Room Switch and Progress
Last Friday December 21, 2018, (the Winter ❄️ solstice ☀️ ) my nurse’s aid came in and asked if I heard they were going to move me to another room. As I was slightly dozing 😴 in the recliner chair I spend the majority of my time elevating my injured ankle, I answered groggily; “No, I hadn’t heard anything about that.” She proceeded to inform me that a room with a friendlier bathroom/shower layout was coming open, and she had arranged for me to move to this room. Within ten minutes, everything in the room was packed, and placed on my hospital bed, which was wheeled into the new room along with the heavy-duty commode 🚽 chair and recliner. They put me in the wheelchair and told me to take a lap around the floor while they set things up.
I was happy at the prospect of taking a real hot-water shower, as I hadn’t been able to in over a month since I’ve been there. Apart from the difficulty moving from the wheelchair, to the commode chair, which had been moved in and placed under the shower, it was as satisfying as I had hoped. After feeling refreshed and reinvigorated, I got back in the reclining chair, and proceeded to doze 😴 off, waking around 4:00 AM and proceeding to go back to sleep.
Holidays and Festivus
The lovely Brielle came to visit on Christmas, and shared a small holiday feast consisting of half a Starbucks Holiday Panini (Turkey/Gravy/Cranberry Herb 🌿 Stuffing) on a panini roll, as well as some potatoes 🥔 au-gratin and apple 🍎 cobbler. She also left mini stroopwafels 🍪, which are decadent and evil, as they caused me to break my daily carbohydrate limit by a grip. She also made an unannounced visit on Boxing Day, which was nice. This whole episode has been hard on her, as she’s had to deal with the furry minions by herself, without any help. All are either sick, just got fixed, an had recent tricky surgeries. The dogs and two young kitties have all been wearing Elizabethan collars to keep them from chewing on their surgery scars. At least one of the kitties has been a bad kitty, being a pill and raising a ruckus on a regular basis. 😈😼
Since I was moved to the 7th floor, I’ve always had a neighbor or two that are constantly disrupting the peace and harmony of my environment. When I first got moved up, I was near the nurse’s 👨⚕️ station, and my next door neighbor, and elderly man, had an alarm 🚨 set on his bed, that started a siren and proceeded to blurt “Do Not Get Up!” repeatedly over a loudspeaker. 📢 A contingent of two or three nurses and aids, would march into the room, and proceed to tell the occupant not to move, just hold on until they could help him. It was a constant struggle to sleep with the alarm going off several times overnight, as well as during the day.
Currently, after first being moved to a room with southern exposure (a good view of the helipad, but too much direct sun ☀️ coming in the window, causing heating and cooling difficulties) and then being moved into a room on the east side of the building, I’ve got a neighbor, I’m dubbing “The Groaner” who is constantly wailing like a pirate biting down into a tough piece of shark 🦈 gristle. AarrRRRrrr! RRrraawwWWW! It has been going on for days, and is quite a distraction. 😖
Food Service Woes
My other current peeve is the food service. While they give you a great variety of healthy foods, (even on the carbohydrate restricted diet) they have a system that is problematic, and doesn’t recover well from small errors.
Today, I ordered a breakfast (pictured above) of salmon, 🐟 bacon 🥓, sausages, and scrambled eggs 🍳. They delivered a packet of honey 🍯 mustard salad 🥗 dressing, instead of the Dijon mustard I had ordered. 😠This is the second time they have done this in the last few weeks, probably due to a computer 💻 UI shortcoming, as the ordering process is complex for both the orderer, and the order taker.
Everything on the menu is “ala carte” which means you have to account for and order each item, including salt, pepper, mustard or tobasco and specify how many packets.
If they forget to bring something, even though it was on the ticket, you have to call back down and re-order it and wait another thirty to forty-five minutes for them to bring the item. It would also show up twice on your daily nutritional report, misstating that you had eaten two of them, instead of one. 😡
All in all, however, I am happy with the service they are providing, because it could be much much worse. 🤢
On Christmas Eve 🎄 🎁 , there was a group of carolers 🎤 🎶 roaming the hallway. They walked on by without opening the curtain or stopping at the room entrances. I didn’t get any footage of the carolers, but I did get a video where you can hear them sing as they stroll by the room entrance.
Closing Notes 📝
As of this upcoming Monday, December 31st, 2018. I’ll have been in the Hospital for 6 weeks now. This extended length of my stay is entirely due to the fact that my obesity precludes independent ambulation. I am not allowed to use my right leg/foot for anything, most especially for supporting my weight, or standing up for several more weeks. My left leg has always been weak, with some hip pain when strained, and is consequently unable to lift me to a standing position on it’s own. I really am kicking myself for allowing my weight to get this bad, but as previously stated, I’m committed to permanent change for the better, in order to live and be healthy going forward. I’m sticking to my strict diet, working with the physical therapist, and greatly looking forward 🤞🏻 to the day when I have enough independence to leave the hospital. Peace ✌🏻 Love ❤️ to all; more updates upcoming!
As I enter the beginning of the fifth week in the hospital following my traumatic ankle injury, I’m gaining strength and staying positive while facing some disappointing setbacks on the personal, but not medical front.
My surgeon came in a week ago last Friday (Dec 7) and like a five year old on Christmas 🎄 morning opening a present 🎁, he tore open my temporary splint which was made of plaster, cotton batting, and stretchy bandage material. This left a giant mess and an overflowing wastebasket which the nurses complained about. He removed the stitches and fitted me for a removable aluminum splint that allows air to my leg (and the incision to breath) that I can take off to have my leg washed and lotion applied to keep my feet from cracking and other possible skin complications.
