Wherein your humble host and narrator suffers a stroke - the left side of my body went off-line, and I spent a week in a wheelchair in the rehab hospital.
Quite the adventure this morning ... had to call 911 ... guess I had a stroke last night. now i'm lying here with all kinds of tubes and wires in me. same e.r. crew as when i came here in january after the trip to phoenix.
this is very awkward to type, only one hand, so no uppercase. anyway, there were two police cars and the fire dept. in addition to the ambulance ... half a dozen people crawling all over me ... small cat split for the bedroom and they shut her in while they brought the gurney in through the patio door. i told the cop how to lock up after we left and bring me the key.
7:23 AM i'll have to call lynn to look in on furface tonight. they've taken blood and i'm going to get a cat scan, and once i'm in my room i'll call the folks. my left side is pretty nonfunctional ... had a real hard time getting dressed before i called 911. the episode happened about 2230 last night, while i was watching la law ... felt a chill, and thought my arm had fallen asleep ... a bit dizzy when i got up. should have called for help then.
9:08 AM waiting for the neurologist ... had routine chest xray ... night shift of nurses has given way to day shift ... cat scan was negative ... the bill is probably $500 already.
9:27 AM dr. moray, the neurologist, just left ... on the one hand, it's not lifethreatening. on the other hand, i may be in for a week. the gripping hand is that i'm in the wrong hospital, and will have to be transferred ... hmo blue sez i should be at st. john's instead of lowell general!! dr. bosquet (my primary care who has to authorize all this stuff) has arranged a bed for me over there ... wonder if he'll ever come to visit me?
I hear them discussing me in the hall ... dr moray wants me to stay here because he think it's a better facility.
I got some plastic reading glasses at the drug store the other day ... $7.99 on sale ... brought 2 books with me, but haven't felt like reading. (heard the nurse say that dr bosquet sez i must be moved.) this is really going to be the pits ... no job search this weekend.
well, the xfer was uneventful. my nurse is named dotty. when she went to see about a temporary phone, there was a call for me from pop ... he wasn't going to wait for my call, so he called every hospital in town. he said he's going to fly up to see me, and i told him to wait until i get in touch with brian. i left a message on my landlord's voice mail at his office (his wife was not at home) and tried to call brian finally got through to jan, who sez he won't be back until the 11th she may come to visit tomorrow.
2:16 PM dotty just came for the lunch tray, and sez the phone lady is on the floor, so i'll take care of that and the tv ... i have to use my reading glasses with this palmtop because its just too close. my left arm seems to be weaker than it was when i called 911 this morning, and i cannot raise my left leg. my speech is starting to slur, but i remain alert.
5:11 PM spent the last 2 hours in emr trying to get pix of my carotid arteries ... they say that 'bed rest' means i cannot use the toilet ... we'll see about that!! still have not seen a real doctor (or a male attendant, for that matter) since i was admitted. all these tests, and all i've done is deteriorate.
that bloody nurse said she was going to get my bag of holding out of the drawer for me, then she took off without doing it.
8:14 PM well, i've had my supper and a bath ... they said my blood sugar was 335, so they gave me a shot of insulin. lynn and paul are going to the cape cod minirg this weekend, but they'll stop by to check on her before they leave and when they get back. talked to the folks & p.o., vincent ,& chester jan called them today, too the phone was $15.00, but now i have a direct dial number so people can call me, although I can only make collect calls.
11:45 PM this is pure hell ... been trying to sleep since the last entry, but plagued by petty things woke with chills, asked for a blanket woke again with chills, had the nurse put my socks on woke overheated!
my roommate, who arrived after supper, turns out to be a prisoner from the local house of corrections who had a heart attack today ... he has an armed guard, who will change at midnight. this guy snores like a buzzsaw. the guard has been channel surfing with the remote, and finally settled on one of those cop shows real stories of the highway patrol ... why am i not surprised?
and now, to top it all off, i have the mother of all headaches, probably caused by my medication, and i'm sure they won't give me anything for it. my left hand was swollen, too ... i took off my watch, but had trouble getting the ring off. the nurses are changing shift, so i might as well wait, rather than interrupt them and not get any help anyway.
just got awakened for my inhalers ... they a special respiration therapists to administer them, instead of the floor nurses ... i'm sure this will show up as an additional charge on the bill.
had my first good night's sleep last night, although i learned that i had to be careful about sleeping on my left side ... i have a drooling problem with that side of my mouth.
