Monday, January 29, 2007

Dan's Excellent Hospital Adventure

Dan got booted from the hospital last night - not too soon, considering the free side-show they call "roommates" in the hospital. ICU was great, but once you're in a regular room, it is like White Trash Meets Ghetto. Dan called it "free entertainment."

He was wheeled into the room at 6am Saturday morning - to find Fleck and Patty. Seems Fleck had given himself a bit of alcohol poisoning and Patty had rode in the ambulance with him. They'd spent 2 days in Emergency while he "got it outta his system" but then there was "trouble with the oxygen" in his blood so he had to stay. Patty made herself at home - climbing into the bed and snoring like a freight train, while Fleck, still attached to his tubes, IVs, and monitors, walked up and down the hallway yelling for "Nora" and "stepping out" for a smoke. They used the phone constantly (when she was awake) and discussed everything from money, drugs, "ak-ahol," "the damn kids," and how they were going to get back to Palmdale once Fleck was kicked loose. Patty also ordered food - thinking this was room service. The hospital provided a taxi voucher - probably to get rid of them.

Then there was John. He was in for his diabetes. He had family problems and we heard ALL about them during the plethora of phone calls to the mother of his daughter, ANNdrea, who had apparently made a terrorist threat at school and was suspended pending an expulsion hearing. Once daddy went into the hospital, it seems young ANNdrea needed funds to she emptied John's pockets, took his cell phone, and her whereabouts were unknown. John's older boys sauntered in for a visit and we were treated to details about their many shenanigans, including getting kicked out of school (but making up credits), losing jobs, "staying" at friends' houses that were loaded with dope and drug paraphenalia, and the best way for one of the boys' mama get disability.

During the height of what, at times, sounded like a rap concert, the nurse's assistant came in to drill Dan loudly and tenaciously about his potty habits. "IS THIS ALL YOU'VE PEED today? Since MY SHIFT? WHAT ABOUT A BM? YOU HAVE ONE OF THOSE YET?"

Turns out HER name was Nora, the one Fleck kept looking for during the early part of the day. I asked Nora if Dan could take a shower - if for my sake only since he was getting kind of ripe - all that testosterone and adrenaline. "OH NO, he can't shower... it'll shock him." (?? I didn't ask.)

Seems you can't shut the room door at night - "the nurse will want to keep an eye on you," which is funny since we can count using half a hand just how many times a nurse actually showed herself (or HIMself - "Michael" is another story) once Dan was booted from ICU.

So - all night long phones ring, hospital staff converses - loudly - and floors get mopped, waxed, buffed, and spit-shined. Need blood? Come and get it RIGHT when the patient finally drops off to sleep. Need to check on Potty Progress? Don't do it during the day when he is AWAKE. Jar him awake at night to demand details about the urinal levels. The answers will be more coherent then - especially if the patient has been given a sleeping pill in order to actually SLEEP during the cacophony that is called "night" at the hospital.

He was released with what looks like a thesis of post-instructions, plus a half page of prescriptions, each with varying sizes, instructions, and times for ingestion. The nice little pharmacist at Target took pity on me when I showed up at 10 minutes to 6 last night to fill them. She also got me a pill-splitter and a blood pressure cuff.

The boys are enjoying the blood pressure cuff very much. Well, Dustin is - he and I register as "Dead" on the machine while Danny's comes up higher than Dan's - something that is perplexing him to no end. He checks it every hour, certain a fate similar to his father's awaits him next Tuesday.

I've only tried to kill Dan twice. The first time I won't tell you about, but the most recent occasion concerns his plethora of pills - one of which is supposed to be a HALF pill twice a day and I gave him a whole pill this morning. He told me the "pretty colors" and other hallucinations were quite interesting.

So now - Dan is home, resting upstairs - right next to the phone, which is ringing about every 12.5 minutes. (It's always for him.)

I am letting him answer the phone - weaning him gently off the hospital routine is the kindest way, isn't it?