Here a beep, there a beep

1907/16th September 2021

When I called it quits yesterday, I was attempting to get some rest after a somewhat shocking day which ended with emergency abdominal surgery.

It had not remotely featured on my daily plan, but there it was and I had come through, shedding another small piece of my anatomy. It made me wonder where all these bits of myself finished up. Incinerated, probably, unless my thyroid or my gall bladder are sitting somewhere in a glass jar for people to gawp at.

When all of this is over and my spirit has departed, I have asked that my shell be donated to science. I had the notion that it could be of interest to students to witness the effect of a fused spine. At least I would have accomplished one useful thing.

But they can refuse. The ultimate rejection!

But we’re not there yet.

Before surgery, the doctor had mentioned that I would be on a ventilator but that it would probably be removed before I woke up. My look must have said “make it happen!” and luckily I remained unaware of the thing…

…mostly, at least. It is fair to say, I think, that most doctors are not aware of Burning Mouth Syndrome, but even if they were, I doubt there is an option to the ventilator.

However, if you have the syndrome, you will be well aware of the ventilator long after it has been removed. A raw throat and mouth were an added discomfort. But the nice nurses brought me iced sherbet to soothe it.

What they did not bring me was my nightly ativan.

It’s an anti-anxiety drug. At one time I took up to 4 mg daily but now I have weaned myself down to a fraction of that amount, a mere milligram that helps me (sometimes) to sleep. The drug is addictive, so even though the dose is slight, I am dependent on it.

Thus, when the nurse brought my meds and there was no evidence of ativan, I groaned. Previously, when I had been on the much higher dose, I was hospitalized (this is embarrassing) 5 days with an infected finger. Cat bite. Be very wary of cat bites.

The surgeon (butcher) in that case also omitted to order ativan and because I was then habituated to a much higher dose, I had severe withdrawal issues.

Theoretically, being on such a small amount now, the omission of my “fix” that night should not have been all that problematic.

But I was not happy. There was nothing the nursing staff could do. They said they would put a message through to the surgeon (now retired for the night) and if he agreed, they would put an order in to the pharmacy.

Now: The pharmacy is a whole separate entity. It can take 12 hours to obtain a prescription. Even when it has been filled, a nurse needs to find the time to go and get it, in between silencing beeps and entering data into computers.

Here’s another thing: each pill comes in an individual wrapper, coded so it can be scanned into the computer and added to THE BILL. Talk about waste.

Waste created by hospitals is so obscene I can’t bear to think about it. But imagine the time wasted, scanning the code, getting all those pills out of all those wrappers, placing them in little plastic cups to hand to the patient….

Where are the time and motion men?

One of the nurses told me Administration had decreed that all pertinent information must be entered into the computer at 9 pm, but co-incidentally that happens to be the time when medications must be delivered, which makes for a little inefficiency.

It reminded me of the time, when I had been checking in passengers for over 30 years and some fool half-wit decided that every check-in must be the same.

Needless to say, I carried on doing my own thing till the day I retired. Big Brother was watching but he could get stuffed.

That night I just sighed and accepted some extra strength Tylenol (in individual packets), sipped some water, burped and tried to block my ears.

Bless the nurses, they found me ear plugs but they kept popping out and when I did get them to stay put, they made my ears hurt. Some people are never satisfied.

In the end I put my fingers in my ears which deadened most of the noise.

But throughout the night people were coming and going for “vitals” that had to be, you guessed it, put into the computer (beep).

By dawn I was beginning to crack because, you see, there was also the issue of my roommate...

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