my new roommate, harold, is an older man who had his stoke on wednesday ... he can't talk yet. his right side is affected, so i joked with his wife about the two of us getting together to play the piano. he's a lot worse off than i am.
listening to npr's morning edition while waiting for breakfast the actor george peppard is dead at age 65, nelson mandella has been officially declared the winner in the south african election and will be sworn in tomorrow. watching some gulls circling for altitude on a thermal over the river ... watched geese flying low along it at sundown last night, heading west toward my lake, or so i like to think. a very sunny day my view is to the north.
finished "the gripping hand" last night ... disappointed that horace bury died at the end. it was a good read, but not quite as good as "the mote in god's eye" ... had to reread my 25 year old copy before i could finish the sequel, and had to reglue the pages to the binding while i was reading it.
10:11 AM my room mate, harold, just had a seizure!! when i came back from the mri, he was sitting in his chair. i had only been in my bed for a few minutes, listening to the bbc, when i heard him gurgling ... once i realized he was convulsing, it took me a few seconds to find my call button and summon help. i had to call them for him last night because he could not find his button, so i guess i'll just be keeping an eye on him while we're together.
10:28 AM george baker from iti called, and dr. bosquet just left ... dr. moray saw me before i went down for the mri.
6:11 PM had another visitor whose name i couldn't remember ... he came down on his lunch hour from nashua ... greg morea from electric boat, kent reed from nist, and ed reid from caterpillar have called darla called again, too ... harold is doing much better today even fed himself tonight this in spite of this morning's episode.
dr. moray stopped by after lunch to look in on harold and told me he'd looked at my mri ... it confirmed what we suspected, a blockage rather than a bleed ... his prescription was aspirin!! i've talked to the liaison nurse from the rehabilitation center in salem, nh the one from woburn left a brochure, but i did not meet her ... hmo blue only gave me these two choices, and right now, salem's ahead on points single story, pet visitations(!!), and I can set up brucilla in my room.
slept most of the night without any problem ... at 07:00, the nursing staff was all over me like fleas on a dog ... tried to stay awake for john wayne gacey's execution last night, but gave up a half hour early ... overcast this morning, so i'm pessimistic about seeing the solar eclipse later today.
npr has been full of nelson mandella's inauguration ... ah, here's the report on gacey ... his last words were that he was being murdered.
i'm having a hassle getting an envelope so i can mail a letter ... there are none at the nursing station, and they seem to be clueless that an envelope with the hospital's logo is sufficient ... i'm really getting sick of living among "civilians' haven't told anyone that i'm a mensan ... the head nurse says they'll try to get me one from the administrative office "when they open".
they couldn't understand why i was getting so upset (i need to send pop some deposit slips for my checking account) and i tried to patiently explain that as much as they were getting paid to do thing to me that i'd been doing by myself for years (a respiratory therapist at $35 per visit three times a day for my asthma inhaler), telling me that they couldn't provide something as simple as an envelope was unacceptable. i made it very clear that i would be even more upset if i had to send someone down to the gift shop with a $50 bill to buy me a get well card so i could use the envelope.
i see some patches of blue in the sky ... maybe i can get someone to take me to the other side of the hall to view the eclipse. i talked to kitty rendle last night ... she'll bring me some clothes & stuff before i get moved ... she hasn't found a job yet, so she has the time, and she's the closest person available who knows where i live.
10:43 AM things have accelerated they will move me to sale at 13:00 today... hope I don't miss too much of the eclipse during the ride ... kitty will have to bring my clothes to the new place i was hoping i could have the stuff before the move. dr. bosquet has been here, i've brushed my teeth, and i'm waiting to be bathed then i'll get dressed for the first time since friday so i'll be ready for the move.
2:56 PM well, i'm here, and i'm not happy they have an antique pbx that wont support modems!!! we're going to see if we can run a wire for me, otherwise i may request a transfer to the other hospital ... i'd give up visiting furface for access to a modem!
the eclipse is almost over ... i made a pinhole card before i left, and when we arrived, i got to view it for a few seconds while on the stretcher it was about 75% covered, about 10 minutes before the ring ... right now, there's just a small piece left covered.
came outside in a wheelchair to have my first cigarette since friday(while waiting for the 911 folks to arrive) they had to call an electrician to approve my boombox before i could plug it in! ah, well it could be worse. oh, yeah ... i can't use my own phone with their pbx, either, so i can't use the memory keys to enter my calling card number ... bummer!
