Saturday, October 2, 2010

Privacy Pad

I have been doing my “homework” assigned by my masseuse. The pain I’ve getting in my head and neck has reached the level of excruciating. The cause? The position of this goddamned laptop. Today, I have been following orders sitting in a real chair with the computer on the table. (With strategically placed pillows and lumbar support) Rachel (who is becoming one of the best massage therapists in New York) knows her shit. I’m not going to hope to eliminate my problem. (I haven’t been all over this like I have the back. The non-functioning back trumps all.) I was never a Lisa Loopner and Todd fan (sorry y’all) though I adored Mrs. Loopner. She always killed me with “Poor Mr. Loopner. He was born without a spine.” I often think about poor Mr. Loopner these days.

This is a big move. It gets my ass off the couch. Which Tamar (the best P.T. on the planet- of this I am entirely sure) has been telling me to do for weeks. A great Tamar aside: I just ate it up when Chip and I, after confirming I have a soft-tissue injury in my back (big move), conferred and said, “Yeah, we’ll give Tamar a call…” No last names, just Tamar. My orthopedist is stunned, “You know Tamar?” (C’mon, this is a big city. Tamar. In the orthopedics/P.T. world, it’s like saying Madonna’s doing my P.T. No last names necessary.) Even better, “You get Tamar to come to your house?” (This from the most laid back doctor I’ve ever met.) “Yeah, we do.”

My other piece of homework was to soak my feet and then have Chip give them a massage. Rachel said they’re tight as little stones and if we can get them loosened up, this will loosen up legs and finally my pissy back. This piece of homework is a good thing. I love the whole shebang and my blessed husband says he love massaging my feet. Go figure.

After my massage, I’m, supposed to try my daily walk in the afternoon as opposed to 1 to 2 A.M. as usual. I tried. It’s not only not better than the early morning stroll, it’s much, much worse. I take a drying medication late in the evening that clears me up for that pleasant stroll up and down the hall which always ends dramatically with my flinging myself in my wheelchair parked in the foyer for just that reason. I heave for the next few minutes until I can breathe again. And then we go and do the stroll twice more. Every day.

Now, isn’t it easier to see how frustrated I am that I’m not going to get much better than this. But I have to keep it up. Since life these past few days the glass is half full, what choice do I have? (If it were half empty, don’t even ask.)

I must have written about the entire Pittsburgh nightmare last December. The loveliest persons I met with, believe it or not, were surgeons. You remember that the whole fucking week I and the two other women with me on the Block, 50% 5 years, 10 or 14% or thereabouts 10 years (I can’t remember, damnit!) The head surgeon took both my hands in his and said what I already knew, but no one else dared touch with a ten-foot pole. He looked me straight in the eye and said softly to me, “Those aren’t your numbers.” What an angel! (Meaning I am very likely one of those transplant recipients who pull the numbers up. Strong, young, otherwise healthy…

While that its likely that would be so, I could also react badly to the new lung and have to go back on the vent for????? They had a young woman in the program who received her new lungs two years ago and hasn’t left the hospital. After my hell, I just can’t go there. Not again. “Franny, say bye-bye.” “Bye.”

My best friend there was a man I call Dr. Asshole, the most pleasantest asshole you’re bound to meet. Who said, “If we could squeeze another six months out of your lungs, you’d have five and a half years, isn’t that good?” (Great! Five and a half years and then I drop dead with god knows what complications during those fun, transplanted five and a half years.) And best of all, “In two years, (with his smarmy, cheeriness dripping from every pore of his body), your lungs will be two bags of pus and then no one would do a transplant on you.” How I kept my wits about me, I don’t know. I asked him, “Are you telling me I’m dying?” (He didn’t expect that. That’s not in the script. “Director! (whine) This patient is improvising! (panic) What do I do?”)

The uncooperative patient continues, “No one’s ever told me I’m dying. Are you?” I was livid, and I cried. A real good one, long overdue. Where’s this shit coming from? I ended up making him feel like he fucked up, because I ended up with a visit from the Grand Poobah of all Transplants with a non-apology apology. If nothing else, Dr. Asshole knew he had done something not quite right.

I apologize to you all. I may very well tell you this same tired story every week. I just don’t remember. Just like I can’t figure out long division. Just like I’m having serious trouble spelling correctly. Every time I make one of these discoveries, it hurts. Big time. I guess I was something once upon a time. Who knew? Not I. But maybe it was so. A little late on the uptake.

In the recovery room, after my double heart catheterization. Now there was a roomful of mensches! I loved those guys. We talked music the whole time. (I had to stay awake while the doctor wormed catheters through both veins and arteries through the heart and out. I frightened one of them when he asked me what bands Eric Clapton had been in. And I rattled them off. (That’s when I frightened him.) C,mon. dude, that’s an easy one. Next catherization challenge me. “Are you in the business?” No, I just listen to music. Silly guy. But actually very nice. The surgeon was a doll. I thanked him profusely. I don’t think that happens very often. I felt nothing. I believed he was in total control. He deserved it. And he seemed to really like the thank you.

Maybe these folk want to make you feel powerful and smart. Patients must behave better when they’ve proven themselves and can lie back, smile, and be cocky. Lying on your back covered by a “privacy pad.” I guess it must make everybody feel better. After lying on my bed stark naked at 85 pounds getting a szigmoid during rounds, a “privacy pad” does seem kind of silly. I guess it’s just the separation of church and state. I can’t imagine how dehumanizing crap I’d have to get through to feel dehumanized. Maybe some people are more sensitive about these things. Hell, is the team going to get horny seeing a tuft of hair? Will I? (Thank god for my Chip. At least there’s still someone who does. Kinahora.)

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