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Daniel Eran

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It was a very slow ride to Kaiser. Why aren't paramedics more aggressive drivers? If I had access to a vehicle with flashing strobe lights, a killer blast horn with various alternating effect sounds and special exemption from traffic signals, I would be getting places now.
It's not like ambulance rides are comfortable at lower speeds anyway. Take it from me... I get an ambulance ride a couple times a year. As long as your patient is strapped down to a bed facing the back window and feeling every bump on the street anyway, you might as well be jumping hills and taking turns on two wheels. Most soccer moms' Suburbans travel faster than your typical ambulance. So what if you occasionally got into an accident. You got your EMTs in the back, and plenty of bandages to take care of whatever needed fixing.


On arrival at Kaiser, it was reported that I had absorbed 30 ml of morphine, a few Vicodin and scant bits of food in the past six hours. With only four hours of sleep the night before, I was exhausted but not really sleepy. I hate going to sleep. I wish rest came in a pill. I could get so much more done. But I need sleep or else I get stupid and cranky and start looking pretty tore up. Once I get to sleep I'm hooked, and it's about all I can do to get back out of bed.

I was hungry and dry mouthed. It was 2 AM when I saw Kaiser's ER doc. He'd have the Ortho specialists look at my x-rays and figure out a plan for me. He told me not to eat or drink after 3 AM, in case they needed to schedule an early surgery. It's complicated to be operating on a patient who is choking on his own vomit.

More than sleep, I wanted to talk to somebody. Marky would be up at this hour. He's stuck working till 5 AM. I rang him up and told him about the accident and we talked for a bit. It was nice to talk to a friend. I was feeling lame at the General cause I couldn't think of anyone I should call. What's wrong with me? Why am I such a freak? There are plenty of people I could have called that would have liked to hear from me. Maybe not now at 2 AM, but probably earlier.

Yet I always face my battles alone. I really just didn't want to bring anyone down. I'd rather tell them after I'm better so it sounds like an adventure rather than have people worrying along with me when there's nothing they can do to help at the moment.

By 3 AM my body was shutting down to force me to sleep. The nurse laid my bed flat, hooked up my saline drip and dimmed the lights. I had just finished my last pre-op meal over my call with Marky: a chicken breast with Spanishy rice and green beans and a milk. There were cooked carrots too, but they were not eaten. She also brought a large pitcher of water, which I drank down. After 3 AM I wasn't supposed to even have water to take with pills, just a few shaves of ice. I curled up under the covers with my carefully arranged pillows and managed to pass out.

I woke up at 7 AM with two priorities: finding a place to pee, followed by getting more pain meds. Another 4 ml of morphine. In the washroom I noticed I was getting impetigo again. A tiny spot on my face. Shoot, I had just finished 10 days of Dicloxacillin, an antibiotic that needed to be taken without food. On Wellbutrin, it was hard enough just remembering to eat. Having to manage two mutually exclusive pill events scheduled several times a day was almost too much.

Oh. And I needed to get a Wellbutrin now too. I called an orderly with the request list. He didn't know what impetigo was. The nurse had heard of it. Her sister as a child had it once. They had given her green soap for it. "What's that?" I asked. "It was a long time ago," she said, suggesting Green Soap was from the era of bloodletting, garlic amulets and chanting away the bad humors that carried The Plague. Was she a Highlander? I'd better not ask. There can be only one, and I didn't want to risk a swordfight in my condition.


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