7:04 PM talked to pop & p.o. mom called from atlantic city ... glad she went after all. the pbx at the other hospital is also meshuga, so i'll be staying here for a while ... hmo blue has only authorized me through saturday, unless their beancounter sees me in person ... no testing today (too late) so i'm stuck in this wheelchair until tomorrow.
i think i'll get kitty to bring my pocket modem so i can do *some* email until i can get back online. looks like there's no point in moving brucilla if i can't use the modem, except to maybe work on my journals a bit. this would really be the pits to be cut off from cyberspace for a whole month.
went to bed too early (round 22:00) and now i can't get back to sleep nurse took my b.p. ad turned on the heater i've been shivering under 2 blankets since midnight.
had a strange dream about ann i've left 2 messages and she hasn't called back yet the strangeness was that it was set in washington, dc. now that i think of it, my dreams have been singularly uninteresting, like watching movies or t.v. vickie lawrence and sally fields doing a mother/daughter story that has absolutely nothing to do with my life watching the same scene being filmed after a rewrite pure entertainment, no hidden meaning that i could see. :) another dream had larry o'connell and bob parks as tourists that i bumped into in dc, inappropriately dressed for the climate (new mexico summer in chilly dc spring).
6:26 AM the vampire just left ... apparently she's the new kid on the block ... now it's finger prick time. i'll get kitty to bring mine today this is an encouraged thing. i'm pricked 4 times a day, but i'll go back to 3 in a few days.
last night i discovered i could move the middle fingers on my left hand no response from the thumb, index, or little finger, and the two move only as a pair, but i couldn't do that when the doctor saw me yesterday. oops, battery changing time!
8:54 AM let's see ... changed the batteries, had breakfast, talked to kitty, washed & dressed, and now i'm sitting in the wheelchair waiting for whatever comes next ... the bbc world service (13 hours gmt) starts in a few minutes, so i won't get *too* bored. this wheelchair really sucks ... the foot rests are too high, and one is higher than the other!! they need tools to make any adjustments, but only a physical therapist has the authority to do it, anyway.
9:46 AM been to o.t., waiting for speech to see me ... kitty has to pick up her daughter for the evening at 16:00, so it will be a bit of a juggle i'm scheduled for halfhour sessions with halfhour gaps.
11:31 AM saw the speech therapist in the hall on the way back from p.t., sang the entire first stanza of"i am the very model of a modern major general", and she decided that her services were not required. the gave me a new wheelchair, sans footrests, so i've been pushing myself around with my feet, but i have to get my shoes on instead of these slippers.
12:29 PM had my lunch, came out for a smoke .... all of the staff who smoke are out here with their trays of food, talking about children and pregnancies ... better enjoy the outdoors while i can they're predicting thunderstorms for tomorrow. i have to be back in my room to get kitty's call at 13:00, and maybe the next therapist will be late.
1:41 PM just got off the phone with kitty she arrived to find the door had been forced and the tv and stereo are gone!!! the police were there taking the report terry flannery just happened to be driving by and saw the police cars ... she's called someone from her car phone to replace the door and will stay until the place is secure again.
kitty has packed my clothes and is on the way to pick me up i'll get back somehow ... they moved the b17 model from the tv to the sofa, so there will be finger prints on it. (1:55 PM just hung up from talking to pop he called i wasn't going to call him until i got home). the cop i spoke to on the phone remembered me from an altercation at the drum hill rotary a few years ago.
i guess i better talk to lynn & paul about taking furface for a while she was unharmed, and kitty was scratching her tummy as we talked. (2:01 PM kitty just called to say that she accepted a collect call from dalmar, told him about the stroke, and gave him the phone number here in salem told her he'd have to get the chaplain to call for him, since he can only call collect.)
now i'm going to see what i can do about getting a cane so i can leave here unassisted the upside of this is that i'll be able to check my email. if lynn& paul are not available to bring me back tonight, i'll just get the airport shuttle people to do it.
2:18 PM my doctor's visit was interrupted by a call from steve watts he was at aries in lowell and changed his flight to come visit me!! he was calling from a pay phone on route 93 to get directions. (2:33 PM i have a cane!!) i gave him directions to my place and told him to introduce himself to terry and call me when he got there so i could give him an eta. sheesh old home week steve, kitty, and i together again she's seeing bob jenks, who also got laid off, so that makes 4 excv igesers.
