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(Just these last four or five days I have been bailing the house, searching for sump pumps, falling down a lot (no, really) and getting scary notes from SSI and SNAP and Ronald Reagan's ghost and other horrifying things, so I think I might have posted a non-edited version of this Chapter 17. If so, oh, god, I'm trying!! Recall: I sleep with earplugs, and have slept through jackhammering, thunder and lightning storms, the cat knocking over my entire bedside table, and small children shrieking in horror because a Martian craft has come to kidnap them BUT if K so much as grunts, or moves and the bed makes an "urk" noise, I am up and running. So.... I get kind tired, and kinda sloppy. This is why editors were invented, anyway! Grrr.)

                                    OR: "The Payoff! For You Guys! OK, Me, too"

When K and I got to Home (Hospital Physical Therapy Unit, let's call it just "Home". So much easier) we were greeted. Were were smiled at, kind, gentle smiles. We were ushered into a huge room that had enough space for a volleyball court. As I said previously, they didn't need to be told K was a 3 person lift; they looked and they did. He was gingerly lifted and tucked into the bed (and I think some EMT's were there, too, so if you were, I give you big "mmmmmmmmmwah!"

The room was bright, and had call buttons that the nurses responded to, and the PT's took him in to began that PT one hour (ONE HOUR) after Kimit had arrived. This unit had something called a “slider”: it was a long, tough piece of plastic with a round slide slotted in that ran the length of the plastic (I mean, really tough) from one side to the other. They attach one end of the slide to the wheelchair, rolled the patient (gently) onto his side, slip the slide under the patient's butt,  returned the patient to his back, sitting up, and then they carefully slid him down the slider and plonk: into the wheelchair. (K made noise, sure, but not the screaming, shrieking, howling noises of pain he'd made on the “step-down” unit.)

They then trucked the boy to the evaluation room. They didn't let me come along, as they weren't sure yet that I wasn't the type to answer questions aimed at her husband , or frail myself, or just a coocoo nut job.

They decided that I was not nuts, or frail, or husband-question-answerer-wife, you get the idea. They needed to see, without the wife, how and where he was mentally and physically.

Oddly, one nurse told me, on pinkie-swears that I'd never use her name, I was the least annoying spouse they'd had in quite some time.

They were going to get to know the girl from “The Exorcist” real soon.

When K came back to his room, after the eval, his PT's told me he'd been put through his paces, and he was a large specimen, but they were confident that they could help him as his face was not drooping. He'd had a bilateral stroke, of course, but for some reason the facial muscles had not (chas v'chalilah) been affected which gave them hope.

Unfortunately, K began to make much  louder, painful sounding noises, and used his left hand in a circular motion in the region of his lower abdomen. I called the nurse, she came, and said he was probably having stomach muscle pains from the evaluation, and it would pass very soon.

I VERY reluctantly left the hospital that night, worrying about this circular motion, and the noises getting louder. I was back at Home the next morning at 7 a.m.

And K had gone from loud, painful noises to :”MOTHERFUCKERS, HELP ME, I AM IN AGONY, IT HURTS, GOD YOU SHITHEADS HELP ME GOD FUCKING DAMMIT!!” and did not stop.
I went to his side and tried to get him to tell me what was hurting him, but all he could muster was that weird left-handed circular motion over his lower abdomen.

I called the nurse again. She told me again that the pain was probably from the eval the previous day, and then said, “Oh, look, here they are now to take him to PT. It's just muscle pain, Mrs. Muston, and we can only let it heal”, and off they scooted with K for his second round of PT.

Another hour later, he was back. Moaning even more loudly. The PT folks pulled me aside and told me that they didn't think it was muscular.

Blink. Blink blink. One more blink, and I hknew what Kimit had a urinary tract infection. He'd been catheterized for 9 days now, and  that is NOT good. The circular motion he'd been making was over his bladder area, and I should have known the day before.

Not to mention the  nurses.

I went out to the nursing station, and asked for his doctor to be paged. His nurse asked why.

Why? Did she not hear the “MOTHERFUCKERS GET ME SOMETHING FOR THE PAIN I CAN'T STAND IT, SOMEONE HELP ME, GODDAM SHITFUCK, HELP ME, FUCK, IT HURTS!” and he did not stop.

So they paged the doc. And turned away from me.

I decided (oh, I forgot to say, I WAS FURIOUS AND CRYING)  to go to a hospital phone (the ones on the walls) and have this doctor paged.

The operator told me that there was no doctor by that name working at that hospital.

