It's Ronni Here
Homeward Bound

Hospital Land for the Overworked Executive

Personal Note: I'll try to post regularly now, but it depends on how I feel each day. Also, I am still fuzzy in the head so I'll keep these relatively short so they don't veer off into the crazy, however much you might get a laugh from that. Little vignettes, let's call them, of hospital life and what I'm learning here.

It appears, too, that my hospital stay may be extended by a day or two. That's not a bad thing, just careful.

I'm a novice at being a hospital patient, still learning. Those of you who have been here/done that will be way ahead of me in understanding that in some ways I have never been busier than when lying on my back.

Pills for this, injections for that and now it's time for vitals again. One set of numbers goes up and that's good. The same range in another set is likely to mean an additional pill or a different patch. Oh, now let's unplug that drip, but not the one that's really irritating you. And who knew scooting up in bed could be such a pain.

You learn to “logroll” yourself in and out of bed. At first it seems impossible it will ever work right but comes more easily faster than you would think. I am now nearing the status of world class logroller.

Looked at from a certain perspective, being a hospital patient is like returning to kindergarten. The first conversation of each day becomes, “Good morning, have you pooped today?” I never expected to have this much discussion of bowels but I think there may be an entrepreneurial opportunity in it.

Someone should do a little market research on what I'm thinking. That a week's stint in a hospital-like setting could be just what the doctor ordered for overly stressed-out masters of the universe: they do absolutely everything for you here, take care of every personal and private need you might have including, quite literally, wiping your ass.

And they do it without ever letting you feel it is inappropriate or embarrassing. It's just how it is in hospital land.

Okay, I know this is silly – just a thought I had among the buggy hallucinations but it is almost – just almost a real idea.

PancreaticCancerCenterImage

Comments

I think you've hit on an idea ripe for development. Now if you can just get some financial backers!

Yes, you have found a pot of gold--pun intended.

The care you describe sounds excellent. I was placed in an "extra" room for my 8-day emergency abdominal surgery experience--there were mops and buckets in the bathroom that had to be cleared out by my niece.

Abdominal surgery causes a disturbance of the bowels--they get dry and angry and do not work well together (political, I'm sure) for awhile. I could not be released until I had a BM after the surgery. IVs were used to replenish enzymes and whatever was lost in the operation process. I had an IV in until the very last night in hospital, and that was only removed because I insisted when the phlebotomist came in the middle of the night to wake me and redo the insertion of the needle in my arthritic thumb which was aching. I had been told I would be release the next day--so I said, no to the phelbotomist who was a little nonplussed.

We seniors as our job as mentors have to make every "opportunity" a teaching moment. More power to you Ronni.

"Good morning. Have you pooped today?" Oh, yes, I remember that obsession well. Thanks for making me laugh today. Keep up the good work of getting well.

Well, pooping IS capital! And logrolling is now one of your many talents.
Thanks for keeping us posted and keep doing better and better

Oh joy! You're onto what ails us and a viable remedy! Hang in there!

Wow! I leave off reading for one day, to drive out of town to visit my 85-year-old father, and when I come back you're all "did you poop yet?" So glad you are starting to feel better.

Welcome back, Ronnie. And let that Autumn know (again) how much we appreciated her efforts.

Now we know for sure you are feeling better...discussing pooping for all to read and respond to. Your sense of humor returns. Continue repairing and inspiring your readers and friends.

Glad you are doing better, Ronni. Kudos to your care-givers, but mainly kudos to you for your will and grit--Crabby Old Lady wins!

Pooping seems to be a universal concern in hospitals, plus waking us up at all hours for vitals, meds, blood draw, etc. When I had my hip replacement surgery in 2014, I couldn't make them understand that I had never been a daily "pooper." They finally left me alone to do my thing in my own time.

Please keep posting as you are able. Your observations are always "spot on" and we love hearing from at any time.

Gee, I feel cheated. No one said that to me since the seventies.
You just keep getting better.

So good to hear from you this morning, Ronni! What a learning opportunity for all of us via your experiences! Thank you so much. Stay strong and safe!! Prayers for quick healing coming your way!

Dear Ronni,

I am so grateful for you latest blogs and for getting to know you, even a little bit, during these last months. Your last post--post surgery--was perfect. Perfect in pitch. Perfect in your celebration of imperfection. Perfect, as you have been during this time.

Barry


It's to those questions that I've been tempted to "just say yes!" but my better judgement kept kicking in.

Glad to see you are in great spirits and healing well, Ronni. May things continue to improve quickly so that you will be home soon, with Ollie jumping on your tummy! (or maybe not)

:)

Apparently seeing bugs is common hallucination experienced by older individuals on morphine related pain medication. My father demanded that I sue the hospital he was in (he was 85) for it's lack of basic cleanliness. He'd had several operations when younger (50-60) without that unique reaction to medication.
It's also common to perceive hospital not to be a place to rest. Maybe a contributor to the current propensity to ward ever shorter stays? Get treated, get stable and go home to recuperate, perhaps followed by a home health provider.
Used to be, after a major procedure like yours, the stay would be several weeks, not 6-7 days.
Love your wry humor.