6:52 PM in the limo on the way back to the hospital ... had a nice visit with steve watts ... the limo stopped at the bank so i could get more cash ... they only gave me until 19:00 to get back, and i called to say i would be late. the fingerprint man arrived and took the entire case back to the lab ... the lock man gave me a new key they had to replace the entire door.
they took the speakers from the ceiling, but left the two remote controls!! what pisses me off the most is that the 6 cd set of the complete beethoven symphonies was in the cassette the tape in the vcr was the "lois & clark" episodes. called pop and had a brief chat ... downloaded 40 messages, read none of them
7:38 PM just finished supper about to inventory the loot i had thrown in my knapsack ... sort the stuff into piles for later processing. then i think i'll put the clothes away, have a smoke, take a shower, and call it a day.
11:47 PM all spanky clean in a dirty thobe (had kitty bring the grey one instead of the blue one) ... br. kaleem, his wife, and all three kids (two daughters i'd never seen) came by they heard i'd been discharged from st.johns and called here on a hunch! they brought me two grocery bags of fruit ... more than i can eat as an exclusive diet before it goes bad red, yellow, and green apples (4 of each), ripe and green pears, bananas, 8 navel oranges, humongous strawberries, and a single unidentified orange colored thing (mango?)
i walked to the shower and back, with a cigarette detour ... i'm able to make something much closer to resembling a fist tonight, and did my own fingerprick (with a slight assist from kevin barclay) i can almost touch my middle finger with my thumb!
12:16 AM i've had my sleeping pill and promised i'd be horizontal by half past the hour ... i'll leave the second cd of "tosca" playing to put me to sleep.
they woke me at 06:30 for fingerprick ... did it all myself (142) ... came out to the day room for breakfast they can't find my tray (maybe i'm too early) ah! they got my first & last name swapped!
7:44 AM time for a smoke ... the dietician cornered me at breakfast and asked how i was doing told her to stop sending the snacks :) the kitchen cannot accept outside food, so she suggested i give them to the staff. all of this walking makes me more tired, so i'll have to start taking it easy.
11:06 AM had ot & pt ... more ot before lunch ... forgot to do my snack ... i've got tentative permission to walk unassisted .... walked without the cane from pt ... having problems with dry mouth and lips.
2:45 PM the scuttlebutt is that i'll be discharged on saturday, but i have not been officially notified yet ... probably my attitude has a lot to do with it ... my eyesight is also improving!!
i'm going to call br.kaleem and ask him to get me some underwear the elastic has died in mine and they keep falling down when i walk.
11:42 PM kaleem and his family came by again ... i asked for three pair, and he bought me three *packages* of three pairs!! much as i bitch about my treatment, things could be worse ... kaleem's wife is going to visit her sister in syria in a few weeks, and she's taking a year's supply of blood glucose strips because they are not available over there ... she has to go to jordan and buy her insulin on the black market! you must supply all of your own medication, else you will not be admitted to a hospital ... nonetheless, i'm sending an email nastygram to the white house when i get home.
talked to p.o. for about an hour tonight ... told her that i planned to have a security system put in with the health monitor as well, regardless of how long i was going to be staying there.
one week since my stroke, although now i guess it was more of a severe tia ... yesterday we was cloudy all day with a severe cloudburst, but the sky is clear this a.m., with some not too serious cirrus on the northern horizon ... still pretty chilly, but i'm warm enough sitting in the sun.
composed 4 questions to send to the saturday metropolitan opera quiz ... high hopes that they will use one of them. will find out today if i'll leave tomorrow or sunday ... kaleem will take me home ... the p.t. guy was impressed with my skill at getting dressed this morning ... will get info today about handicapped plates for when i can drive again ... trying to set up my outpatient therapy in a satellite facility of the woburn hospital in billerica on treble cove road, near where lynn & paul live.
9:02 AM arrived at o.t. early, and have just been sitting here waiting for the therapist i'm the only patient here, which makes me wonder what happened ... all the staff seem to be doing charts ... ah, they're starting to wheel people in now, but still no sign of mine.
10:19 AM had the first part of my driving evaluation ... aced the visual tests. the dietician wanted to schedule a predischarge consultation ... i showed her my diet from eileen at st.johns, and she was going to use the same selectameal chart, so we're going to leave me with what i had.
i've been doing pretty good onehanded with this laptop, and am really glad that the editor i'm using, vde, supports function key definitions, so i can get around the limitation of the keyboard.
