Dateline 2015: And So it Begins….
Now, I’ve already written about a nursing home that I was confined to in late 2018. This story is regarding some of the most “eye-opening” days of my first excursion to what, if you remember from the other nursing home saga, I mockingly refer to as “Club Med”. I perceived myself an “inmate” with my own set of “keepers”. There was quite a “cast of characters” and my fingers would cross at shift change as to which of them would walk through my door. We’ll get to the details in a moment, but…. Scott was given extremely limited time to secure my new “accommodations”.
Tracheostomy (tray-key-OS-tuh-me) is a hole that surgeons make through the front of the neck and into the windpipe (trachea). A tracheostomy tube is placed into the hole to keep it open for breathing. The term for the surgical procedure t o create this opening is tracheotomy.
A tracheostomy provides an air passage to help you breathe when the usual route for breathing is somehow blocked or reduced. A tracheostomy is often needed when health problems require long-term use of a machine (ventilator) to help you breathe.
My Main Man….
As I stated in another post, a portion of my cancer battle involved a partial jaw replacement. During the 18 hour surgery, a tracheostomy tube was inserted. Most individuals who have this operation, cannot speak for the length of time that they are required to have the “barbaric apparatus”. This is where my “Right Hand Man” came into play. Allow me to explain – After I was wheeled to my hospital room, following the lengthy surgical procedure, a kind nurse brought me a dry erase board and some markers to write with. I had already been informed that I would not be able to speak, but these words were not quite “sinking in”. I soon realized that this board would become one of the most important things in my life for the next seven weeks.
Christmas Gifts in July?
I was sent from the hospital to “Club Med” for the rehab portion of my recovery. Here at “The Club”, I wrote on my new “Right Hand Man” for any of my needs. I say new because when I was originally given the dry erase board at the hospital, it was on its last leg. It appeared to be all but worn out and the markers that once had vibrant color, were dried up and tired of scribbling. As if my Scooter didn’t have enough to do, he went out and bought me a new board with markers in blue, orange, red, and green. When he came in to give it to me, he behaved much like a kid on Christmas Day, waiting for mom to open the gift he made for her. I was less than thrilled because I was “pissed off” about the whole writing “thing”, but for his sake, I played along. After my fellow left, however, I became innately aware that I was the “luckiest girl” in the world!
And You Can’t Make This Stuff Up….
Eventually I dreamed up another name for the nursing home that I was in at this time. I began referring to it as the “Little Shop of Horrors”. You will soon see why. I met the floor supervisor on my second day in. He walked through my doorway at around 8:00 am. A tall, lanky blond. He introduced himself with a few pleasantries, but…. at this moment, my thoughts became fixated on the movie of the same name, starring Steve Martin and Rick Moranis. He was a nurse who may have towered over me, but this “peculiar dude” simply became known as “Little Shop”. Of course he has a name, but I quickly forgot it after I secretly gave the guy his new “moniker”
Schemes and Deals….
“Little’s” next words were a bit alarming when he exclaimed, “We haven’t had anyone in here with a trach tube in eight years.” Before I could even attempt to reach for “Right Hand Man” for the “say what?” portion of the program, he informed me that it was time for him to “run out” and pick up supplies for my trach and all of its apparatus. But, wait…. Where was he going? I pictured him in some back alley, behind run down buildings, making a “black market deal”. I envisioned him with “cash in hand”, paying for the goods.
“Little” White Lies….
Scott had been asked to meet with “Little” and some of the Nursing Home “suits”, in a conference room, a couple of days prior to the supply run. This was to talk about the type of care I was going to receive and to reassure him of their expertise in trach tube care. The suction machine that they used could have been described as “ancient” and that would have been putting it mildly. It made a noise as if while it was functioning, there was a mouse inside, running on a wheel. Was I in an “alternate universe” and would I require “special papers” allowing me to go home?
Smell You Later….
At some point during my first week a male nurse came into the room. It was around 11:00 in the evening and I was exhausted. He was soft-spoken and had a pleasant demeanor, but I was wary of his intentions. Sadness and disillusion were setting in and I was building a wall of “brick and mortar” around me. He initiated the conversation with a, “how are you, this evening?” I was very frank with him and wrote on “Right Hand Man” that I was in a state of depression. The stranger asked if he could hold my hand and pray with me. I replied by nodding my head forward, but he was so close to me that I could smell what he had for dinner. I decided it was in my best interest to put my guard back up as the terror swept across my body. Another instance of, “This is it. I’m a goner. He is going to have his way and then kill me.” My mind raced with these sorts of thoughts. He did none of those things. “The Reeker” said a prayer that I couldn’t remember if I tried, but it helped me to get through that evening. I was able to wrap up that night with all my appendages intact.
*Stay tuned for Part II in two weeks….
With Love, K xo