2-20 From the ER to the Short Stay Ward

I got up Saturday morning and walked to the hospital. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. I didn’t eat breakfast, I just got myself there.

I checked in, was recognized by the staff from the night before and then sat down in the waiting room. Around 8:30, a nurse came to find me. Then I sat in a different chair for awhile. Around 9, the ortho doc sat down and we chatted. She poked my thumb a bit. She told me I’d be an in patient for a few days because they want to do a general anesthetic. She told the nurse to admit me.

By 10 am, I’d gotten through to the PCMOs who had in turn called our financial person who called the hotel. I had to go check back out of the hotel that I’d been in for three hours, except that I was admitted to the ER.

I chatted with my nurse about the situation. She asked me if I had family or friends in the area. I explained that I had exactly no one anywhere in this country. She decided I’d developed a sudden interest in smoking and told me to go take a smoke break and be back by noon.
I took off like the stereotypical bat out of hell. Not only did I need to go pack up my things and check out of the hotel room, I also needed to stock up on little things for my stay in the hospital like toothpaste, chocolate and Aussie cash. I caught a bus into a shopping district in Brisbane. (The bus card was courtesy of another patient in the ER who gave me her old empty card and a whole bunch of recommendations about places to go and things to see while she was between bouts of morphine.)

I stopped in at a camera store and got an SD card for my new camera. I stopped by the money changer and changed the US cash the Peace Corps had given me for travel expenses. The man in front of me there couldn’t have been slower if he’d been doing it with both eyes closed and counting with just his tongue. Then I went to a food court and got a real fruit smoothie. I miss smoothies. They are amazing and don’t really exist in Vanuatu. I also got a chocolate-nutella crepe. That was the first food I’d eaten since the airplane dinner the day before. After that I stopped in a hippy-food store and stocked up. Then I ran to catch my bus and make it back by noon.

I informed my nurse that I was once again not interested in smoking and would be in the waiting room when she was ready to start the IV. Around 1 she came and got me, only to be called away before she could actually start the IV. So, I chilled in a bed for awhile. She came back and put in another IV, this time in my forearm. I only have two good veins for needles. Both of them had been recently stuck. It took her two tries to get this one and she went for it at my request. The other option was my elbow and I didn’t want to deal with keeping my elbow straight for the next few days. It hurt, but she got it eventually and pushed another dose of anibiotics.

Then I hung out in that chair for another hour or so. They took the bed away for someone who the ambulance brought in. I wasn’t worried about it, just tired. I wanted to get admitted so I would at least have a bed to lay down in.

Dinner. Not appetizing.
Around 2:30, I was admitted. I did things like re-packed my bag to be able to find things and sorted my receipts into the “need to turn into Peace Corps” and “put in computer” piles. I charged my phone, camera and computer. I wrote part of these blog posts. I played video games. Around 7, they pushed more antibiotics. After that, I tried to eat dinner but nearly puked it back up. I decided fasting could start early and took a shower instead.

My shower never got warm. I usually take cold showers on Pentecost and it is no big deal because Pentecost is hot. The AC here was at about 65 degrees. I was freezing. The shower didn’t help anything. I went and got two more blankets and huddled under them until I fell asleep.

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