6:10 PM harold williams, my room mate from st.john's, arrived here this afternoon we just had our supper together in the common area, and we have a date to watch the last st:tng episode tomorrow night ... everything is set for my discharge on sunday, so i'll have kaleem pick me up after breakfast ... brian called from mexico city just as i was sitting down to call mom & pop he suggested i get an inspection & appraisal on the cottage, and pop agreed.
watched "brisco county" and "the x files" in the common area last night ... kaleem dropped by for a minute to check on me ... harold was asleep when i dropped in on him later, but i went too see him as soon as i got dressed and did my finger prick this morning ... there was a snafu with his breakfast, and then i wheeled him back to his room.
it's another sunny but chilly day i'm wearing a sweater, but the sun is very warm while the air is calm ... i've noticed a steady increase in the amount of foliage this past week, and i hope i haven't missed the apple blossoms in the back yard ... saw lilacs for the first time when kitty drove me home on wednesday ... ann called while i was home checking the damage and said she couldn't take furface, but i told her it wasn't a problem any more.
my p.t.session is at 11:30 and o.t is 13:00, then nothing to do except relax until i go home tomorrow ... i was mistaken that the last st:tng is tonight it will be next week. i've raised the priority on the replacement of the tv because i need a vcr to view the exercise tapes :)
1:50 PM had lunch with harold, called pop, went to o.t. & spent most of the time looking through catalogs of products for the physically challenged got to the "spreadboard", a flat plate with raised corners for holding a piece of bread while you spread something on it, and realized that i cannot make a peanut butter & jelly sandwich or even put mayonnaise on one, or open a package of sliced cheese, and i lost it ... this is only the second time i've cried this week, and it made me realize the i haven't even started to work on the grief yet ... i guess counselling is something i'll be needing, too. only one cigarette left i'll save it for tonight.
4:19 PM ali, a 19 year old anglo muslim, just left after an hourlong visit ... we talked a lot about freemasonry. kaleem introduced me to him at jumat in lowell last month, and i bumped into him yesterday in the hall ... he said i looked familiar to him, but he couldn't place me it didn't take us long to sort it out ... he's on the kitchen staff here, and his mother is also an employee they live in lawrence ... we chatted outside for a while yesterday, and he stopped by to visit today.
been thinking a lot about how to diversify my wiz worx business and generate revenue ... the scanner is the key, and i need to get a color printer to really make it work ... offering scanning with color proofs allows me to charge more, and offering color printing for people (separations for printers??) such as realtors.
5:18 PM just finished supper warren, jr called just before ... told him about the breakin, and how i plan to order a shillelagh from harrods ... he encouraged me to get with the daily walking.
one of the nurses, betsy fuller, overheard me showing some of my photos to harold ... her husband was a prophoto major at r.i.t. in the late 70s, about the time i was taking comp.sci. courses ... i promised to send her some star trek wallpaper for her windows desktop.
9:14 PM well, i only got to see the first half of st:tng tonight ... nadeem & reshma appeared in my room 15 minutes before it started, so i dragged them out to the common room to join harold, who was already waiting at supper i had told him i would come and get him ... at 19:30, nadeem's uncle, sultan chowdhry, showed up with his wife & 3 kids, so i trooped everyone back to my room to relate the whole week's adventures for the umpteenth time (with the 25 8x10 glossy picture & the circles and arrows, etc.) only bit my tongue once ... they left when visiting hours ended at 20:30, i wandered down to chat with harold for a while, and i have just finished my last cigarette ... sitting under the light for warmth, i'm also having to swat away the flying insects ... my last night here, and tomorrow i have to spend on my feet shopping ... have just about got my list finished stop by the house first to get my sears credit card and maybe get most of my stuff there so that i won't impact my other plastic.
11:54 PM happened to try the t.v. in the room, and found that it was fully functional, so i'm watching "jaws", the original ... i'll do it as far as "we're gonna need a bigger boat" and then get my sleeping pill.
signed my discharge papers, and i'm waiting for kaleem to pick me up ... the first stop is for prescriptions and a cane osco drugs. i may get the microwave today, but i'll hold off on the tv until the middle of the week.
[See I'm getting better - an e-mail broadcast about the Event.]