Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Fine Night

"Jack's on call for the night," said Liz as we did the narcotic count, "which must be a real pain in the neck for him because that means no beer for that boy," and we chuckled. "But if anything happens it won't take him long to get here, and same goes for Jost."

He was the respiratory therapist and he also was not actually on the premises. Just available if needed. That's how it was there, if you can imagine that.

The only patient in our little ICU was Debbie, and she was very well-known to me both from this stay and previous visits. I'd first met her years before when she'd had a Nissen fundoplasty. They wheeled her in with respiratory distress weeks ago and this time she became ventilator-dependent.

Liz added that the ER was almost empty and the floor telemetry beds, which we monitored from the ICU, had a few openings as I could see from the blank spaces on the tele screens.

"See you in the morning," said Liz, and I went in to say hi to Debbie. She smiled when she saw me, and I chatted along as usual about news and weather as I did tracheostomy care, checked the vent, and turned her. That was my routine every hour or so throughout the night.

In between I read, puttered around the unit, snacked, and listened to music:

October Project
The Love That Whirls by Bill Nelson
Alice's Restaurant

Plus some Beethoven quartets and some Cecilia Bartoli.



It was a long night. Nothing happened.

"There was all kinds of mean, nasty, ugly-lookin' people on the bench there . . . there was mother-rapers . . . father-stabbers . . . father-rapers! FATHER-RAPERS sittin' right there on the bench next to me! And they was mean and nasty and ugly and horrible and crime fightin' guys were sittin' there on the bench, and the meanest, ugliest, nastiest one . . . the meanest father-raper of them all . . . was comin' over to me, and he was mean and ugly and nasty and horrible and all kinds of things, and he sat down next to me. He said, "Kid, what'd you get?"

I said, "I didn't get nothin'. I had to pay fifty dollars and pick up the garbage."

He said, "What were you arrested for, kid?" and I said, "Litterin'"' . . . . And they all moved away from me on the bench there, with the hairy eyeball and all kinds of mean, nasty things, till I said, "And creatin' a nuisance . . . " And they all came back, shook my hand, and we had a great time on the bench talkin' about crime, mother-stabbin', father-rapin', . . . all kinds of groovy things that we was talkin' about on the bench, and everything was fine."

4 comments:

Dirk Gently said...

kid, have you rehabilitated yourself?

philippinenurses said...

he should be...

may said...

sometimes, a slow night drags on and on and on, and you can feel every second beating, boring. but somehow, there times that it is nice to have those nights.

DisappearingJohn said...

Oh, the memories of listening to Alice's Restaurant....

My favorite line was, "at the bottom of the hill we saw another half-a-ton of garbage.. We figured one big pile was better than two little piles, and rather than bring that one up, we decided to throw ours down..."

Thanks for a big smile this morning!