Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mutts, Men and Angels

I am overwhelmed by your response to my entry. My old friends have made me feel loved. What a nice gift they have given me. And then there is the new people, people that I have never spoken to. The fact that they have shared with me time taken from their normal daily activities makes me feel very privileged. I love getting acquainted with new people. Thank you so much for visiting me. I look forward to getting acquainted with all of you.

Nellemclaughlin”, in her comment, asked how the beagle adjusted to me being in the hospital. Not to well, I’m afraid. The family says that when the EMI’s started to take me away the beagle went crazy; barking and crying.

The only time that I cried with frustration while I was hospitalized was the night that I couldn’t stop missing his warm body hugging me before he went to bed. The family had told me that he was very depressed and hardly raised his head to join the family activities. His normal routine has always been to grab his mailman doll and take it outside with him when he goes outside at night for the last time. He usually barks goodnight to all his neighborhood friends and after the noise has calmed down he picks up his doll and the two of them come back into the house. While I was gone he would grab his doll and go outside and cry. When I heard that it broke my heart. After I was transferred to the facility I happened to mention to one of the CNA’s that I missed my dog and she told me that I could have him brought to the facility. So that is what the family did for the beagle and me. It had been over two months since we had seen one another, but when he saw me sitting in my wheelchair by the car he turned his head as if to punish me for leaving him, then the minute I touched him and said his name he dropped his suspicious attitude and put his headin my arms. All was suddenly forgiven, but he didn’t trust me again for awhile. The minute I came home and sat in my chair he placed himself on my feet and if someone came to visit me he wouldn’t let them near me until I begged him. He has finally given up sitting on my feet but he goes with me if I move from one room to another. He even sits outside the bathroom while I bathe. He wont go into the bathroom with me because there is water in there and he HATES water, but he sits outside and talks to me while I bath and he sleeps beside my bed every night. He even warned his friend the kitty cat to stay away from me until he gave her permission. I have never seen him growl at the cat, but when she spotted me and tried to come over and say “Hi” he growled so loud that she jumped and ran. It was several days before he allowed her to get close to me. We all laughed our sides silly, but I understood how he must have felt.

I have a head full of things I would like to share with you, but if the stories get to be too much please let me know and I will tap what’s left of my feeble mind for other things to share with you.

When I woke up in ICU I was full of the morphine that I detest and the more I stared at the clock the more confused I got. I had forgotten how to tell time! It only took me two sessions with one of the Physical Therapists to get the ability back, but the experience certainly helped me understand why my granddaughter found learning time one of the hardest things that she had to learn. She and I laugh about it now, but at the time she was trying to learn I really worried for her.

I also had a very confusing visit from my sister. I had no idea that my hair had been shaved off. I assume that the family thought it was a minor detail after what they had been through. But when my sister walked into the cubicle all she talked about was how beautiful I looked with no hair. She repeatedly told me that if she thought she would look like I looked she would go home and shave her head. I thought she was just trying to make me feel better about myself and I tried to tell her that I didn’t need her to say things for my ego when my son spoke up and said, “You know that African American woman that you think is so beautiful with no hair? Well you look very much like she does.” I thought they were both silly and never asked to see a mirror. By the time that I did see myself in a mirror I had fuzz all over my head and I didn’t think that was very good looking at all. My family has banded together to disagree with me. I don’t know whether they are pulling one of their pranks, but my son did say that he would suggest I keep my head shaved. He says that if I went out in public with a shaved head with the huge scar running down the back of my scalp I would look like one of the toughest women in the city.

My conclusion is they’re all nuts. This bald head business is freezing cold. I had no idea that no hair let one’s head get so cold. When I was in the facility I was shivering because of my cold head so I coerced Scott into letting me wear his baseball cap. It warmed me up so much Scott let me keep the hat. But I couldn’t sleep with the hat on because it hurt the new scar on the back of my head, and I would wake up because my head was freezing. So, my son brought me one of his knit caps to sleep in. Only someone with no hair on their scalp could understand what comfort that brought me. When I got home one of the first things I did was knit myself a feminine hat. I put one of my pins on the front of it to dress it up a bit. I hardly ever take the thing off.

Another reason I hardly ever take it off is because my blond, naturaly curly hair is growing back in very dark and straight as string. I hardly recognize myself when I look in the mirror. No one in my family has ever had hair this color. I can do something about the color, but I have no idea if I can learn to deal with straight hair. I have always had defiant curls to deal with. Guess I‘m going to have to learn a new hair style.

When I first woke up I had a hard time getting my mouth to say the things that were in my head and they tell me that I often didn’t make a lot of sense. They got in the habit of telling me that I was talking nonsense and we would all have a big laugh. The doctor repeatedly told me that my ’good mind’ would return in time so I tried not to worry about my mumblings. But my family kept a close watch on the mistakes I made and constantly corrected me.

One morning when my son was visiting me I said, “I had a visit from an angel last night.”

“You’re talking nonsense again mom.”

“No I’m not, listen.”

“OK mom, an angel visited you (tongue in cheek attitude).”

