Last week I wrote a bit about my adventures over the last month or so with H1N1 and pneumonia, including some information about my twelve-day hospital stay. I have been home for two weeks now and am even back to work part-time. I have great doctors, friends, family and co-workers and believe that I am truly on my way to a full recovery. This week I will do my best to fill you in with this next chapter of my hospital happenings (part 2), which I affectionately call “Isolation, desolation.”
While spending over a week in the intensive care unit (ICU) of Memorial Hospital I had some interesting experiences. Because of my particular combination of maladies I was placed in isolation, which meant no phone, few if any visitors (at my own request) and a television with limited channels – and many of those kept shorting out. The time I spent on that floor felt a bit like an episode of the old television show Twilight Zone. Having all who enter the room dressed in masks, yellow hospital gowns and gloves set an eerie mood in the stark surroundings. The curtain at the side of the bed shielded the only clock in the room so most of the time I didn’t know the time, let alone the day or what was going on in the world. I guess you could say it was a bit like being in Las Vegas – without all the showgirls and entertainment. Anyway – I’m not complaining about any of that because my caregivers were angels and I was so sick I really didn’t care what was happening with the rest of the universe. My time was spent concentrating on what I could do to help myself feel better. I took my medicine, I slept as much as I could, and I religiously accepted my breathing treatments every four hours and found myself actually looking forward to them.
One of my big problems was eating. Everything tasted concentrated. Oranges were too orangey, juice was too sweet, ice was too cold, low-fat milk tasted like heavy cream, sipping spiced tea was like drinking pure clove oil, etc. It was all so yucky that I had one heck of a time eating. If that wasn’t enough I really had to watch my meal trays because although I have celiac disease and can’t have gluten, many times gluten products still appeared on my plate. (Note: it took several days, but thanks to my doctors two different dietitian/nutrition folks came up to visit with me and eventually straightened out the gluten thing.) My wacky taste buds are now back to normal, and I have to say the sixteen pounds I lost sure didn’t hurt me any.
Keeping myself occupied between naps and doctor/nurse stuff was a challenge. My biggest accomplishment was coming up with a new way to remember the name of the planets. What? When I was in elementary school one of my teachers had each of us students make up a personalized sentence containing nine words that started with the first letter of each planet. Mine was – “ Mr. Vernon Eats My Jelly Sandwiches Under Neena’s Porch.” Well for some reason during one of my raging fevers I decided that since Pluto was no longer considered a planet it was important for me to create a new line to replace the one I had relied on for decades – but this time eliminating a word to represent the “P” in Pluto. Here is what I came up with… “My Veterinarian Earns Money Just Sitting Up Nights.” Brilliant, isn’t it?
Next week – part 3, “Isolation, my salvation.”
Happy Thanksgiving to you all. May you have delicious and nourishing food, sparking conversation with friends and family, and time to rest and be mindful of all your many blessings.