From the Inside, Part II

Prior to the surgery, people would send me well wishes for a restful time in the hospital and a quick recovery. I often found myself chuckling at their statement, because for anyone who has spent even a minute in a hospital room, as a patient or visitor, you understand what I find so funny. Hollywood has done a great job of painting a hospital world where the patient is always “resting comfortably” without any problems. This is actually my 7th major surgery in 20 years so my family and I are well adjusted to the chaos and unrest found during the hospital stay. This trip was no different and that first night in the TCU was quite the experience.

As mentioned in Part I, no one was allowed to stay overnight with me while I was in TCU. My mom was devastated as she has been by my side through each hospital stay in the past, coining it “tradition.” The reality is, unless you have someone in your corner willing to be your advocate, often times, quiet patients aren’t always as well cared for as those with well oiled lungs. It’s not a dig on medical staff, because the care I received was excellent, it’s just how life works…you know, the squeaky wheel and all? Anyhow, knowing I wouldn’t be able to speak for myself brought my family some unease, but Kaiser had little sympathy for our unspoken family tradition and at 8:00 p.m. sharp, all visitors were asked to leave the unit. My parents had purchased a small white board for me to write down things I needed to communicate, so with that and the nurse call button close by on my bedside tray table, I was equipped to handle the long night ahead.

The first question you learn to answer in the hospital is, “On a scale of 1-10, how is your pain level?” My first nurse in TCU told me to never let my pain level get to a 5 without requesting pain relief as it takes longer for your body to fight the injury when you’re in pain. In addition, I had to personally ask for the medication as Kaiser’s policy is to not pass it out unless first asked. I also learned to up my pain level 1 number, mostly during the 4 p.m.-12:00 a.m. shift as it always took way too long to get the medication so by the time it was finally administered, I was generally well beyond the original number with which I started.

So here I am, attempting to get some sleep, but because it’s the TCU and I had just arrived, they would not close my room door. In between the loud machine beeps wailing from other patient rooms, the nurses chatted about nurse so and so with doctor “Oh no he didn’t”, so with the door wide open and nurses in and out on an hourly basis, checking my blood pressure, temperature, pulse rate and fixing my oxygen mask, sleep was non-existent.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you look back and you know it should hands down be the most embarassing thing you’ve ever dealt with? Well, that happend for me, night #1 in TCU, Kaiser Oakland. The funny thing is, for me it’s just funny. A little humorous event in the middle of a nasty situation. Sometime in the middle of the night, I remember the nurse entered my room. He was halfway through his shift and had explained that he was normally stationed on the 9th floor but had been asked to help out in TCU for the night. He was the same nurse from earlier when my parents and sister had been in to visit and my sister didn’t have to hear me verbalize anything to know that I was thinking, “Great, send in the most attractive male nurse you can find while I’m looking like a hot mess straight out of the latest Science Fiction Flick and can’t even use humor to talk my way out of it!” I had made eye contact with my sister and gave her one of those, “Fabulous! Just what I need!” looks as she connected the dots.

As his shift progressed, I quickly forgot his good looks, although I was praying my slightly elevated blood pressure wasn’t giving me away and allowed him to go about his business. At some point in the night, Nurse Hottie walks in the room, followed by a male orderly, who of course looked like he had just posed for GQ magazine and decided he would mingle among the common folk by doing some good will work at the local hospital.

Anywho…I digress. So, Nurse Hottie asked if I would like to be re-positioned on the bed as it was difficult for me to move myself. Through their conversation, I learned that this was Orderly GQ’s job to go around and help the patients shift when they were unable to do it for themselves. I hesitated at first, but the gnawing ache in my back screamed at me to just say yes. I agreed with a grateful nod. As Nurse Hottie tells me to relax and explains he’s going to roll me towards him, Orderly GQ looks on, waiting for the signal. All of a sudden, Nurse Hottie reaches up and says, “Excuse me miss, let me help you out there.” Completely unaware of what he was helping me out with, I realized a little too late as he gently pulled up my lovely hospital-issued gown, a gown that had apparently escaped its proper position somewhere during the course of the “patient shift” giving Nurse Hottie and Orderly GQ just enough of a peek of my womanly charm! Apparently Janet Jackson isn’t the only one who can pull off a “wardrobe malfunction!” Had I been able to talk, I’m sure I would have used sarcasm to pass the awkward silence of the moment and asked them for donations, in the form of a dollar bill, and yes, I do take 20’s! Needless to say, Nurse Hottie received more than he bargained for when agreeing to work elsewhere…there ya go, Nurse Hottie! Take that back to the 9th Floor! This is how we do it down in TCU! šŸ™‚

