accidentally being put into my IV again.
I’m fit as a fiddle and glad to be back home.