Didja ever want to reach through a telephone and pull the other guy slowly, and painfully through the cables, to your end?  it? Yep, me too.

But none of that was helpful. I was weeping; one of the PT people K was with just then saw me and tried to ask me what was going on but I ran out the double doors to the Unit to do WHAT I do not know, and, chas v'chalilah, there was his doctor. He immediately grabbed me and asked what in the world was happenning?

I told him. It was that old stand-by of sounding like a 3 year old telling a joke, but this was with crying and chest  heaving, and air-sucking thing I was doing, but he obviously spoke 3-year old, and agreed with me that K's intense pain was probably a UTI. So, he turned me around, back to the nursing station and asked for Kimit's chart. The nurse told him his chart wasn't at the desk, so he whipped out his prescription pad, and wrote an order for IV antibiotics, and gave it to the nurse.

She put it down. And began to talk to another nurse.

The doc looked at me, and then (there's that tesseracting deal again) he was around the station and in that nurses' face. He said, “You will go to the pharmacy RIGHT NOW and get that prescription filled  and the bag connected to his IV in LESS THAN TEN MINUTES because I will call the pharmacy and THEY WIL have the bag ready to go, and if I ever, EVER, hear that any one of you treated a spouse this way, or ignored a patients symptoms, I will make sure you are fired and never work in Indiana again. AM I CLEAR??”  

Vamanooso went the nurse, with the script. I asked the doc if he could also get K some Pyridium. Anyone who has had ever a UTI knows that that little red pill that makes you pee orange for a few days and is MANNA from heaven. Pyridium is known as a UTI analgesic; in other words, it makes that kind of  pain STOP.

Doc said, “There should be some around here, look in the drug box (explanation: there is one, locked “cassette”of drugs pertaining to each patient, and when that patient is released, there is always stuff left over, so the RN's [barring any opiates and other stuff-what-y'all-kin-get-hooked-on],) dump the leftovers (usually Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Milk of Magnesia [and what the hell IS a 'magnesia', and how do you milk it???)  into a communal  “Drug Box”.

The RN's, looking like an act from the Three Stooges, rushing and bumping and whamming  into each other, looking in their patient's drawers, and the Charge Nurse even opened the 'needs a prescription' key-locked box, where they keep the Big Gun Drugs, like Fentanyl, Demerol, Vicodin, etc.

Alas...

...no pyridium was on this unit. Not one teeny litle red pill. Doc whipped out his prescription pad again, and wrote, well,  you know what he wrote.

He gave this script to another nurse; and I saw something I have never seen before.

The doc gave the nurse the script, and she said, “Oh, he's not my patient.”

This, boys and girls, was the utterly, seriously, egregiously WRONG thing to say to this doctor. He became Shrek. But ugly. And very very angry. He even scared me.

The nurse, brain trust that she was, saw the writing on the script and snatched it out of his hand, and ran out the back way to the secret elevator that take you sideways to the pharmacy.

She was back before the IV antibiotics nurse. She gave him the little red pill, which  usually takes about 2 hours to work.

Doc made sure Kimit had the “piggyback” of antibiotics (this is a smaller bag that is plugged into the larger IV bag) was hung, and then he told them to give Kimit  the pyridium twice daily until the pain go bye-bye.

He also hugged me. He told me he wouldn't be around this hospital for too much longer, two months, but if there was ANYTHING Kimit or I had to have (he really said that! Me, too! And boy, did I need that connection later) I only need but ask. And, he said with a very sly grin, if I got shit like that from any nurse again? He gave me his private pager number. AND his home phone. (Both of which I lost, but that's in another chapter. Remember: I AM AN IDIOT.)

I had to have this break, this pause in the insanity. So he sat me down in the lobby and we talked for about 45 minutes. Just stuff. He also reminded me of his promise to help, not only Kimit, but me. Then he looked me right in the eye and said, “This is going to change your life, you do know that?” Well, no, that part hadn't muscled it's way past the terror and surrealism yet. He hugged me again, said "Call me for anything" and he was gone.

I went back to K's room and sat by his left side, and we did NOT do the crossword puzzle because he was still in “Scream as Many Profanities As Possible” mode. I turned on the TV. And now...

.. THE PAYOFF: For you guys.

A woman dressed in extremely high fashion Mufti came in, if you can call a tailored suit, a head full of so much peroxide she could have dipped her head into one of those lakes polluted with non-indiginous fish that were pushing out the indiginous wildlife and killed them, and bling you could see from the Dark Side of the Moon. Alas, her face looked like someone had merely pulled all the extra skin from the front and stapled it to the back of her skull.