“Yes. I was in this room all by myself and I was in a lot of pain with my legs. No one here understands polio so they attach very little validity to my complaints of leg pain. But I was holding onto the side rails of my bed rocking with the pain in my legs when a man walked down the hall. For some reason he looked into my room and asked me why I was in distress. I told him that my legs were causing me a lot of pain. He told me to ring for my nurse and when I told him I didn’t remember how to do that he came into my room and showed me how. Then he told me that he would go see if I was allowed to have something for pain. When he came back he had some Vicodin and a glass of water. Then he told me that I needed to back away from the side rails because I had put so much pressure on them they were buckling and I was going to fall out of bed. When I tried to tell him how much I appreciated what he had done for me he smiled and said, “My name is Gabriel and my job is to help. See what I’m telling you. He was an angel.”

“Yea Mom. Once again you had a dream that you think really happened.”

About that time one of the nurses came into my room and said, “What did you say his name was?”

“He called himself Gabriel.”

“Oh, you met our night nurse., Gabriel. He is an angel isn’t he?”

And it was my turn to laugh. My son was wrong. My ’good mind’ WAS coming back.

I will always remember my angel. One reason is, he helped me prove that my thinking processes were coming back into place, and the second reason is because the men employees in the hospital were quicker and kinder then the women. Maybe the reason it was that way was because men in the nursing field are somewhat newer and less desensitized to the surrounding moaning and groaning. Maybe I’m full of beans, but my experience was softer and kinder when it was a man that was helping me. I met so many male angels, but only one named Gabriel.

Want to hear another story involving a man? This man was a young Physical Therapist. As I’ve told you before the PT’s didn’t believe anything I said about my capabilities. They also knew nothing about polio patients. I had had several female PT’s, but they complained that I was too difficult. One of the females even got John to come to the place to try to coerce me into doing something that I knew I couldn’t do. She said, “Do that in the next minute or else.”

I answered, “Or you’ll what? I‘m not about to try something here that I am unable to do at home. I cannot do that and I am not about to put out the energy trying to do something just to make you like me.” She turned around and left the room and that was the last time that I ever saw her.

It was decided that I couldn’t get along with women and they sent their big gun for my next PT appointment. Their big gun was a Puerto Rican man in his early 30’s that was as cute as a button and smiled constantly. He told me once that he had been warned that I was a very difficult patient, but he couldn’t understand that because he didn’t find me that way at all. Maybe that was because he never threatened me and he laughed as much as I did.

One sunny afternoon he came in and announced that I was going home soon and the PT staff couldn’t release me until I had been taught how to transfer from a wheelchair into a car. “I can do that. I do that all the time,” I answered.

“Then you’ll have to prove it to me,” he said as he prepared to take me outside.

I had on a pullover sweater that had been brought from home, but other then that all I had on was a hospital gown. The weather was lovely so I didn’t give much thought to how I was dressed. Come to think of it neither did he. He pushed my wheelchair into the first floor of the parking structure that faced the busy street and announced that the white car was the PT staff’s car and we could use it for my demonstration. So I reached over, opened the door, lifted myself out of the wheelchair, started to pivot so my back would be to the passengers seat when all of a sudden a gust of wind grabbed my gown and lifted it up over my head. I stood there bare assed naked from the waist down for all the world to view. Cars out on the street started blowing their horns and my friendly male PT started laughing so hard he almost fell. In the meantime I had to balance myself and try to catch my gown all at the same time. His laughter was so infectious that I started laughing too. I couldn’t help it .... besides the laughter helped cover my embarrassment. At any rate, as he laughed his sides sore I took one hand and held my gown down and used the other hand to balance myself as I lowered my butt into the passengers seat. Eventually he was able to get his laughter under control and he looked me right in the eye and said, “Miss Sandra you amaze me. I think maybe we should start to believe you when you say you can do something.” But as he was pushing my wheelchair back into the hospital he couldn’t stop himself from bursting into loud peals of laughter every once in awhile.

It may have taken me awhile and a good deal of embarrassment but I was finally able to convince one of the PT’s that I COULD do what I said I could do. It was a great feeling of accomplishment even if I did blush every time I thought about it.

I have another lovely story about two Mexican men that brought me tons of relief and happiness, but I’ll save that for another day.

To all those that have left a comment I want to say that I will visit your journals, but the time I can sit in this chair and not get a raging neck ache is limited. My head and body are still getting used to a neck missing yet another bone. Please be patient with me and I will get with each and every one of you.

Thank you so very much, Love

Isn't this tag beautiful. Gunhbaodseen of 'sugarsweet056 made it for me. I love it. It's not only sweet and beautiful it makes a statement of how my mind feels every once in awhile, full of butterflies flying all over the place. The feeling soon passes, but while the butterflies are fliting all over the place I feel like I have been damaged. This tag makes the damage I feel look absolutely lovely. There was no way that Gunhbaodseen could have known this creation was making a statement, but it is absolutely perfect. Thank you, thank you. Miss Sandra

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