In the TMI department, after three weeks and three days, and a few bleeding incidents, the nurse removed the Foley catheter (ouch) and I must now urinate into a picnic jug style container. This is obviously more work than doing nothing to empty my bladder, but it has been liberating and marks one the first milestones in my recovery.
I got a rather depressing call regarding my job search, which has been ongoing for over a year. What I’ve learned is that despite my broad based experience and 25+ years in the IT industry, including hardware, host administration, network design and administration, routing and wide area network management, business management and bookkeeping; there is often no room for me in jobs for which I possess the required qualifications. There seems to be a bit of “ageism” in the IT world, where firms and agencies opt for the younger applicants, who have less real world experience.
The last job interview I had went very well and they had me come back for a follow up interview to meet the head of the project, whom I hit it off with very well. The end result however, was that I was their second choice, with the caveat that “I was a bit too overqualified” for the position and duties. I had applied for the job thinking that it would be easy work for me, so I could focus my energies on getting healthy and maintaining my domicile which had been neglected for a number of years.
They did encourage me to apply for another job working on the same project, at a higher qualification level (Washington State – ITS5) which also carried a higher salary, and which had more responsibilities and would let me play with larger portions of the infrastructure, including managing and deploying their virtual network (cloud) resources. I did apply for the job, some seven or so weeks ago, and waited patiently for them to call me for an interview.
The kicker is that the agency called me yesterday, and asked for me to come in for an interview after their dithering and delays; and said they needed to get someone onboard as soon in the new year as possible. I could feel my heart and determination sink when I told them I was in the hospital, and would not be out in time for the interview which must be in-person due to the technical skills test. It was really a soul crushing blow to my already suffering psyche to know that I would have to “pass” on this opportunity. ☹️
(Edit:) On a brighter note, my loving sister Jody stopped by on Friday and Saturday, braving the unpredictable Snoqualmie Pass on a drive from Spokane, which was nice as we haven’t had much time together in recent years since she lives 350+ miles away. It was great to catchup, and we have promised to support each other on our self-improvement goals and stay in better touch. I suppose that means less whisky 🥃 for me, but “c’est la vie.” 🤤
Being in the hospital with only a six year old iPad (ver 2, Retina display) and a four year old iPhone 6 📱 has been a challenge of sorts. The first trouble came when the nurse in CCU accidentally knocked my iPhone off the table consequently smashed the display into a spider-web of shards. It’s still functional, but hard to read in the lower right corner, and harder to click accurately on anything small in that area.
The hospital wifi is reliable, although limited to a 1mb/sec download speed per device, which makes streaming problematic, especially from my home Plex server, which I rely upon, along with Netflix and Hulu to entertain me, rather than watching the spotty and maladjusted TV 📺 with all the commercials that I gave up 18 years ago when I “cut the cord” of cable TV. Additionally, I need to disconnect and use my iPhone hotspot if I want to connect to my home network, because the firewall doesn’t allow the outgoing Teamviewer connections.
My iPad has been acting up, and I have not been able to update to the latest available release for the nearly deprecated hardware for several months, and it has been getting slower and less reliable. I decided to wipe it clean, and restore from backup which sounded like a great idea💡in my head, but proved problematic to perform under these conditions. After clearing the content and settings, I was able to update the iOS version, clear it again, and started to restore the backup from iCloud. I used my iPhone hotspot for increased speed, and managed to get it working again in a reasonable amount of time.
However, I was unprepared for how long it would take to download all the apps again, and part way through this process, received a notice that I had burned through 90% of my monthly data plan only four days into the new billing cycle. I quickly disconnected from the hotspot, and reconnected to the hospital wifi and proceeded to watch as it downloaded the apps at a glacial pace. It is still downloading apps as I write this blog post 48+ hours after successfully restoring from backup. On the bright side, I was able to get the Outlook(TM) mail client to work again, and I’ve had none of the OS slowdowns, lock-ups, or random resets I had grown accustomed to.
As I stated in my previous posts, the nutritional support here is excellent. I’ve kept to a strict dietary regimen, including keeping calories at ~1500/day, and shooting for a goal of <30g/carbs per meal (Brielle’s, ahem, suggestion,) which is less than half the restriction of 75g/carbs per meal that the doctors have me under. As a result, according to the scale built into the hospital bed, I’ve lost of total of 42 pounds from when I was brought in, although some of that is surely water weight, but welcome progress nonetheless. The biggest thing I can do to help my recovery is shed pounds as quickly as possible, while maintaining enough strength to get better. I spend much of my free time exercising with the rubber TheraBand the physical therapist equipped me with, in an attempt to strengthen my arms 💪🏻 , leg and back muscles in order to better facilitate lifting myself, and eventually being able to stand with only my left (weaker) leg.
My apologies for making this update so long, but I do feel an obligation to keep everyone updated since I received such a positive response to my original post, full of support and well wishes from friends, old and new alike. I’ll end it here, be thankful I didn’t include much in the TMI department. I’ll make another update when I’m able. Thanks again to my friends for support, Brielle for taking care of the minions and the home front, and the tireless work of the legion of doctors, nurses, nurse assistants, and support staff here at Providence St. Peter’s Hospital. 🏥