And when she smiled: whooo daddy. That plastic surgeon needed more lessons.

While Kimit was screaming and in pain and all I wanted to do was gather up all of that hurt and set it on fire, in came... this woman. She reached her hand across Kimit's curse-laden body and said “Hi, I'm Carol Ann Marie Judith Whatever, and I am the unit director here.”

She was one of those two-fingered wiggly hand shakers, but I wiggled anyway. "Hi."

And then she said this:

“Your husband is scaring the family members of other patients, and he really needs to tone it down with the potty mouth, yuh huh?” And she smiled.

That smile. That's what sent me plummeting over the edge into the abyss of "I'm going to kill you so if yer a God fearin' type..."

This is how the rest of that sentence went: I leaped over Kimit's bed, grabbed the nearest empty IV pole and slammed it into her heartless chest. She stumbled backward, and I used the pole to shove her out the door. And then I fell upon her and rearranged her face (wasn't hard; her parts were numbered.) And I kicked her. Yeah, I kicked her and said “My husband  is SCREAMING for pain relief, and this is your big priority? Swearing? You ignorant piece of shit!” and I slammed the door.

Now, the truth (hand to Goddess): I didn't ever touch her, but it turns out I didn't need to.  I did leap over the bed, a flying bag of red-hot fury. I did get in her face screaming, “My husband is in such pain that Old Age pensioners in Abergavenny can hear him, and his swearing is your big priority here? Fuck off, you ugly bitch,and don't EVER let me see you again.” The door didn't slam because is was pneumatic. (Dammit.) But, since this happened in front of nearly her entire staff, she straightened her coat and skirt, patted her shellacked hair, and tried to regain her... um... authority? She said, "You know, both of you are not behaving like good Christians."

Ah. "Pronoun trouble." I took one step towards her. She took two shaky steps back. I said, "There's a fantastically good reason for that, even if we were Christians. Kimit is an atheist and I am A JEW." She arched an eyebrow, and in two paces I was in her face and growled, "And if you ever, EVER, bother us with bullshit like a stroke patient swearing or his wife telling you that if you EVER so much as see me, I will have a platoon of trained gerbils who will eat you from the feet up. Yuh huh!" I marched back into Kimit's room, and said, finally, "You could also have closed the door, you Delta Epsilon."

The very best part of our little show was, whenever this... creature saw me, in the halls, or at the desk or in the cafeteria, she hoiked up her little rayon skirt and skedaddled far, far away from me.

See, if I had the chance, someone was going to be scarred for life, or possibly killed. For life.

And it wasn't going to be me.

Chapter 17        
                                    (The Payoff! For, you know, you guys)

When K and I got to Home (Hospital Physical Therapy Unit, let's call it just "Home". So much easier) we were greeted. Were were smiled at, kind, gentle smiles. We were ushered into a huge room that had enough space for a volleyball court. As I said previously, they didn't need to be told K was a 3 person lift; they looked and they did. He was gingerly lifted and tucked into the bed (and I think some EMT's were there, too, so if you were, I give you big "mmmmmmmmmwah!"

The room was bright, and had call buttons that the nurses responded to, and the PT's took him in to began that PT one hour (ONE HOUR) after Kimit had arrived. This unit had something called a “slider”: it was a long, tough piece of plastic with a round slide slotted in that ran the length of the plastic (I mean, really tough) from one side to the other. They attach one end of the slide to the wheelchair, rolled the patient (gently) onto his side, slip the slide under the patient's butt,  returned the patient to his back, sitting up, and then they carefully slid him down the slider and plonk: into the wheelchair. (K made noise, sure, but not the screaming, shrieking, howling noises of pain he'd made on the “step-down” unit.)

They then trucked the boy to the evaluation room. They didn't let me come along, as they weren't sure yet that I wasn't the type to answer questions aimed at her husband , or frail myself, or just a coocoo nut job.

They decided that I was not nuts, or frail, or husband-question-answerer-wife, you get the idea. They needed to see, without the wife, how and where he was mentally and physically.

Oddly, one nurse told me, on pinkie-swears that I'd never use her name, I was the least annoying spouse they'd had in quite some time.

They were going to get to know the girl from “The Exorcist” real soon.

When K came back to his room, after the eval, his PT's told me he'd been put through his paces, and he was a large specimen, but they were confident that they could help him as his face was not drooping. He'd had a bilateral stroke, of course, but for some reason the facial muscles had not (chas v'chalilah) been affected which gave them hope.

