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

Monday, January 26, 2009

May the candles on your cake burn like cities in your wake

Today's my birthday, which made me think of last year's birthday and the circumstances under which it was celebrated and that made me remember the cake nazi.

I don't like using the N word to describe people unless they're really and truly members of the nazi party and I don't think this particular nurse was one, but it was the best way I could think of to describe her.

My birthday last year fell when I was in the hospital. I had been to the OR four times already. The morning of the 26th was my fifth trip and supposed to be the last one for a while.

I remember going down to the OR in the morning and the usual trouble getting the IV going and the horribly uncomfortable gurney. I remember waking up in the recovery room screaming because the pain was so bad. I don't remember waking up, I just know that when I did, I was screaming and a nurse was yelling at me to shut up because there were other people here in pain. I think an x-ray tech had just done pictures of my knee with the portable machine and that was why it hurt so much. The nurse was so mean and hateful-her eyes looked like she would shut me up permanently if she could somehow manage it. Utter contempt. I didn't get a lot of that in the hospital but it did show up from time to time. Anyway, I shut up like she wanted me to, although my leg didn't feel much better. Back to my room I went. At the time, I was sharing a room with the world's worst roommate. She and her husband would come and watch TV all night but they'd complain if I made any noise. She was in for multiple hernia surgeries and her family would come in and laugh at me and make fun of me because I had a stuffed kitty in bed with me that my daughter brought to remind me of Figment. All this was of course before I got all the nosocomial infections and my own private room. I believe they are the same people who stole my coat and shoes out of the hospital room, too.


That evening they had me on a morphine pump. It was doing no good. I was in excruciating pain. And it was my birthday. My husband and daughter came in and brought cake and presents. During that time in the hospital, my blood sugar ran high (115-130 was what I originally said but it must have been more because that's not high. I guess it's good that I've forgotten, eh?) and they had me on insulin injections once a day or so depending on the reading and metformin twice a day. My blood sugar is normal as a rule so this was stress-related. Not unexpected. But of course everyone in the hospital was treating me like a pre-dead diabetic because of my weight.

So my daughter brings in this cake. I had a nurse who was not one of the nicer ones, Cathy, on duty at the time. Cathy had that look of contempt in her eyes, one I recognized as "disgust at the fatty" by then. She was very slow to bring meds, did not make eye contact, gave brusque answers to questions, etc. I was always anxious to see her shift end. She came in to check my vitals and give me a shot and I showed her the half a cake my daughter brought. She said "You're NOT going to eat that!" I said "of course I am! It's my birthday and I've had a really bad day, I'm having some damn cake." She said "well, maybe a little piece then." It occurred to me that she seemed to think I was going to eat the whole fucking thing.

An entire half a chocolate layer cake with chocolate icing. By myself.

The awesome dietary lady, Jackie, came in and saw the cake, and she went out and got cups of ice cream for us. We gave her a piece of cake. She said "Cathy said you couldn't have this. I told her it was for someone else. You don't have any food restrictions on your chart, there's no reason you can't have cake and ice cream on your damn birthday." Jackie was amazing. I loved her.

So we had cake and ice cream and the aides got some cake and Cathy didn't get any, though the night nurse did, I think. The extremely sweet one who gave me extra pain meds that night because I was in pain like I'd never imagined. She came in and tucked me into the bed and kissed me on the forehead and told me it was going to be okay. Pretty much made up for Cathy.

A couple of days later, I got moved away from the crazy roommate by the Dream Team of Kim and Lisa, aides who were trying to get me out of that room for a week because they knew how much of a pain in the ass my roommate was. They ended up just commandeering a room for me. And the day after I got that good room, I got a bed that actually worked for me and supported my back and leg.

So anyway, that was my birthday last year.

This year, we went out to dinner twice, one on Saturday with Mensa friends and once on Sunday with my mom and elder daughter. Today, the actual day of my birth, I stayed home and made pasta e fagiole soup. Best I've ever made it, too. Bob gave me the I Claudius DVD set and Eddie Izzard's Dress to Kill DVD, and I got a card from my younger daughter and a check from my mother in law, and some nice presents from my mom, so it's all good.

In crafting news, nothing really new. I made Bob a hat but I didn't take any pictures of it yet. It's just a simple ribbed brim cap from chunky handspun yarn in browns and reds. He likes it. I'm still working on the scarf and am spinning some gorgeous superwash merino that I got in a swap.

Here's the swappy goodness. I like swaps so far.

Pretty much been taking it easy this weekend. We did start our pool membership on Saturday and that was seriously nice. I want to try to go at least 2x a week.

And the Steelers are going to the super bowl, so hopefully by this time next week, y'all can scrape me off the ceiling!


Simbelmyne said...

your story is going to make me cry. I am so glad you survived all of that and came away fighting just as hard as ever.

Happy Birthday!!!

mehitabel said...

Good for you for not giving up! It was a bad way to spend your birthday and I hope this year makes up for it, in spades! Sounds like you're off to a good start, anyway!!

Meowser said...

Happy birthday!

Oh, and do NOT get me started on the dietary people in hospitals and what they think is "appropriate" for people to eat. My XH is diabetic, and you should have seen the shit that was on his tray when he went in for an appendectomy a couple of years ago. They left the cheese off his sandwich (on white bread) to cut calories, thereby raising the glycemic index of the sandwich. And then they gave him canned pears in heavy syrup. (Bear in mind that we live in a state where fresh pears are practically falling out of the sky.) He said, "The very first thing they tell you in diabetic education class is, don't eat canned fruit in syrup EVER!" Makes you wonder what they're trying to do to people in those places.

Glad you're having a better birthday this year.

KnittingReader said...

Glad to hear you had a MUCH better birthday this year!

I get so sick and tired of people blaming everything on my weight. You have a cold? Must be because you're fat. Luckily, I've found a good, nonjudgmental doctor.

beckyzoole said...

I am so glad you had a better birthday this time!

I've said it before, and I mean it: hospitals are no place for sick people. I've never had a good experience in one, and Woof's two hospital stays were horrible. But good nurses can make all the difference.