I am hanging on your every word — sage, silly, serious, and rejoicing over your post-op care and progress! I pore, too, over every comment following your and Autumn's posts, each comment a unique expression of profound love and caring. xoxo

Glad to hear your tongue-in-cheek humor. That's a good sign. Am I nuts or do I remember reading that people used to check into the hospital for a week or two when in need of a rest? That would be before the high costs insurance-wise took over. And otherwise. Healing takes time. It is work. And you are working hard. Big hugs and blessings, Susan

The care is fine but sometimes you just want to sleep. Glad you are up and writing

So wonderful to read your voice, your take on the world in which we live and breathe. I have missed hearing from you.

I join the Legion of Ronni Readers so gratefully to wish you a speedy recovery.

Judy

Ronni, they certainly did not remove your sense of humor! It's wonderful to see things from your vantage point. I feel better prepared already. Thank you for being our psychopomp!

Hospitals should offer a spa package. Could be a creative fundraiser! Think about it - you're captured - so why not have a pedicure, manicure, eyebrows threaded and a facial. Massage!!!

Hang on Ronni!

Peace and comfort to you...

xox

Sounds like you are on the mend!

I join everyone in celebration of having our Ronni back.....You know, the Ronni who so cannily chose a portrait of herself at different times of life as the leading banner of her blog.?
And I am hoping that soon the purple pancreatic cancer awareness ribbon that ends each posting can be retired. Our Ronni is more than her disease. As each message makes abundantly clear.
With love to Ronni and her tribe. What amazing individuals you are!
Ann

So glad that you are feeling well enough to write and to see the humor--as well as the grace--in hospital care. I hope that your recovery goes as smoothly as it possibly can.

So, these people and cats you saw, did you recognize any of them? If they come back, try to engage them in conversation - when there aren't prying ears, that is. Don't want them adjusting your meds accordingly...

Hospitals won't let you out till you poop or pee. I had trouble with the latter once and was finally sent home with a catheter. Then I fell asleep on the sofa and woke up feeling rather warm. It had pulled out. Still it was better to be home.

Yes, Susan. you remember correctly. Our family did not take vacations. But my mother sometimes went into the hospital just for a check up that lasted a week. I think she and the doctor both considered it a vacation.

Can't be done now. A routine gall bladder operation, for example, is in one morning and out the next.
My roommate left three days after a double mastectomy. To be fair, II don't know if she went home or to a rehab center.

So good to "hear" your voice again! And many thanks to Autumn. You hardly missed a beat on this blog thanks to her, and it was so good to know all was going well. Carry on!

Brava!!

Yay YOU! Stay as long as they want you to ... they usually know what they are doing. Ollie is doing fine (according to the OPV vine).

I've set up a meal train online so once you know if you have special restrictions, we can talk or email about things you LOVE to eat and things that better not show up. I am asking for ONE MEAL portions so you aren't stuck with too many leftovers. We have a lot of great cooks here ... and many more who can pop over to Gourmet Kitchen or St Honore or whatever suits you. I will even bring sushi when you are ready.

I will be down and out with knee replacement July 6 (for about 2-3 weeks) but can manage the meal train via computer!

See you SOON!

It's great to hear from you, Ronni!

Love your description of life inside a hospital bed.

My senior friend who just got out of the hospital talked about no sleep.

Why no sleep?

Noise. Pinging, singing, dinging of heart monitors, people in distress, doctors and nurses waking people for various reasons, food carts, doors swinging open and closed.

Snoring..

That operatic stew kept my friend bug eyed all night.

However, she gave ten on ten for the kind treatment and professionalism she experienced, in spite of the crowded emergency room.

When I went to visit her, the only chair available was the one with the hole in the seat, so what the heck, I sat on it.

There were many seniors in the emergency room.

I have big respect for everyone who works in a hospital.

Tell us about the sounds, the other patients.

XOXO

Your Montreal Fan.


Glad to read you and enjoy your humor. Looking forward to you getting home. From my own experience it is a great relief and also a little harder at first than I expected. So glad you have Autumn with you, thanks Autumn. I still "roll" out of bed, it's a lot easier on my back.

Love Heidi's suggestion, talking to your visions, who knows what you might hear. :-)

Again, it is wonderful to hear from you - and to laugh too! This experience with the health care system will leave you an expert. And given how impressed you are with the care and the attention, maybe you should write a commentary once again in favor of the ACA, which every Republican mantra describes as failing, horrible. I start to muse about you, given your experience and your fantastically sharp mind, have more and more cred as An Expert on more topics that you ever believed you would master. Personal experience of the sort you are having is not really what you prefer to be doing - but hey, why not take advantage of the setting.

[just read the July 3 New Yorker piece by Amy Davison, that is the best thing I have yet read about the Republican disaster known as TrumpCare. I recommend it, it's called "Feeling Worse" and is the first piece in the July 3 issue under "Talk of the Town."]