Unfortunately, K began to make much  louder, painful sounding noises, and used his left hand in a circular motion in the region of his lower abdomen. I called the nurse, she came, and said he was probably having stomach muscle pains from the evaluation, and it would pass very soon.

I VERY reluctantly left the hospital that night, worrying about this circular motion, and the noises getting louder. I was back at Home the next morning at 7 a.m.

And K had gone from loud, painful noises to :”MOTHERFUCKERS, HELP ME, I AM IN AGONY, IT HURTS, GOD YOU SHITHEADS HELP ME GOD FUCKING DAMMIT!!” and did not stop.
I went to his side and tried to get him to tell me what was hurting him, but all he could muster was that weird left-handed circular motion over his lower abdomen.

I called the nurse again. She told me again that the pain was probably from the eval the previous day, and then said, “Oh, look, here they are now to take him to PT. It's just muscle pain, Mrs. Muston, and we can only let it heal”, and off they scooted with K for his second round of PT.

Another hour later, he was back. Moaning even more loudly. The PT folks pulled me aside and told me that they didn't think it was muscular.

Blink. Blink blink. One more blink, and I hknew what Kimit had a urinary tract infection. He'd been catheterized for 9 days now, and  that is NOT good. The circular motion he'd been making was over his bladder area, and I should have known the day before.

Not to mention the  nurses.

I went out to the nursing station, and asked for his doctor to be paged. His nurse asked why.

Why? Did she not hear the “MOTHERFUCKERS GET ME SOMETHING FOR THE PAIN I CAN'T STAND IT, SOMEONE HELP ME, GODDAM SHITFUCK, HELP ME, FUCK, IT HURTS!” and he did not stop.

So they paged the doc. And turned away from me.

I decided (oh, I forgot to say, I WAS FURIOUS AND CRYING)  to go to a hospital phone (the ones on the walls) and have this doctor paged.

The operator told me that there was no doctor by that name working at that hospital.

Didja ever want to reach through a telephone and pull the other guy slowly, and painfully through the cables, to your end?  it? Yep, me too.

But none of that was helpful. I was weeping; one of the PT people K was with just then saw me and tried to ask me what was going on but I ran out the double doors to the Unit to do WHAT I do not know, and, chas v'chalilah, there was his doctor. He immediately grabbed me and asked what in the world was happenning?

I told him. It was that old stand-by of sounding like a 3 year old telling a joke, but this was with crying and chest  heaving, and air-sucking thing I was doing, but he obviously spoke 3-year old, and agreed with me that K's intense pain was probably a UTI. So, he turned me around, back to the nursing station and asked for Kimit's chart. The nurse told him his chart wasn't at the desk, so he whipped out his prescription pad, and wrote an order for IV antibiotics, and gave it to the nurse.

She put it down. And began to talk to another nurse.

The doc looked at me, and then (there's that tesseracting deal again) he was around the station and in that nurses' face. He said, “You will go to the pharmacy RIGHT NOW and get that prescription filled  and the bag connected to his IV in LESS THAN TEN MINUTES because I will call the pharmacy and THEY WIL have the bag ready to go, and if I ever, EVER, hear that any one of you treated a spouse this way, or ignored a patients symptoms, I will make sure you are fired and never work in Indiana again. AM I CLEAR??”  

Vamanooso went the nurse, with the script. I asked the doc if he could also get K some Pyridium. Anyone who has had ever a UTI knows that that little red pill that makes you pee orange for a few days and is MANNA from heaven. Pyridium is known as a UTI analgesic; in other words, it makes that kind of  pain STOP.

Doc said, “There should be some around here, look in the drug box (explanation: there is one, locked “cassette”of drugs pertaining to each patient, and when that patient is released, there is always stuff left over, so the RN's [barring any opiates and other stuff-what-y'all-kin-get-hooked-on],) dump the leftovers (usually Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Milk of Magnesia [and what the hell IS a 'magnesia', and how do you milk it???)  into a communal  “Drug Box”.

The RN's, looking like an act from the Three Stooges, rushing and bumping and whamming  into each other, looking in their patient's drawers, and the Charge Nurse even opened the 'needs a prescription' key-locked box, where they keep the Big Gun Drugs, like Fentanyl, Demerol, Vicodin, etc.

Alas...

...no pyridium was on this unit. Not one teeny litle red pill. Doc whipped out his prescription pad again, and wrote, well,  you know what he wrote.

He gave this script to another nurse; and I saw something I have never seen before.

The doc gave the nurse the script, and she said, “Oh, he's not my patient.”

This, boys and girls, was the utterly, seriously, egregiously WRONG thing to say to this doctor. He became Shrek. But ugly. And very very angry. He even scared me.

