Saturday, December 30, 2006

Wrong Way Go Back

Many of us remember cartoon episodes in which Bugs Bunny "must've taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque on the way to Pismo Beach." He'd tunnel up in Saudi Arabia or some other such unlikely place.

Ed was lost. He had gotten out of his hospital bed to go to the bathroom but he took a wrong turn and instead went to the the door to the hallway. Not finding a toilet there, he pushed a waste basket out from his room and then dropped his pajamas and sat down on the basket to get his job done. Nobody seemed to notice what was going on until he'd stunk up the place pretty good, then we ushered him back to bed and freshened him and the place up a bit.

He had a right subclavian temporary hemodialysis catheter which he usually ignored, but for some reason later that evening it caught his attention and he bit the end off of it. Sandy, the nurse assigned to him, had just walked into the room to check on him when she screamed out for help. It was a real bloody mess and he would have exsanguinated if she had walked in much later.

She held the torn double-lumen cath pinched off while I got a Kelly clamp and the charge nurse Rhoda called the surgeon, who said to "clamp it off and I'll get to it in the morning." Ed was asking where all the blood came from. He didn't realize it was his.

As lost as he was in the present, Ed could speak quite eloquently about things from the past. He was a chef and restauranteur with stories to tell about wierd customers and waitresses who did things like go into labor right in his kitchen. That was the thing about him. He could present very well and hold lengthy lucid conversations about stuff that happened years ago, but he really didn't know where he was in the here-and-now.

Sandy liked the old guy, and the night shift nurses told me that sometimes she'd call the place up in the wee hours of the morning, a little drunk maybe, asking how he was doing.

When he was eventually transferred out to the local nursing home and as he was leaving us, he said hello to everybody, as if we were just then meeting, oblivious to his having been with us for weeks.

2 comments:

Eli Blake said...

I saw this title and thought it might be about something else.

I just finished reading Lakoff (thanks again) and it helped me smell a trap.

As I just blogged a few minutes ago, the President is suggesting a token 'surge' in troops to try and put the debate on his terms and stick us with his formerly losing position, while when he loses the inevitable house vote he will get what he wants ('stay the course'), have Democrats held responsible for it and clear his own name because all of a sudden he will be able to say 'I had a plan and they voted it down.'

And what scares me is this-- the debate is already being done on his terms-- witness today's radio response, in which a Democratic congressman-elect pledged to oppose his plans to increase troops in Iraq. If that is our mentality then he's already won!

(OK, do I get an 'A' for absorbing Lakoff?)

may said...

things like this always saddens and scares me. what will happen when it's my time to grow old? i know, selfish thoughts, but i see it almost everyday that it gets very real.

happy new year!