Saturday, January 17, 2009

Out of the Frying Pan...

into the fire?

Laura is doing really well. She had a bunch of visitors today and Simon got some good social time with my mom in the morning and friends who watched him this afternoon so I could go see her.

Somehow Laura ended up in the stroke unit and her room had 3 ladies, not one a day under 85, who had all had strokes. Two were very quiet. One, not so much.

The first night, a nurse tried to draw blood and Laura heard the lady slap the nurse across the face. Last night, she was up all night, calling out for different people.

This is a BIG problem. For those of you who knew Laura when she was in the hospital for her motorcycle accident, think Violet. For those of you who did not know Laura then, or who do not know the goes.

In 1996, Laura almost died in a motorcycle accident when she was cut off by a truck towing a small trailer. She was run over by the trailer and then a Kia Sephia stopped *on top* of her. In a moment rarely seen outside movies, nearby drivers got out of their cars and lifted the small SUV off of her. By that point, an ambulance was there, which was really, really important because her femoral artery was severed and the car was actually holding enough pressure that she didn't bleed out right there. She was rushed to SF General where a visiting surgeon from Amsterdam used an experimental technique he was perfecting that involved something like shooting foam into the vessel to temporarily stop the bleeding so it could be fixed. Yea! Femoral artery repaired. No bleeding out on 101!

But, um, she also had a crushed pelvis, torn aorta, punctured lung, multiple rib fractures, one broken clavicle and one dislocated one. No head injuries though, miraculously. (That came about 10 years later.)

They weren't even expecting her to leave the hospital for at least 6 weeks, but Tough-As-Nails-Fitch defied expectations (sense a theme in this bloodline?) and was only in the hospital for 3 weeks and rehab for 3 weeks. However, in those 3 weeks, she made a very special friend.


Violet was her totally demented roommate in the hospital. The first night, Laura's Dad, being the very chummy fellow that he is, introduced himself and his daughter, "Laura", explaining that they would be roommates. Violet didn't seem to hear him and everyone settled down.

Until that night.

The *only* name Violet could remember in her entire life now, was "Laura".

And Violet was thirsty.

VERY thirsty.

All night long this is is what my poor wife heard (think Southern drawl):

"Laaauuuuuurrrrrraaaa! Can I get a drink a' waaaaaauuutah?"
"Laaaaauuuuurrrrraaaa! I'm so very thirsty"
"Well, theeen can I get a swizzle stick, ?"

(Laura did a little research later, wondering what the hell a swizzle was and how it would help thirst. Evidently it's a rod of ice frozen like a stick and used to stir drinks).

After a few nights of this, Laura finally gets moved. She ends up in an empty semi-private room, and is so excited to finally be getting some sleep. Her curtain is drawn, she's just drifting off when they wheel in her roommate. She's nervous after her last experience, but the new person is quiet.

Then, just as she is falling asleep, she hears "Laaaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa".

Yup. Violet is her roommate. Again.

Which leads me to this evening. The charge nurse asks if Laura wants to move, with a subtle nod and grimace at our noisy neighbor. She gives us the option of checking out the new potential roommate. We're warned that she's on her phone a lot, but evidently sleeps at night. Laura goes to introduce herself and see if they can agree on a quiet night. Sounds like all systems are go. We schlep her stuff and get her settled in and starts.

The lady is completely off her rocker. She is cursing and muttering and saying "I never get a goddamn night to myself" and goes on like this for almost the entire next hour. She comes around the corner and starts ranting about how she can't get anything here, the food is terrible, etc, etc and is so completely off that when I start talking to Laura, obviously trying to tune her out, she just keeps going. She finally stops, goes back to her bed and Laura and I look at each other in horror. I just say one word to her.


I think it's gonna be a looooong night for my dear wife. You know it's bad when you get better sleep at home with a 9 month old baby.

p.s. We think she's getting to come home tomorrow!

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