The nurse, brain trust that she was, saw the writing on the script and snatched it out of his hand, and ran out the back way to the secret elevator that take you sideways to the pharmacy.

She was back before the IV antibiotics nurse. She gave him the little red pill, which  usually takes about 2 hours to work.

Doc made sure Kimit had the “piggyback” of antibiotics (this is a smaller bag that is plugged into the larger IV bag) was hung, and then he told them to give Kimit  the pyridium twice daily until the pain go bye-bye.

He also hugged me. He told me he wouldn't be around this hospital for too much longer, two months, but if there was ANYTHING Kimit or I had to have (he really said that! Me, too! And boy, did I need that connection later) I only need but ask. And, he said with a very sly grin, if I got shit like that from any nurse again? He gave me his private pager number. AND his home phone. (Both of which I lost, but that's in another chapter. Remember: I AM AN IDIOT.)

I had to have this break, this pause in the insanity. So he sat me down in the lobby and we talked for about 45 minutes. Just stuff. He also reminded me of his promise to help, not only Kimit, but me. Then he looked me right in the eye and said, “This is going to change your life, you do know that?” Well, no, that part hadn't muscled it's way past the terror and surrealism yet. He hugged me again, said "Call me for anything" and he was gone.

I went back to K's room and sat by his left side, and we did NOT do the crossword puzzle because he was still in “Scream as Many Profanities As Possible” mode. I turned on the TV. And now...

.. THE PAYOFF: For you guys.

A woman dressed in extremely high fashion Mufti came in, if you can call a tailored suit, hair so full  peroxide she could have dipped her head into one of those lakes polluted with non-indigenous fish that were pushing out the indigenous wildlife and killed them, and bling you could see from the Dark Side of the Moon. Alas, her face looked like someone had merely pulled all the extra skin from the front and stapled it to the back of her skull.

And when she smiled: whooo daddy. That plastic surgeon needed more lessons.

While Kimit was screaming and in pain and all I wanted to do was gather up all of that hurt and set it on fire, in came... this woman. She reached her hand across Kimit's curse-laden body and said “Hi, I'm Carol Ann Marie Judith Whatever, and I am the unit director here.”

She was one of those two-fingered wiggly hand shakers, but I wiggled anyway. "Hi."

And then she said this:

“Your husband is scaring the family members of other patients, and he really needs to tone it down with the potty mouth, yuh huh?” And she smiled.

That smile. That's what sent me plummeting over the edge into the abyss of "I'm going to kill you so if yer a God fearin' type..."

This is how the rest of that sentence went: I leaped over Kimit's bed, grabbed the nearest empty IV pole and slammed it into her heartless chest. She stumbled backward, and I used the pole to shove her out the door. And then I fell upon her and rearranged her face (wasn't hard; her parts were numbered.) And I kicked her. Yeah, I kicked her and said “My husband  is SCREAMING for pain relief, and this is your big priority? Swearing? You ignorant piece of shit!” and I slammed the door.

Now, the truth (hand to Goddess): I didn't ever touch her, but it turns out I didn't need to.  I did leap over the bed, a flying bag of red-hot fury. I did get in her face screaming, “My husband is in such pain that Old Age pensioners in Abergavenny can hear him, and his swearing is your big priority here? Fuck off, you ugly bitch,and don't EVER let me see you again.” The door didn't slam because is was pneumatic. (Dammit, but it worked out: Since this all happened in front of nearly her entire staff, she straightened her coat and skirt, patted her shellacked hair, and tried to regain her... um... authority? She said, "You know, both of you are not behaving like good Christians."

Ah. "Pronoun trouble." I took one step towards her. She took two shaky steps back. I said, "There's a fantastically good reason for that, you grizzled crone. Kimit is an atheist and I am A JEW." All she could do with this information was arch an eyebrow, looking so fucking bitchy my muscles reacted on their own, and in less time it takes for a hummingbird to flap it's wings just once, I was in her face. And I actually growled, "If you ever, EVER, bother us with bullshit like this again? I will end you." (I wanted to throw in "I will find a trained pack of gerbils who will eat you from the feet up, but it was too wordy. Yeah, me! "Too wordy"! I marched back into Kimit's room, and said, finally, "You could also have closed the door, you Delta Epsilon."

The very best part of our little show was, whenever this... creature saw me, in the halls, or at the desk or in the cafeteria, she hoiked up her little rayon skirt and skedaddled far, far away from me.

See, if I had the chance, someone was going to be scarred for life, or possibly killed. For life.

And it wasn't going to be me.

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