Sunday, May 21, 2006

Snippets of Memory

Roused to consciousness, I was being prepped for either ambulance transport or surgery (that part is vague). Two nurses are looking at me as I lay there and one asks, “What’s that?” At this point I have immediate realization that no matter how bad you feel, before going to a hospital, change into citizen’s underwear. Having to explain why you wear kaupins is always a trip, but after major blood loss, it becomes a mountain. A mumbled, “traditional loincloth”, only brought a bemused smile to the nurse’s lips as she asked permission to cut them off. Which I granted, as I was beyond removing them.

This is from my wife. After watching me vomit what she perceived as gallons of blood and waiting for what seemed hours, she was in a bit of anxiety. A transport ambulance to Pittsburgh (UPMC) had arrived after initial emergency treatment was performed. That had been a wait. Then another while blood was brought for the trip. Then, after I was finally loaded, and a transport nurse was located and assigned, more waiting. My wife asked what they were waiting for now, and they said the transport nurse had left. When my wife asked where she went, they sheepishly admitted she had gone to get a donut. The realization is that even if something is life changing for you, for someone else it’s just another day at the office.

After coming out of the coma, I was tied to the bed with catheter, heart monitor, IVs, etc. As such, when they gave me a laxative, options were limited to pass in place and ring for a cleanup. Sort of like a newborn. Later, when they tried to give me more laxative, I refused to take it. I’m on a high fiber diet, and what may be a good thing for white bread and meat eaters, really wasn’t necessary. The reason they want the patient to have lots of bowel action is so ammonia is excreted properly and doesn’t build up in the blood. This can cause a brain condition they call encephalopathy, symptoms of which include confusion and extreme tiredness.

Even though I was familiar with the term and the condition, when the doctor was trying to convince me to take the laxative, she was explaining it again. Only for some reason, her accent or something, it sounded to me like she said “enfecalopathy.” So I had this vision that they wanted me to pass stool otherwise my brain would get full of feces. This struck me as extremely funny, and I cracked up. So she is trying to have a serious conversation, and I am laughing like a madman. I tried to explain why I thought it was so funny, but realized I needed to get a grip or she would think I really was encephalopathic. So I apologized and promised to behave. I didn’t take anymore of that laxative though.


At 11:22 PM, Blogger bhima said...

Oh man!!! You have me in stitches, if you keep these kind of stories going I just might end up with enfecelopathy from spasmodic, rhythmic contractions of my abdominal muscles pushing everything in the wrong direction.

The Journal of the American Medical Association published an article, wherein the author wrote that "a humor therapy program can increase the quality of life for patients with chronic problems and that laughter has an immediate symptom-relieving effect for these patients, an effect that is potentiated when laughter is induced regularly over a period". [1]


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