Saturday, October 22, 2005

Well, the leg is getting better. I'm able to walk without the crutches, wearing the boot, of course. The problem is that I walk like a bad John Wayne impersonator: leaning forward, elbows bent, fists clenched, and like I'm walking downhill.

It still swells up while I'm at work. I should keep it elevated, but if I did that the boss might think I'm lazy. Well, actually, she does, but sitting around with my leg on the desk might just cement the impression that I'm lazy. Since I don't want to leave her with that impression, I don't put the foot up at work. When I get home, it looks like an eggplant with Vienna sausages on one end.

Good night! I'm here all week!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The entellus Dillemma

Today I updated the "Collected Writings" page. I finally found the Star Trek fanzine that published "The Entellus Dilemma." I scanned the pages, and spent two days editing it to make it readable. I would say, "Enjoy," but it's really bad. That story basically violated every Star Trek writing rule, and didn't use the supporting characters very well.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A Lesson in Medical Terminology

I arrived at the hospital at 7:30 am, as instructed, without anything to eat or drink since before midnight. I registered at the front desk, then hobbled back, down a 75 yard long hallway, to Outpatient Surgery. After six weeks on crutches, I still can't catch my breath when I walk long distances. I wondered aloud why they force you to use a wheelchair when you leave, but don't bother when you arrive.

When I got to outpatient surgery, the nurse told me to change into the hospital robe, and said she'd be right back. Twenty minutes later, she came in and took my medical history. Then she compared it to the rather lengthy form I filled out the night before to make sure I hadn't changed any of my answers. She gathered up the forms and said she'd be right back.

Thirty minutes later, I opened an old copy of Reader's Digest and had only read about six pages when the nurse came in and tried to start an IV. After much cursing and slapping of my veins, she called in reinforcements. They finally managed to get the IV in at 8:45 am. (Apparently, my veins are, like me, deep.)

At 9 am, they told me that they were ready for me upstairs, and asked if I needed to go to the bathroom. I said no. My surgery was scheduled for 9:30, after all and was supposed to take only about 30 minutes. So down the hallway we went to pre-op. The orderly who pushed my gurney and me into pre-op was named Jeffrey, too. But when people greeted us in the halls with, "Hi, Jeff!" I wondered how so many of these people knew my name. And this was before the drugs.

In pre-op, a nurse who looked like my mom's youngest sister, Delores, greeted me in a voice that was a dead ringer for my aunt's. "Hi, Jeff! How are you today?"

For a couple of minutes, I wondered how Delores got here from Hobbs, New Mexico, and why she would come just to see me when the screws were taken out. Then I realized she wouldn't come just for that, and I remembered that Jeffrey was the orderly.

As soon as I was in the pre-op area, a nurse came along to get my medical history, and compared it with the two previous forms just in case I'd developed something in the elevator. Then, she left me alone, while she chatted with the two other nurses on duty.

The nurse who looked like my aunt was from Amarillo, and had that West Texas twang my aunt had, so I spent the next hour remembering that she wasn't Delores.

That's right. An hour and a half. Laying there on a gurney with nothing to read. I finally flagged down Delores and said I needed to pee and that I couldn't walk. She brought me the necessary equipment and draining my bladder killed a couple of minutes. Then the first nurse said, "I don't know why they brought you up here so early," as she handed me a magazine. I got to page six, when the OR nurses came to wheel me into surgery.

The anesthesiologist came in, and made sure I hadn't had a surgery since I arrived that morning, while on of the nurses wrote on a dry erase board on the wall "10:27." Then I got my happy juice and was out like a light.

They woke me up at 11:30, and rolled me back into Outpatient Surgery. They let me dress and by 12:30 pm, Jeffrey wheeled me out to the car in a wheel chair. I did ask him where he was when I got there this morning.

So here's the lesson in medical terminology: "right back" and "ready for you" mean "in an hour or so." Plan your next hospital trip accordingly.