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Daniel Eran

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The Day After
It was midnight, and I was hurting. The nurse said no new Vicodin till 1 AM. I got up to pee again and tried to take a nap. At 12:15 the new nurse suggested giving me morphine now and Vicodin at 2 AM. I took the morphine-now option and asked not to be woken up for a pill so I can just sleep through it. Don't call me; I'll call you.

The morphine option required changing the tape on the IV catheter again. It was a painful process of ripping off the excessive amounts of tape and attached arm hair, and then deploying even more excessive amounts of tape to replace it, guaranteeing further depilation in the future. At least this time it was sealed up properly with gauze holding the tube at a leak proof angle, just in time to not need it again.

Since I could drink fine now, the saline drip ended and I'd get Vicodin by mouth rather than more morphine injected. At least no more leaking; my right side and anything connected to it was looking like a war zone.
I slept from 12:30 to 5:45 AM, when I jumped up to pee and rang for more pills. I was way overdue and could feel it. I was trying to avoid pain meds as much as I could stand. “Why?” asked the nurse. Good question. Bring it on. She freshened up my ice pack and took vitals again. I passed out.

At 8:40 I was served breakfast: pancakes, bacon, juice and milk. Nurse Melissa is a hottie. She gives me more morphine, yeay! I'll have access to pills on my own in a bit. Morphine is nice cause it works right away. I don't feel any rush or high at all. She says it might burn going in, but I don't feel that either.
Mildred the CNA comes in to ask me if I can manage to clean myself up sponge bath style, or if I need help. I thought I'd jump in the shower. She seems to think I couldn't manage it with my splint on. I think I can figure it out. I just need soap and a towel. It's 9:30 AM.

I could hear conversations in the hallway pretty well. Mildred was disappointed that I wanted to take a shower rather than have her give me a sponge bath in bed. “Naughty!” says Melissa. She returned with baby soap, towels, a plastic bag to cover my splint arm and a Kaiser gown. As bad as my SFGH outfit was, the Kaiser gown was like wearing a handkerchief.

Taking a shower was nice after a day and a half of lying around. No more pants, just the scanty gown. It seemed like a step backward to put my boxers back on after taking the shower. It will be nice to get in real clothes. More Vicodin. 10:30 AM.
The young resident doc comes in to talk. Everything went well she says. They want to take more x-rays but I will still be leaving early this afternoon. At noon I got more morphine and then Melissa removed the giant hose IV catheter from my arm. It looked like the bug from the Matrix.

My private line rang. It was the Kaiser kitchen, asking me what I wanted for the next several days. I said I was pretty sure I was leaving soon, but I still needed to run through a series of “what kind of juice?” and ‘chicken or beef?’ and ‘which dessert?’
I started getting worried I was going to miss Chris or that it would take longer than I thought. I was sent down for some quick x-rays and then came up and met Chris in my room. We left the big silly stuffed elephant for the pediatric ward and went to the pharmacy.

I didn't have my money with me, so I had to make a detour to admissions to pick up my stuff that had been checked in. They had stamped my receipt with another patient’s card. I didn't bring anything up about the name being wrong, I just signed my name in an abstract scrawl and they gave me my bag back. We picked up my drugs and headed home.

Chris insisted I should go to the store and get some easy to make things so I wouldn't have to struggle with making food or having to leave to eat. It was a good idea. I didn't anticipate how unhelpful my arm was going to be over the next week. Just over a week later, it's still hard to open jars and shut doors.

I picked up a bunch of Healthy Request microwave dinners and way too much soda and a lot of juice. Drinking gads of Dr. Pepper and Pepsi was a major contribution in my largely sleepless week of staying up too late and feeling crappy in the morning.

I had an appointment to see the orthopedic surgeon a few days later. They had spun it all very favorably, as if only a tiny little cut was made, and my arm had this microscopic screw installed to hold it together. I later found out that was not the case. But that's another story.

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