Friday, January 24, 2003
Don't insult the nurses
was my gallbladder operation and I was expecting something along the lines
of a root canal. Iíd done my homework and talked to several people who have
had the operation. It just didnít sound like it would be that big of a deal.
OK, a root canal can be pretty bad but it doesnít mean an overnight stay in
the hospital and I was expecting this operation to be along those lines.
For this laparoscopic operation they pump your midsection full of CO2 to
separate the organs thus allowing access to the gallbladder. When the doctor
was doing that to me he ďnickedĒ my aortic artery causing bleeding. It was a
serious mistake/accident and though he continued to remove my gallbladder,
there was no way I was going home that day. I was hustled by ambulance to
the main Kaiser hospital in San Diego and spent the next three days in their
This was my first real surgery and it was my initiation into a world that,
most likely, everyone will experience one way or another during their
lifetime. In the past Iíve been the observer but now I was center stage.
I now know what it feels like to have a catheter. Unfortunately the nurses
were kind of new at it themselves and before the task was accomplished, I
had three women trying to get it right. (Thereís no way to word that last
sentence appropriately) Thankfully the third nurse got it done and I spent
the next two days without the need to walk to the toilet. Embarrassment was
never a factor during this undertaking. Man, you just want them to get it
right the first time!
Another thing I learned was to be circumspect when dealing with the nurses.
I realized that when I pointed out a problem with one of the sensors that
was glued to my chest. Every time I would begin to drift off to sleep it
would think I had stopped breathing. Beepers would go off and the nurse
would come in to see if I had died. Obviously it just needed some adjustment
but the nurse preferred to think that it was doing its job keeping me alive.
I appreciated her concern until I noticed that she had turned off the
warning beeps at her desk and just let it beep incessantly at my bed, waking
me up every time I was about to fall asleep. We discussed it. She pointed
out that maybe I had sleep apnea and once she even commented that I just
wasnít breathing correctly. There was no way she was going to make
adjustments to ďherĒ respiration monitor. I crossed the line when I
mentioned it to the doctor. He was surprised that it was even being used and
he quickly told the nurse to unhook the darned thing.
One of the things a child of alcoholic parents learns is how to interpret
the moods of other people. I had gone too far and she was pissed. Luckily,
this was after her failed attempt at inserting the catheter. I can only
imagine what that ordeal would have been like if she had been really angry
while trying that. Anyway, after the doctor interceded, she never spoke to
Iím home now. I feel kind of crappy but Iím taking next week off to
recuperate. I can imagine how bad it must be for someone getting over a
ďrealĒ illness. I consider myself lucky and no, Iím not suing the hospital.
Bowl Sunday in San Diego and I'm supposed to be excited. I haven't followed
football for about 20 years and if it doesn't have something to do with
Notre Dame, I don't pay much attention.
October 3, 1966 Monday
I've been in another of my strange moods for
the past week. Sometimes when I'm in a good mood I'll really show it by
singing and talking a lot. When I'm in a bad mood I'm grouchy and irritable
but lately I've been in a mood that's somewhere in the middle. Nothing seems
to interest me. I just go around in the same routine and I canít get
enthusiastic about anything. Maybe itís just that everythingís been the same
for such a long time I need something to liven things up. I sure wish we had
more of a change in Coronado during the winter. It
seems to just stay like autumn until summer. We had a pretty big storm this
morning and the air is very clear. If it wasnít for school tomorrow it would
be perfect to go up on the roof. You could see for miles around.
It still seems like autumn but I can detect a
slight change during the nights. During the summer as you walk down the
street, you can smell hundreds of different aromas from the pollen and
flowers. Now when you go outside at night thereís a certain crispness in the
air that makes you feel cool and refreshed. The trouble is that we never get
anything else in Coronado. I really miss having snow storms or at least
something more like winter. You can imagine trying to get into the Christmas
spirit when the temperature is 68 degrees.
A few weeks ago I slept over a Kirks. We
stayed in the apartment that his parents own in the back of his house.
Thereís a room upstairs with a big picture window and you can look over to
the ocean. It isnít very important but late that night I woke up and looked
out. The beacons at the airport were on and there was a gentle mist over the
whole area. Itís times like that when I wish I was an artist because it was
such a peaceful and calm sight. I would have loved to capture it on paper.