It has been a long time since I have been inspired to blog.
My hospital stay with pneumonia last week was a catalyst for me jumping back on the wagon here. Actually, it was my prescription drug-addicted roommate that put me over the edge.
It was bad enough that I struggled to breathe with a viral cement in my chest and my out of control asthma, horrible that I was on (and still am) 8 different medications that prevent me from sleeping. But I was forced to endure three straight days of her moaning and screaming for her next round of meds. It was something out of a bad dream, to be completely cliche.
With every Shirley McClaine/Terms of Endearment rant she went on, I felt the box of hell that I was trapped in enclosing around me in the little corner of Good Shepard hospital room 342, bed one. At one very low point, I was was in fact begging the nurses myself to not skip her dose and wake her up because when she would waken, she would already be withdrawing and I could not handle one minute more of the mania.
She was actually in there for a week already before I got there, with a torn rotator cuff. She fell and her daughter found her. I don’t know why she fell. She has a cane propped up near her bed. I don’t know what it’s for. She pees in a bed chair an arms length away from my head. Behind the curtain, of course. In my mind, I secretly discouraged her from drinking any liquids so I didn’t have to lie there and listen to her spray in a plastic container next to my head. Just to let you know, she hadn’t had a bowel movement in a week. She told everyone this. I was actually quite relieved about that. And let’s call her Vexx. I will save you the Google: Vexx means Goddess of Pain.
When they initially wheeled me into the room on my gurney, Vexx looked at me and said, “What kinda shit is this? They told me my new roommate was gunna be a guy.”
Vexx sadly also suffers from internal lupus, fibromyalgia and side effects of diabetes. Although, one of the many annoyed and perplexed doctors who rotated in and out of our room insisted that she was borderline diabetes and does not need to be on a special diet. And then she would cry. Because I think she wanted as many ailments as possible that might qualify her for an extra narco or V.
It is no wonder she is on a lot of medication. It is NOT her fault that she has a drug addiction. She is in pain and she needs relief and sadly, the body develops an intolerance, therefore the need for an bigger dosage. I think pain pill addiction is the saddest because it comes out of a place where you are in physical pain and you need help managing it. He children probably do not understand this. They just see that their mother has gone away and probably have stopped wondering if she is ever going to come back.
In some of her more severe withdrawal moments, I could see her sitting up and rocking, hugging herself and screaming, throwing Kleenex boxes and lotion bottles and she would cry that she hates this stupid fucking hospital because gets more meds at home. She should be home…she should be home…she should be home…she locks her pills in her bedroom so her kids can’t get them.
One of the many annoyed and perplexed doctors who rotated in and out of our room verified that she was born in 1959 and I had to pump up my oxygen when I overheard that.
Surely Vexx was in her late 60’s. I pegged her for almost 70. I thought it strange that she rambled about her 14 year old daughter and that she should be at home helping her with her homework. I knew that something was off: I thought national Enquirer, old ladies having babies, images of elderly women breastfeeding infants swirled in my mind. She is NOT ONLY 10 years older than I am. But alas, Vexx very much the definition of rode hard and hung up wet.
He kids did not want to visit her. In a rant, she told me that they miss their old mom…they don’t like to see her like this…do ya think?
On my medication, my heart rate stays at a constant 108 to 135. But when she would pass out after a dose, she would drift off and I would see my monitor bump down every once in awhile to 103,102,101…ahhh…sweet relief.
I didn’t have any visitors until I broke down on the second day and called Mike crying to pop in and see me. I was losing my edge with her, unable to endure much more of her unsolicited conversations through the curtain. The nurses gave me headphones so I could plug into my remote control and watch 12 uninterrupted sleepless hours of a House marathon on USA network. I am sure the headset cost me about $100 but worth every penny. They are still in my purse in case I have to go back.
But let’s discuss the visitors of Vex…
The first night I was there, her husband came in, an Ethan Frome, a sad insurance salesman who is apparently about to get downsized, as I hear from one of Vexx’s many erratic cell phone calls. He is a little man, beaten down and there isn’t enough Wild Turkey in the world to help him forget that that this woman is going to eventually come back home. She cried and she whined and said to him, “Why didn’t you call me back, I have been calling and calling you (and believe me, she did) and he said to her, “There is something wrong with my phone, it keeps on going dead” and Ethan Frome and I both knew that it’s dead because he can’t bare to turn the god damn thing back on.
Vexx tries to throw the curtain open for the tenth time to show me the mickey mouse boxers that he brought her from his underwear drawer. And she has been showing them to me all day. She repeats herself a lot. I start to clutch my keegel when I hear her stretch and moan in pain for the curtain. She would pull it back and then I have to look at her sagging tits hanging out the sides of her hospital gown, shaking sad Ethan Frome’s ridiculous Disney boxers that you know he got for Christmas 5 years ago. She yells at him for bringing her some of his old t shirts for her to wear: he “fucked up” because they have “baloney pits.”
all I could do at that point is sit back and wait for the nurse to come in and check my vitals so I can signal her to pull the curtain shut again. I could fffffeeeelllll him trying to leave. I can hear him saying, “Ok, well..” half a dozen times, he cannot take one more minute with her. I think about what it was like when they met and fell in love? She was the outgoing one. Did he court her? Were they affectionate? How long did it take in their marriage before he became shrunken by her constant badgering, nagging, complaining, whining, crying, never ending beat down. Or did she become that way because he never paid any attention to her? Wasn’t interested in hearing the sound of her voice? If I have to hear the sound of her voice one more time, I think that I might stab her with a fork and then we will see how much medication she will need.
Frome leaves and Vexx howls. I buzz my nurse for an Ambian. It’s going to be a long night.
But now here I am back home. I am tired now, really feckin weak and still trying to recover. I get really short of breath and need to lie down after every little mundane task. It’s all very Camille. But I am not cleansed of this experience quite yet. I still have yet to talk about the mother of Vexx and the gas bill visit.
The world seems to me a lot darker after the time change.