I was rabid when they wheeled me to a non CF-Floor. Tasmanian Devil, I was.
The “normal-people” floor meant I’d be forced to explain my meds and condition to a nursing staff lacking in CF experience, which is a pain worse than surgery. It’s one thing to be a mutant, another to have to explain it to others.
And being admitted late on a Friday night? God, no, not the back-up staff.
Having not anticipated the overnight stay, I was missing my med list and usual survival pack of enzymes, nebulizers, and other meds it takes the hospital a couple of days to get me.
The Universe spoke: “Let’s see how you do when I drop you into the middle of Hell with just an iPad mini, five bucks in your pocket, and a catheter in your bladder. Have fun.”
Survival mode entered. Not because I thought the hospital would kill me overnight, but because of what it might give me in the short time I was there. Or, what I like to call a medical “parting gift,” like C Diff or a blood clot. Or a new exotic bacteria. Or a virus. MERS anyone?
My mind swirled with the possibilities of what an open, oozing wound would earn me this time. Flesh-eating bacteria? Staph? MRSA?
Nurse, can you get me some scuba gear, a wet suit, and a spear gun, please?
Early that morning, they removed the catheter and gave me a window of six hours to urinate. If I didn’t, my pal Foley was going back in. Hell no.
I started drinking bottle after bottle of water, one after another, filling up. If another catheter was in my future, I was going to make sure that when they tapped me it was a Yellowstone geyser, not a trickle.
Luckily, the floodgate opened within the first hour and opened and opened and opened again, making me regret drinking so much.
Then it took another 5 hours to discharge me because once the hospital has me in its clutches, it doesn’t want to let me go. I’m one of its favorite patients.
* * *
It’s been two weeks since the surgery. I went back to work on the Monday after the surgery and learned why some people get a week off, which I declined. It was a grind of a week and each afternoon ended in a face-down nap.
I think I tore the outer incision a bit because it’s been oozing and I have to place gauze over it daily. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t become an infection.
I’ve been very happy since the surgery. And it’s not because of the giant supply of painkillers they gifted me – I’ve taken two. No, it’s something else.
It’s shockingly clear image of the man across from me who had cancer and a blood pressure so low I can’t believe he was living. And the person next to me who had cancer. And the woman in the waiting room whose husband had cancer.
I’ve been really happy just to be alive since then. Every day is a gift. Sometimes the Universe reminds me of that in the strangest of ways. But the signs are always there.