When I started writing this blog, I intended it to be a fun way to document our travels and maybe help folks who were thinking about making a similar change. I hoped I would write about places we visited in such a way that our readers would add those destinations to their lists. I considered the many bloggers I’d followed over the years and thought about how they inspired us to think about making this life change. I wondered whether I too might one day be able to claim my writing impacted someone’s life in some way.
But of all the ways I considered how my little blog might impact someone, never in a thousand years would I have believed that the most important thing I could tell my readers would be this: Dilaudid is the greatest goddamned invention in the history of the world. Forget the wheel. Penicillin is overrated. Nobody actually needs pre-sliced bread. Dilaudid. is. where. it’s. at.
D is for Dilaudid
Until my fateful encounter with those dogs last week, I’d had the great fortune of having no serious medical history. I’d had minor stitches twice – once when I was 6 and once when I was 20. That was it. No broken bones, no surgeries, no major illnesses, nothing. In fact, when we signed up for health insurance on the exchange, I thought “I’m basically the perfect person to help make Obamacare work. I’m young, healthy, and never need medical care. They’re gonna love me!” (By the way, if you’re thinking “I should tell everyone how I feel about Obamacare in the comments,” realize that I will delete that shit faster than you can say “Man, I thought all that Vicodin would slow her down!!” No politics allowed on this blog. Got it? Good.)
My introduction to the world of medical catastrophes has been pretty brutal. Not only did I break a bone, I “pulverized” it; not only did the surgeon need to set it, he needed to rebuild it; not only did I need surgery, I needed inpatient surgery; and, not only do I need rehab, I’ve been told to plan for the full 12 weeks.
But the inconvenience and frustration of being on crutches for three months pales in comparison to the agonizing pain I encountered after the surgery. It was exponentially worse than when I first broke it. When I came to from the anesthesia, I was literally in tears. After numerous other medications didn’t seem to have any effect on my misery, the post-op nurse said, “Ok, we’re gonna try Dilaudid.” At that point, I would have tried a fucking rain dance (but, of course, my leg was broken….) Within mere seconds of her introducing that sweet ambrosia of the gods, that magnificent nectar of joy into my IV, I watched as characters from the Broadway show CATS appeared and gently carried my hospital bed, as if it were a chariot, over the threshold to my room, all while singing “Memories” and tossing glitter all around.
Whatever it was – Dilaudid, or Dilaudid in combination with the numerous other ridiculous painkillers they’d just given me – my pain was finally bearable. Interestingly enough, my nurse later said I could have as much Morphine as I thought I needed, but Dilaudid was off the table. It turns out, Dilaudid is more than seven times stronger than morphine, which I guess explains some things (except for the glitter – nothing explains the glitter).
Nurses – Angels or Demons?
I have long been a believer that, when in hospitals, nurses are your best friends. I learned quickly when Kevin has his various medical disasters that nurses are a key source of information and encouragement. Whereas doctors often don’t have time for you and are hesitant to give specific prognoses, nurses tend to be more open with information and more willing to explain things in simple terms. I remember during some of the darkest, scariest moments with Kevin’s health issues, it was the nurses who set my mind at ease.
This week, when I found myself playing the role of patient, I was again happy to be surrounded by kind nurses who couldn’t do enough for me. But I realized, it’s kind of like an abusive relationship. They’re constantly making you miserable, but then apologizing for their behavior, and they’re so incredibly nice that you just have to forgive them, which then just leads them to do the same damn thing again. Specifically, they torment you with sleep deprivation. Every hour I would get a visit from my RN, and every hour I would also get a visit from my CNA. You would think they would come in together, but nooooooooooooo…. They would always be offset by like 40 minutes. So just as I’d be falling asleep after one would visit, the other one would wander in:
Nurse: “Hey Laura… sorry to wake you, but I just wanted to see if you needed anything…”
Laura: “Yes. I would like some Dilaudid please.”
Laura: “Pretty please?”
Nurse: “Nope. But you can have some ice water.”
Laura: “That’s really not even close to the same thing.”
Nurse: “You are correct. Do you want some ice water?”
Laura: [Sigh….] “Fiiiinnnneee…..”
For better or worse, in sickness and in health…No, seriously.
If there’s one piece of advice I can offer based on my recent experiences, it’s “If you’re gonna break your leg, make sure you’re married to Kevin.”
Ever since our return from the hospital, I’ve been completely dependent on my other half. Other than the most basic of daily needs, Kevin’s had to help me do everything. Simply getting into and out of the RV, getting cleaned up in the morning, and getting ready for bed at night, are now all two person jobs. And the tasks we used to split, have all fallen to him. He’s making all of our meals, handling the dishes, taking care of the dog, doing laundry, going shopping, cleaning, maintaining the RV, and tending to my various random medical needs – ice packs, medication management, pharmacy runs and so on…. But, he has been a rock star, just taking everything in stride, and doing whatever he needs to do to keep our happy home functioning.
I can imagine how easy it would be for him to feel sorry for himself or resent suddenly being responsible for taking care of me all day and night, but that’s just not the case. Of course, if you know Kevin, none of this should come as a surprise. He’s Kevin! The only downside has been his tendency to start singing “Who let the dogs out???” at inappropriate times. He thinks he is hilarious. He is incorrect.
The Bambino isn’t the only Boston curse
The last 3 times we’ve planned to spend a day in Boston with Jeremy and Jen, things have gone south in a big way. The first time was the week of the Boston Marathon bombing. If you recall, authorities shut the entire city down the day after the bombing as the manhunt took place – all of which happened on the same day we were planning to visit. The second time, about a year later, a freak rainstorm in DC canceled all flights going out of National Airport, including mine heading to Boston. And now this….
You would almost think we weren’t meant to go to Boston. But screw you, Boston. We don’t take hints. You can shut down the whole city, bring on the biblical weather, and put me in traction. We’re still coming to hang out with you! And we better see some swan boats!
In any case, because of this long tortured history, in addition to bringing me various art supplies and puzzles to keep me occupied, Jeremy and Jen bought us all kinds of Boston swag, brochures for Boston sightseeing, and, pretty much, the most appropriate shot glass ever….
And yes, I did enjoy the puzzles book aimed at ages 6 and higher. After a sleepless night (thanks nurses) and enough drugs to knock out an elephant, I was pretty impressed with my ability to find ALL the words.
Of course, they also bought me a soccer ball, the perfect gift for someone with a broken leg. Did I mention my brother and I have a typical older brother, younger sister relationship? (ie, he’s kind of a jerkface at times.)
We also wanted to say thanks to everyone who sent us text messages and e-mails, and commented on Facebook, Instagram, and the blog. Every kind word of concern, encouragement, and support was very much appreciated. At this point we’re hopeful that the worst is behind us and we can just focus on moving forward one day at a time.
Until next time….
PS: The reason for the French Polynesia picture at the top? No reason at all. It’s just pretty. 🙂