Nurse Hottie, his real name, Matthew, was gracious and beyond professional in an otherwise very vulnerable situation for me. And in a true poetic ending, Nurse Matthew, before exiting the room, turns and asks, “On a scale of 1-10, how is your pain?” Oh it’s a 10, Matthew…a 10! šŸ™‚

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11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Laura Moneypenny
    Mar 12, 2010 @ 15:22:40

    Kelli, Kelli, Kelli! YOU are amazing!!! I feel so privileged to be reading a best-seller before it goes to ‘official’ print. You have a way of pulling the reader in…..while I am laughing I must remind myself that this beautiful young lady is still experiencing this journey and to pause and lift you up in prayer. May our Lord continue his physically healing and restoration and bless your journaling!

    Reply

  2. Leah
    Mar 12, 2010 @ 15:55:52

    Can I just say I love you? I don’t even know you, but I love you! This is exactly the kind of humor *I* look for when stuck in an awful situation! Humor and God’s love are sometimes all there is to hang onto!

    Reply

  3. marrika
    Mar 12, 2010 @ 17:03:19

    This made me laugh out loud.. literally! Not just a smile but an actual laugh!! You are amazing!!!

    Reply

  4. jan ristau
    Mar 12, 2010 @ 18:39:28

    kelli
    you are so funny and fun. I love your sense of humor and your wording of that incredible experience. i sure do love you and am looking forward to seeing soon! I hppe and pray things are continuing to go well. Tell Chad, Joel has a baby girl born last night. Taylor Regan Douglas. 8lbs and doing well!.
    Love you Kelli girl
    Jan

    Reply

  5. toni martin-stolp
    Mar 13, 2010 @ 00:01:32

    i’m sitting here laughing and absolutely mortified, just re-living the experience thru your retelling! OH MY GOSH!!!! and i could just imagine that look you gave lori-lynn =)
    one unforgettable moment for the books!!
    ~toni

    Reply

  6. Stephanie
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 04:04:49

    Ha ha –Kelli—Oh my goodness—only you chickadee, only you—-Well, you do have a name and a location–maybe later you can call the 9th floor and ask for Matthew—hmmmmmm–

    Reply

  7. Jaime McWhorter
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 04:46:37

    so funny…i am crying…literally tears running down my face because I can actually hear you telling this story. Thank God for humor! Glad to hear your results came back clear!

    Reply

  8. Allyson
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 06:01:11

    Have you ever heard of or watched the documentary “Crazy, Sexy Cancer”…. it’s awesome and based on your humor and writing style, I think you may like it!

    Reply

  9. Jenn
    Mar 16, 2010 @ 15:50:21

    Oh Kel! LMAO!! That’s why I love you! You always seem to find the silver lining in the darkest cloud. Still praying for you; keep your chin up. šŸ˜‰

    Reply

  10. Colleen McAllister
    Mar 18, 2010 @ 18:45:44

    Kelli – I just got the link to your blog from Talin and am amazed how well you write about such a horrible experience. I have been praying for you and thinking about you since I first heard about the C. (No, I don’t use THAT word.)

    I know that God has plans for you and one day you will look back at this and, well … time will tell.

    Reply

  11. Amanda
    Mar 23, 2010 @ 02:32:06

    Oh my goooodneeeess!!! You are so funny! I’ve been mostly just keeping up with LL and just read your last couple blogs. I’m straight up laughing out loud all by myself at home. I can just HEAR you tell the nurse to take it back up to the 9th floor…sigh…geez…that’s freaking hilarious. I’m so amazed at your internal grace of our Lord coming through you. You are a true champion. Love you dear one.

    Reply

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