Chitchat and the occasional in-depth analysis about fiber, knitting, spinning, crochet, cooking, feminism, self-image, and a modicum of personal blathering.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In my reverie

I've had no internet since February 19th. Today I'm in the hospital with a suspected infection, so yay, wireless. Boo to being in the hospital, but hey, at least I can check my email. I wrote this up the other day, anyhow, and thought I'd go ahead and post it then go on and get some sleep.

How does a technophile like me make it through almost three weeks with no internet?

Lots of knitting.

I’ve been reading and listening to audio books sometimes, but to tell the truth, the vast majority of my time has been spent watching television and knitting. I’m making socks at record pace. I’ve been so disheartened at my lack of connectivity that I’ve scarcely plugged in the laptop. Why bother, it seems to say to me. You can’t read your email. You can’t check your blogs. You can’t read what Kate Harding has to say about the dude on TLC who claims that he can “MAKE YOU THIN” via the magic of cable television. Why bother? You can’t blog about your misery or your small triumphs. So why bother?

Today I decided to bother, partly because there’s nothing on television, partly because I’m afraid of forgetting everything I want to make a note of someday.

I’ve been moved to Forbes Road Nursing and Rehabilitation. It’s the current use for the old Pittsburgh Hospital building, where my mother and her siblings were born, and where I did a summer’s service as a teenaged candy striper. (Strangely enough, Columbia Hospital, less than two miles away, where I was born, is also a nursing facility now). The move happened suddenly and it was not a good transition. I was told in the early afternoon that Tuesday that a spot had opened up and that was it. By 9 that night I was moved. The bed was wrong. The room was hot. The circumstances were terrible. I was despairing when they left me here. I’m only a little better now.

Let me explain about the bed. Due to my size and the fact that I perspire profusely naturally, my skin tends to suffer pressure sores more rapidly than most people’s. Because of that and because of my sciatica, a special bed with an air mattress was ordered for me. This bed is classified as a “bariatric” bed because the primary use is for obese patients who can’t move themselves around so well. Forbes claimed to have such a bed for me. They lied. The bed I was given could have fit three of me, was covered with plastic, and was as hard and unyielding as a gym mat. I spent two agonizing nights on that bed, crying in pain and getting very little sleep between the sweating and the sciatica. It was a bariatric bed all right, but only due to the size of the bed. I have no idea how actual hugely obese people slept on that bed, as it was excruciating for me and I’m more “just” obese rather than the bedbound nursing home obese that you see on television being exploited and shown eating take out food.

By the way, if those people on those shows get food anything like what I’ve been getting here, it’s no wonder they call out for take out at every opportunity. But this isn’t meant to be a critique of discovery network and their exploitation of fat people, it’s meant to be catching up to speed on what all has been going on with me since I had my internet amputated.

The food isn’t always horrible. I’ve had some decent things here. The pot roast is good. The chicken gumbo soup is excellent. And sometimes, we get sherbet. Sherbet is always a treat. But in general, it’s bland, old-people, nursing home food. I’m one of the minority of residents here who are actually aiming towards making a full recovery and going home. As such, I think my dietary needs differ from the geriatric cases that make up most of the beds here. No such consideration is taken, however, so Bob and my mother and Lena bring me fruit, yogurt, snacks both healthy and not, and basically keep me from losing weight at a more frighteningly rapid pace than is already happening. I’ve been here a little over two weeks and I’ve lost about 15 pounds. That should not be happening. Some weight loss is to be expected, but my fear is that I’m not getting adequate nutritional support for the amount of work that the Rehab is putting me through, and for healing as well. I’m sure the attitude is “hooray, the fat lady is losing weight” not “uh oh, the fat lady is weak from hunger because we’re not feeding her enough to recover from her injury and to work through rehab at the same time”. So I guess my family needs to keep bringing me food, because I’m usually ravenous, and not bored-ravenous, not ED-ravenous, but workout-ravenous, healing-ravenous, on the verge of ketosis-ravenous and those are not good things. I’m trying to learn to listen to what my body is telling me about food and eating and nourishing it in the way that it needs and I’m powerless here to do anything to improve my relationship with my hunger. I apologize and tell my body I’m sorry and I’ll get it what it needs as soon as I possibly can if it can just bear with me and keep healing and keep trying to get stronger in spite of inadequate nutrition and very, woefully inadequate sleep.

Back to the bed for more on that. The bed saga has been a vale of tears for the most part and it’s still not good. I’m on an air mattress that does not provide adequate support for my back and tends to make me slide from side to side. I am terrified of falling out of bed at night, as nobody in this facility knows how to keep a sheet on an air mattress. They wake me up several times a night for vitals, for pain pills, or just to say hello. Why me? Don’t they understand I’m here to recover from an injury, not because I’m old and too frail to take care of myself any more? Don’t they understand that healing can’t happen without sleep?

I’m fortunate that I have a private room here. When I checked in, it was out of necessity due to the nosocomial infections I picked up. Earlier this week, I was taken out of isolation but moved to a smaller private room. According to the tests, the nasty bugs are gone. I can’t imagine having a roommate here, though. I need a cold room, music, room to maneuver, and quiet. I don’t like people. I’m not easy to live with. I’d lose my mind with a roommate here. I was told when I checked in that if I opted to stay in a private room if they needed to move me to semi-private, I could stay for an additional fee of ten bucks a day. It hasn’t come up yet, but if it does, we’re going to do it, because my sanity is more important than the money, and I don’t think I’ll be here much longer anyway. I’m hoping for another three weeks to a month and then home. Home. I want to go home. I want my cat, and my stuff, and my email. I want to see my daffodils blooming even if I can’t weed them. I want my own bed, the one that has my husband in it.

Ah well. As aforementioned husband is wont to say, all in good time.