“YOU PICKED ORANGE” Chapter 14
or: “Get Ready for the Third Circle of Hell!!”
Day four. Or ninety two, whatever. I came into the ICU on Friday, when K had been in the “Desperation Ward” for … Monday.... right five days. Since Monday, April 17, 2006.
Guess what they were doing to him when I arrived at the cubicle? Nothing.... Because he wasn't there!!
After they picked me up off the floor from my first dead faint in all of my 46 years, a voice said in my ear, “Oh, dear, didn't they tell you yesterday that we were moving him upstairs, to the 'step-down' unit?”
NO. NO, THEY DIDN'T. Now ponder this: who do you think whispered that extremely welcome news in my ear, and yet managed to piss me off so royally I am stunned she stayed out of my reach so I could tear her a new orifice, preferably from the throat region? If you said "Idiot with a clipboard?" you get an extra Twinkie. If they made them anymore.
Anyway, the PTB's, with NO permission from me or Goddess or that guy who always wears too much Patchooli oil, decided K was stable enough to hoist him out of ICU and into what they call the “Step Down” unit. They call it that because we had no insurance. No, reallyl,
It should be called the “Horrifically Filthy, Understaffed, Uncompassionate, Unprofessional, Nasty Nasty Nasty Unit” but it probably didn't fit on the unit door.
The nurses at the station said not one word of welcome to me, not so much as an “Who are you looking for?” or “How can I help you?”
Nope. The nurses were all clustered around their station, glaring at me as if I was Mengele strolling through the twins department at Bergen Belson. I had no time for German maniacs, so I found him myself.
So I found him on my own, in this new place where the view of the rusty air conditioners on the building next door was just FABulous. The rest of the room could comfortably fit a marshmallow. And only if the marshmallow was on a strict water diet.
This room was a piece of shit. There was no nurse in there to monitor him, or get new vitals (as he had just been moved). I pressed the call button. No one answered. I pressed it again. Nope. Ten minutes went by, and Kimit was now moaning, and making vague, circular gestures around his lower abdomen. I went to the door and hollered, and I do mean pig-call hollerin', for someone, anyone, I'd even take Vlad Tepesch, to come and help him as he was in obvious pain.
No one came.
I realized that we were now trying to stay afloat in deep water. Deep, fast moving, pirrhana-filled, water: It meant the hospital had taken their first motion toward Warehousing my husband.
I got smacked in the face with this reality: the tough times we had in ICU? Feh. Those problems were about to be upped to the power of a whole huge bunch of a lot.
In other words, they didn't give a flying fart what happened to him.
Tragically for them, I did. (That part will come later, when I think I bit a doctor's ear off, but that might have been a deeply controlled fantasy, but I got what I wanted. For a very short time.)
I stayed with him all that day, watching him being put on a bedside pot, screaming in pain, and the nurse call him a “big baby”. I made notes.
I watched two nurses, rolling him around like a white chocolate bon-bon, to put on clean sheets five hours after I requested it. I made notes.
I watched a nurse lift his bad, right leg up and tell him to "Hold it up, Mr. Muston" and she let go and his leg plopped back onto the bed like a tree being felled. They called it "therapy". I made notes.
After this “therapy”, he puked for half an hour. They bitched about it, and I, Captain Braveheart here, fled the room. I just couldn't watch anymore. I know that makes me ... something bad, but because I fled, I overheard something which was a good thing. A Martha Stewart VERY good thing.
While I was out of the room, I listened to the bitches at the station (I'm a born writer, and rarely miss a fact that I do not put to our good use later, and this was a DOOZY of a listen): the majority of the unit's nurses, flocked around like chatty bovines, were all talking about Kimit. They bitched and whined because “he's so big, why'd he come to our unit?” We don't have the manpower to move him and bathe him! Waaah! We're understaffed, we can't handle someone his size” aaaaaaaaaaaand here comes the information they blurted, like a golden egg from a goose, a piece of information that I didn't realize I needed THEN, but I sure as hell did later. This info was vital and my rat brain stored it in my little Stroke brain box, so that I could use it to our astonishing favor. (Later.) What was this fantastically perfect information that every single person in the management system was praying that I (and every other patient representative) never heard? Here:
While the nurses were bitching and moaning about K's weight and moaning about their being understaffed, THEY ALSO SAID HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN SENT TO HOME HOSPITAL WHERE THEY HAVE GREAT, FANTASTIC, INCREDIBLE PHYSICAL THERAPISTS.
So after three days in this 3rd circle of hell, in which the care was sloppy, incompetent, downright mean and nearly cost one nurse her arms because I was just about to rip them off and beat her to death with them (okay, here's the story: this nurse, even though she was told three times, twice by me, once by the actual nurse assigned to Kimit, tthat he was a "three person lift", tried to get Kimit into a wheel chair, BY HERSELF, so she could weigh him.
She dropped him. On the floor. Kimit (you're ahead of me now, aren't ya?) did not care for this, and let it be known in a voice that could have shattered the Hope Diamond. He screamed, he hollered, he was in abject misery.
That's when the nurse looked at me and said, “He sure does like to yell, doesn't he?” and smiled.
Yep. If that second and third nurse hadn't have come in, in response to Kimit's roaring agony, at that very moment, the first nurse would have been found in, at the very least, quite a few pieces.
I'd have thrown them out the window, to decorate those oh-so-cheery air condioners.