Okay, first: in answer to the question about whether I named the toy white cell Sam sent me? Leuk, of course, short for leukocyte.Â Leuk! Leuk! Use the Farce!
Ahem. Next: I have a few skirts made from a microfiber polyester suede-look fabric. I love natural fibers, but these have earned their keep. They’re pretty imperturbable, indestructible, and in my experience, given that they don’t absorb stuff, they are definitely un-stainable. (They also seem much more a California fabric to me than something I’d wear back home in 100% humidity and heat in the summer.)
On to our story.
Ways to be of service do not always come in pretty packages, and when they don’t, the chance of the moment is completely in how you unwrap them.
I had a pre-op appointment at the hospital early this afternoon. They were very thorough. They wanted to know absolutely everything.
And I drove that poor nurse nuts.Â She was clearly not having a good day before she ever laid eyes on me, and in comes this fuzzy-memoried woman who can’t remember what year she had which complication of lupus or Crohn’s. How long have you had…Â How long has this…Â Sixteen years or eighteen?Â One month of really being an issue, or…?Â (How do I know how much is an issue to you when it’s not to me and it hasn’t been to my doctors?)Â Â Blood pressure 86/45 ON the med to raise it?! Do you feel dizzy?Â You *don’t*?
Nah, this is normal to me.
She got on the phone to my cardiologist’s office asking for further details to be faxed in, and in came another nurse with an EKG machine. The first one asked me a few questions, rolled her eyes at me, and let the EKG begin.
At the end, (it was normal), the EKG nurse drew the curtain for me to get dressed again and left, and the irritable nurse suddenly heard a sharp exclamation of OHMYGOODNESS! And then, since there was a sink and soap on my side of the curtain, a, “How do you turn on the water!?”
“Foot pedals.” And then she called to me, in rising concern, “Is everything all right?”
Oh my goodness. In the grand scheme of things, well, yeah. In the moment, no.Â Going to tuck in my shirt, I had somehow hit the little loop at the top of the two-piece ileostomy bag and–it had never even occurred to me that such a thing could happen–the thing had burst apart across the inside of my lower clothes. I shut it back up and washed my hands, but my stars. It was bad.
I thought back to one doctor who’d told me confidently, “And now that you’ve gotten comfortable with the bag…” where I almost interrupted him to ask sweetly and innocently, Oh–did I say that?
Here’s one saving grace: hot cocoa for breakfast does not stink in such circumstances. (An aside to Dad: I am SO justified! Neener neener. Heh.)
I apologized to the nurse for stinking anyway, feeling that it’s always good to care about one’s impact on others.Â She assured me she smelled not a thing.
Thinking back, I was a tad rueful, surely, but I did not get upset. Sometimes things just happen.
And from that point on, she thawed.Â She knew and I knew there was nothing I could do till I got home and showered, and I think whatever was wrong with her day, she was probably thinking it wasn’t as bad as walking down the hallway hoping that… my problem didn’t get…worse… (Where’s that guy with that mopping machine?) I wasn’t entirely sure that thing was entirely secure now.
But you know, when that nurse comes back to where she can laugh again in her life, whether that’s tomorrow after a good night’s sleep or whether it’ll take a little longer than that, she’ll be swapping this story with other nurses for a very long time to come. The ileostomy patient who flipped herself off.Â Ohmygoodness.
That blessedly indestructible skirt kept my not-tucked-in silk blouse completely clean all the way home.Â Nobody walking down the busy main hallway at Stanford Hospital could tell anything was wrong as I went back to my car.
And there was a jumper, for wearing post-op, made out of that same fabric, waiting in a box for me outside my door when I got home.
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