Thursday, October 26, 2006

Our Weekend With Lance - Part 9

Part 9
Monday – October 16th

The taxi gets on the main highway and we arrive at ASH (Austin Surgical Hospital) in just under 10 minutes. It turns out it was only 10 miles away from the Hyatt. Why did it take Connie and me 45 minutes last night to find it?

The driver pulls up to the front of the hospital and unloads my luggage. He helps me get it inside to the lobby, I pay him and he leaves. I load up the luggage cart – this is like a freakin hotel – and I head back to Jimmy’s room. Since this is only a 20-bed hospital, it is easy to find your way around.

I get to Jimmy’s room, open the door and push the cart in with all the luggage. Surprise! Jimmy is propped up in bed watching the Today show. I go over, give him a kiss and unload the cart. One of the NAs come in, introduces themselves as Lupe, and takes the cart away.

I shove the luggage into the corner by the door leading to our balcony – we have a freakin balcony – go over to Jimmy’s bed and sit in the chair beside him. We watch the Today show and then Kelly & Regis, all the while nurses are coming and going checking Jimmy’s vitals and switching bags on his IV poles. Around 11 a.m. Becky and Judy – the Pre-op nurses – come in and start to dismantle Jimmy’s bed from everything he’s hooked up to. They are a regular comedy team and crack us up all the way to Pre-op. Pre-op looks just like the Pre-op at York Hospital, and I begin to feel more comfortable in familiar surroundings.

The anesthesiologist comes in and introduces himself, but I can’t remember his name, and reviews the various types of anesthesia that can be used for this procedure. Jimmy doesn’t do well with surgery, needles, IV’s, any kind of hospital stuff so I tell the doctor to just knock him out, Jimmy agrees. The nurses have me tattoo Jimmy’s leg with a pen so the doctor knows which leg he is to operate on. I don't know about you, but should a person have more medical training to make those kinds of decisions … Becky gives him a cute little shower cap to wear, I give him a kiss and off he goes through the swinging doors. Bye Jimmy!

I head back to Jimmy’s room and read for a while. My stomach keeps grumbling … I haven’t eaten since the banquet on Saturday … and I’m starved !!! I go out to the nurse’s station and ask them if they have a cafeteria or snack bar. Nope. Again, this is a very small hospital – 20 beds – so they only have patient food service. I ask them if there is something within walking distance to go to and they said there’s a McDonalds up the street. Great!

So I cut through the lobby, head down the drive way and get out to the main road. This road is like I-83 during rush hour. OMG … there is no burm to walk on, with a guardrail and a 5-ft drop into a drainage ditch. I am walking against traffic and I can practically feel the paint on the cars brush my arms as they go whizzing by.

All of a sudden a huge tractor-trailer goes flying by, blasts his horn, startling me … I loose my footing, fall over the guardrail down into the ditch! OMG …

I struggle to get up, Oh Great! When I fell my purse dumped everything into the YUCK! I shove everything back into my purse and after several attempts – which would have had Jimmy laughing his ass off – climb out of the ditch. I am wearing a white T-shirt, white caprice pants, white socks and white sneakers. I look down and I am filthy from the ditch and from my knee down it is solid RED. My knee has a huge gash and blood is gushing out and running down my leg. OMG … what a bloody mess.

Okay … Now I lose it!

I hobble back to the hospital, planning on getting to Jimmy’s room and cleaning myself up. By the time I get to the entrance, I have myself in such a state, bawling my eyes out. I’m limping down the hallway and run into Becky.

Beck: OMG Girl … What did you do?
Pammy: I was hungry so I decided to walk up to McDonalds and I was walking along the road and a big tractor-trailer almost hit me and blew his horn and I fell over the guardrail into the ditch and cut my leg and dumped my purse and Jimmy’s in surgery getting a new hip and I just want to go home.

But it came out like this …

I hungry … walk … McDs … road … tractor …hit … horn … fell … ditch … cut … dumped … Jimmy … surgery … hip … home.

Becky took me back to Pre-Op and she and Judy helped me onto a liter. Soon Elizabeth, the Day Supervisor, was there with a wet, cold washcloth wiping my face (it felt so good) and talking to me in a soothing, calm, southern voice. I started to feel a little better. They wheel me down to their ER and start to clean me up. The give me some forms to fill out (of course), they give me a tetanus shot and the ER doctor comes in to check out my knee. He said the cut is pretty deep, but since I scraped all the skin off my knee there isn’t anything to stitch together, so they’re going to wrap it up real good and I’ll be fine.

Just then another doctor in OR scrubs comes in …

Dr. A: Mrs. Fortney?
Pammy: Yeah.
Dr. A: I’m Dr. Albrecht, your husbands surgeon. What the hell did you do?
Pammy: I fell in a ditch.
Dr. A: Boy. You and your husband must think Austin really sucks!
Pammy: [I give a little laugh, but I’m still having the hiccups from crying].
Dr. A: Well good news … your husband has a brand new hip and he's going to be fine. He’s in recovery and will be back in his room soon. I’ll come talk to you both tomorrow and explain how everything went.
Pammy: Oh good. Thank you so much for everything.
Dr. A: My pleasure … now go change clothes … you don’t want to scare your husband.

Just then, Josee (kitchen manager) comes in with a sandwich and chips for me. Elizabeth called her and she wanted to be sure I got something to eat. She was my angel. Josee took care of me the rest of the week sending meals along with Jimmy so I wouldn’t venture out on my own again. God knows what might happen to me next!

After warnings from everyone that I don’t leave the hospital until Jimmy is discharged, and me promising them I won’t go anywhere … I limp on back to Jimmy’s room and enjoy the most delicious sandwich I have ever eaten.