coming out of my shell

coming out of my shell

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Knee jerk reactions, part 3: Get out

I was admitted to hospital mid-afternoon on Saturday, Sept 7.  My surgery was 7:30 am Sunday morning. I was released from the hospital, still vomiting from the morphine, at 5:30 pm. It seemed a bit soon.

One of the surgical doctors stopped by the night before surgery to ask if I wanted to be revived if I died on the table. That was interesting. I told him if, for some reason, I was brain dead or if my brain was functional but my body would never move again then please, kill me dead. However, I stressed if the worst was I might never walk again, I wanted to live. I would have loved to talk to him more about life and death, but he wanted to skedaddle, so I waved goodbye as he made his escape.

I understand why some have clergy stop by to talk with them when they are critically ill. Who else would want to listen to one's fears of death? When my time comes, I want to put in an order for a Jesuit. I might be wrong, but I imagine they might be reasonably smart, spooky deep, and would thoughtfully answer my wacked-out questions? But could I trust their answers? There's the rub.


My nurses were outstanding. I was there through the change of a few teams, and each managed me beautifully. Because of them I didn't suffer. They brought me humor and hope, they kept me clean, and they encouraged me to eat full fat foods like biscuits with gravy and macaroni and cheese. Angels they were, and angels they remain.
This sort of reminds me of a leg

20 comments:

  1. Interesting your surgeon bothered to ask about resuscitation. Our experience as a family is that even if you have everything in writing when it comes to end of life, the medical establishment does what they want. Annoys me no end. But I think it was good that the surgeon asked just before your date in the operating room. What you think about these things in the abstract is much different than what you think when it isn't abstract at all. I agree that nurses are angels. Jesuits are fun to argue with, by the way. Trust their answers? Who among us do we really trust to answer truthfully and well? Not many I would guess.

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    1. Lovely comment Chilly. Yes, I really did find it interesting to be asked that the night before surgery. I knew I was not in a life-threatening situation, and they were simply asking "just in case" the surgery triggered something. I was happy to be asked. I want them to know what I think.

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  2. I am surprised the surgeon asked that question and also really glad that he did. I really like your response. I think it's important for hospital staff to know our wishes in times like this. I have an Advanced Directive signed and ready, but now I wonder how the hospital staff would know about that. Mmm... Thank you for writing this down, Colette.

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    1. I have one. too - but didn't bring it, and probably wouldn't have thought to.

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  3. That picture made me shiver and I truly hope your leg looks much better! I am happy to read that the hospital food was indeed edible and that you had good nurses to care for you.
    Both are not always a given.

    Here, we are asked if we have a written living will and/or power of attorney given to a next of kin and if so, someone comes and makes a big dooda about having received that information and that they will adhere to it etc. - this after some lawsuits.

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    1. The food wasn't particularly healthy, but it was good. Eating my meals in hospital were a pleasant distraction.

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  4. Good grief - shouldn't they ask you that earlier so you have time to think through your answer?

    They ship you out of the hospital so fast these days. When I had my mastectomy, I was under for 7 hours, spent 3 in recovery and didn't get to my room until that evening. I was booted out the next morning, still barely able to stand.

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    1. I really don't understand why they do that. It is traumatic enough going through surgery (especially for cancer, Woman!) but to be booted out when you are still vulnerable and woozy is cruel. The nurses were against it. I swear they are the only medical personnel who care.

      You know, I read your blog, but I have been scared away from commenting by the Discus disclaimer on your comment section. Please note I AM a faithful follower of yours, though.

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  5. I was asking myself why no one asked me if I wished to be revived when they put rods and screws in my leg the next day! Because I've had a power of atty and final orders on file with that hospital for years.
    One day at a time. Be kicking butt, soon.

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    1. I am really looking forward to kicking butt again.

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  6. What a thing to ask before you are going to surgery! I would have preferred to be asked if I had a living will or something similar. Most nurses are what keeps hospitals in order. Hope you are feeling better now.

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    1. I'll be writing about my current condition and hopes for the future soon.

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  7. Voltaire, on his death-bed, was asked by a priest to renounce the Devil and all his works. He replied: "Father, this is not the time to make powerful enemies."

    I have often dwelt on the possibility of being visited by a man of the cloth as I lay in extremis in the hospice. I worry that fear might cause me to reject an intellectual view of death, that I might be terrified into blather about harp-twanging and/or being prodded with three-pronged forks by red men wearing horns. Worse still, that I might be tempted into an argument with the God-man. Argument is a waste of effort, whereas conversation leading to discussion is one of the greatest options we as human are allowed.

    Your wish for the company of a Jesuit becomes you. But you wouldn't be forced to trust SJ answers. In good conversation/discussion both participants are equal. In being honest about yourself you might well hope that your honesty was admired but it wouldn't be your aim - only that the conversation proceeded satisfactorily and that future exchanges would add to what had gone before. That time would pass unnoticed.

    My compliments again. You are profiting from your experiences. And so are we.

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    1. LOVE the Voltaire quote!

      Don't worry, fear of death will not make you start believing in fairy tales or myths. You are pretty darn tough. If there is no physical suffering (and I hope there will not be for you, or for me), then it might just be a grand adventure, filled with the usual anxiety surrounding travel. I was a hospice volunteer at one point (long time ago) and in the extraordinary training they provide, they explained that most of the dying slowly recede from life and people they love to prepare for death. In the absence of pain, my sincere hope is that dying IS an intellectual experience.

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  8. I think the same day of your surgery is too soon and I'm guessing the only reason they do that is to cut costs. I agree that hospitals are not the best places to be, increased risk of infection, but one more night to get your pain under control and make sure you're okay would have been ideal.

    I love that Voltaire quote. I shall try to remember it:)

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    1. If you don't read Roderick Robinson's blog, Tone Deaf, you really should.

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  9. Insurance is likely the reason the hospital stay was so short. If your after procedure instructions are to remain immobile and rest, better at home than in a hospital. My daughter's procedure was billed as "same day" From 7 in the morning to 7 that evening, longest day ever.

    I am glad your experience was as pleasant as could be given the circumstances.

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    1. Thanks Middle Girl. I think you are right about the insurance being the defining issue for discharge.

      There were many pleasant and interesting moments, oddly enough.

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So, whadayathink?