“What would you like me to call you? Address you as Ms or by your first name?” the nurse at the wound care clinic asked me. I smiled at her, we’ve spoken a dozen times and it never occurred to me she had never said my name.
“Call me by my first name or whatever you’re comfortable with so long as you pronounce either correctly.”
She apologized for asking, telling me that most patients are elderly so she addresses them as ‘Mr/Mrs so and so.’
And then I remembered that between the wound care clinic and the orthopedist office, I always seem to be about 30 years younger than the rest of the patients I see waiting.
Back in the treatment area, another nurse took my vitals, updated my medical information (yay no more PICC line IV infusion antibiotics!!) and then she left me alone so I could take off my pants. Which…they’re going to see you in some assorted state of undress…why do they give you privacy to do that part? Is it to make it less awkward? I could give a damn about taking my pants off in front of a doctor or nurse. But maybe that’s just me.
This particular appointment was more than painful. It was more painful than the right after they’d don’t surgery initially. Two of the nurses worked together to get the black foam out of my wound, numbing the outside skin, then pouring saline to dampen the foam to help release it. I tried to so hard not to whimper or make noise. In fact, I tried to go to a happy place but that wasn’t happening. At a certain point even my happy place feels like some kind of torture camp. As I’ve said before, it feels like I should be used to the pain but it doesn’t work that way.
I had even taken a dose of pain meds before my appointment and it didn’t touch the pain. Not even close. They ended up – after the arduous task of pulling all the drapings and foam off, filling me with 3 entire tubes of lodocaine then letting it set in for a while. There was still pain but it was better and frankly, I had work to get done so I couldn’t wait any more.
They take pictures of your wound at each visit and at my request, one of the lovely nurses snapped a few pictures with my cell. I tried not to look at them but she insisted so I’d know they were ok and didn’t need to be re-done.
Seeing that make me hurt even more. If I tried to explain it, I don’t think you’d understand. Sure we all exaggerate from time to time, I generally do it in the interest of comedic timing where dating is concerned. This however needed no exaggeration. This was horrifying. I began tearing up and the doctor came in and we spoke about it. I made a passing comment that perhaps by Labor Day I’d be all done…silence.
So to save her from having to further break my heart I said “I get it, it happens when it happens, right? Well maybe by the end of the year.”
Everyone left so the lidocaine could set in and I laid there half undressed crying off all my makeup. A few minutes later the medical pros came back in and the doctor began doing some debriding again…which…honestly, I know I’m a baby but if I have to do this for a whole summer I’m going to snap into a million pieces, none of which will be happy.
I was still teary. The staff is so amazing, calming and they do their best to make it better. Between the physical pain and emotional…its awful. I told them I felt like being the age I am it puts me at a disadvantage. I see other patients in the lobby with their significant others. Most of them are considerably older than me. They’ve been married; they’ve had kids, grandkids, careers. Here I am all I have is a career. I have plenty of familiar support, amazing friends who support me but it’s not the same. I knew when I left my appointment I couldn’t call a partner I could call whose shoulder I could cry on. Or a man who could just give me the level of comfort I needed to feel better. You’d think after all the time I’ve spent without a serious relationship I’d be used to flying solo on all these things but oddly, I’m not. Weird how that works. Same with pain (which I’ve mentioned before. You’d think after 5 or so years of practically crippling pain that I’d be ok hurting…nope)
Anyway my appointment ended up taking twice as long as it should have. I was so exhausted, just drained physically, emotionally and ready to drop dead. My home healthcare nurse was waiting on me to get home so she could remove my PICC line. I made a quick stop to get some lunch on the way home. Normally I wouldn’t have anyone wait for me, but she I’ve waited on her so I decided since I needed to eat and it was our last visit that she could wait. Turns out she got to my place 30 seconds before I did. Oh during my appointment the doctor told me I needed to eat, get in all my protein and keep my calories up. That I needed the nutrition to help me heal. Basically I feel like I can now eat whatever I want without repercussions.
I will say I’ve been doing a good job of always eating protein first, even when I need a quick snack. Go me!
One last thing…they changed the setting on my wound vac which – I don’t know if it was put it wrong or what but it’s constantly dropping to zero amounts of suction then amping up the where it should be. Guess I’ll find out tomorrow when they remove everything and do it again. Can’t wait. Jesus, I can’t do this for another 6 months. The more I think I can, the more I realize I can’t. Ok sure I can but I don’t want to. And you know, as vain as I am, there’s no damn way in hell I can even consider dating with this disgusting thing attached to me making gross sucking noises that everyone assumes is me passing gas or my stomach growling….every 2-5 minutes.
Pity party, table of one? I go back to wound care tomorrow again for a repeat of torture. Ugh. I wish this were it, but I still have my left hip to replace. It’s once again gotten so bad I can barely stand on it and walking has become a major challenge, affecting my right side and my ability to walk correctly. Just just depressing that I have years more of chronic pain to look forward to. Guess more about that later. Think it’s bedtime for me.