What’s your name? Katharine. How old are you? 36. Where are you? Riverside Methodist Hospital. Good. Swallow these.
It’s Throwback Thursday in Social Media land, so this seems an appropriate day to share my favorite hallucination from my missing two weeks. It seems funny to talk about a “favorite,” but I mentioned yesterday that I had created an Elaborate Ranking System and this particular hallucination was one of the less threatening and more entertaining.
There was an orderly/tech/PSA (still not sure I’m using the right letters) in the neuro-ICU named Jason. At least I think there was. Matt doesn’t remember this guy, although he remembers another male orderly named Zach who worked in the step-down unit. That doesn’t mean Jason didn’t exist, just that he never crossed paths with Matt. I have pretty clear memories of him, so my vote is that Jason, indeed, exists.
It was his job to give me a sponge bath. Before you start the heavy base bow-chicka-wow-wow background music, let me say two things. First, I hadn’t had a shower since they day before my surgery, so by the time Jason came upon me, whenever that was, I was probably pretty rank. Second, there was the issue of the shaved, stapled, stubbly, betadine-soaked head with the drains attached. I was NOT bringing sexy back.
Shudder. Betadine. Now there’s a word I haven’t thought of in a long time. Ugh, I can still smell it.
I remember this sponge bath. Again, not in a bow-chicka-wow-wow way, but in a wow, it’s a lot harder to move than it should be way. The fact that I was pretty much completely paralyzed on my left side was still not quite computing. I remember asking Jason (and probably anybody else who came into my room) why my arm was curled up against my chest. “Is it atrophy?” I asked. Yes, I had command of the concept of atrophy, but still thought the nurses were there to steal my kids and that Ronald McDonald was giving away needles. Go figure.
“Some of it, maybe,” he replied. Again, no mention of stroke. I don’t think Jason even said “major hemhorrhagic event,” he just got on with the business of wiping me down the same way I wipe down my kids’ lunch boxes. He would ask me to turn this way or that and I couldn’t, so he would reposition me as needed. As I lay there bald, stapled, draining and now naked, I was vaguely aware that I should try to make small talk with the guy.
“So what’s your position here?” If I was really concerned about this, I probably should have asked before he took my gown off, but too late now. “Are you a nurse?”
“No, I’m a tech. They used to call us ‘orderlies’.”
“Like that movie?”
“That movie with The Fat Boys in it from the 90s?”
He laughed. “Yeah, kind of like that. What was that movie called anyway?”
“Wasn’t it Disorderlies?” Yes, I could remember the name of a really bad movie (from the late 80s as it turns out), but I couldn’t differentiate between Columbus and Toronto. Again, go figure. He finished his task and moved on.
I spent the rest of the day and that night with The Fat Boys. They were everywhere. They were in the hallway. They were in my room. So much dancing, their fat feet stuffed into giant RUN-D.M.C. style unlaced tennis shoes.Thank goodness they didn’t try to get into my bed because they would have broken it. I couldn’t get rid of them. Eventually, I closed my eyes and prayed for them to go away. Please, God, take The Fat Boys away. They aren’t funny anymore. I’m tired.
A few days(?) later, Jason was on shift again. “You’ll never guess what happened,” I said to him, “I had a dream about The Fat Boys after we talked about them.” It wasn’t a dream, but some part of me thought to call it “a dream” when talking to the staff. It was probably the same part of me that thought the nurses were plotting to take my kids away. Hallucinating about 80s rap stars dancing in the hallways is probably not a point in your favor as a responsible parent.