Anyway, yes, hold on to your humor. And get home to Ollie as soon as you can--]

And congratulations on the logrolling talent ---------

Hope never to have another hospital experience (had a few in my younger years) but realize that the odds are probably not in my favor. I liked the service but not the ambiance or the post-surgical pain.

SO glad you're continuing to mend. I had 3 back surgeries, and it took me a week and lots of "encouragement" after each one before I was able to poop. In those days (the '60s) they kept patients much longer. I was in the hospital for weeks. They weren't using the "permanent" IV yet. Those are irritating and sometimes downright painful.

Again, so glad you're doing well. . .

I remember very little from my hospital stay in 1999 when I had a colon resection due to cancer. But one vignette stays with me clear as a bell: around my second or third day, the nurse had to clean me up (basically wipe my butt) and all of a sudden it just became too much for me and I burst into tears! I felt so helpless and it was hard to have someone have to do that for me. My sense of humor had totally deserted me in that moment!

I will never forget how kindly the nurse explained to me that it was normal to feel upset about having someone do something so personal and that she was happy to do it as part of her job to help us all heal and get well. Her words helped. Sounds like you are handling this much better than I did!

Such a well written piece for someone who is "buggy." So glad you are doing well.

In the early 70s, I was a nursing student in a large hospital. There were the wards for the not-so-lucky, but the top floor was for the wealthy and powerful. Yes, they would check in for a week or two to rest. They could order liquor with their meals, and their meals were not the standard issue that the rest of the patients received. In spite of the fact that they were there to rest, many of them employed "private duty nurses" who would sit in their rooms and attend to them. They were generally elderly nurses who were very tidily dressed all in white, nursing hats atop their heads. Quite a disparity in care. Some of these patients gifted the nurses with very nice "thank you gifts" before they left. I didn't enjoy working on that floor of the hospital. But some of the nurses did.

At the same time, cataract patients were kept in the hospital for a week or more. Their eyes were patched, they weren't allowed up at all. Had to use bed pans only, and had to be fed soft foods. There was great concern that they might cough or sneeze, thereby ruining the surgery. Compare that to your own experience!

So glad you are feeling better!! Sending gentle hugs.

Since the subject of pooping is part of this post I will inject my 2 cents worth. Believe me, that question is vital because I once went home instead of to rehab and my caretakers (son and daughter) did not ask the question and I hadn't pooped for 6 days. Nothing was more painful than extreme constipation. I was puffed up in front like a balloon with much pain accompanying the hard abdomen to add to the back pain I already had.

I was unable to eat and every laxative known to the pharmacist was tried with no success. I couldn't stand the smell of food and liquid came right back up. That's when my kids knew they were unable to care for me and back to the hospital I went. I won't tell you how the doctor finally helped me poop, but it was very painful and most unpleasant. Another hospital stay was the result. So don't let constipation go on too long or you will be very sorry.

You can't begin to appreciate mother nature's plumbing system until it doesn't work right. Now poop in the toilet is a beautiful sight; somewhat like poop in the diaper of a baby. I am grateful for each successful evacuation. : - ).

Being in the hospital is not restful. Especially when people are breaking crockery in the hallways, which was my audio hallucination.

You have had major surgery, and abdominal at that. As someone who has had a number of surgeries, I must say I am very impressed with how quickly you are moving along in recovery. I'm so glad you are getting good hospital care!

You are extremely fortunate to have the care. I won't do a blog on my last experience even though I had surgery I insisted on going home the same day. I was fortunate enough I could do that.

I learned the log roll years ago, you forgot to mention the up on the elbow maneuver to sit up. LOL

Onward and upward dear lady.

Ronni, you sound like your old self already. I can't wait for your return to your
own bed and Ollie. So happy to see you are doing so well!
When I was in the hospital after my stroke I just wanted to go home
and make some pancakes. Go figure.

Would love to read some Ronni-(temporarily)-"crazy" stuff. 'Twould be a great antidote to the REAL crazy stuff. Keep on rollin'. LOVE

So glad you are seeing the humor now for that is what gets us through most of the time. Keep healing and laughing, you will be home soon.

I'm surprised she didn't ask, "Have we pooped today?" I get so annoyed with that "we." Or, "Can you turn over for me?" I perversely answer "No, but I'll turn over for me!" Oh well, it's good to get your kicks whatever way you can post-surgery. My brain was not right for a year after a big surgery. But now it's fine. Well...

3 Cheers home is in view.

Redstone and Yellowstone

Ironically, three residents on my favourite cycling street threw their toilets out yesterday.

Thursday is "big stuff" trash pickup.

It always amuses me to see a rejected toilet at the end of a driveway.

What instigated the banishing of those toilets?

One pooper was leaning over a pair of fake legs.

With feet.

o_O

Ah, yes, they certainly do keep you busy, don't they? I hope you're getting some good rest all the same, especially at night. Sounds as though you have a private room, which is so helpful. Yayyy for pooping, and, just as importantly, your humour's doing fine as well. You've got what it takes, wonderful one.

Yes Ronni, Yes! Sounds like you are healing up and I am so glad that you will stay in hospital an extra day. The default mode is to send you home too early. Use the time now to
prepare for your care at home. Is your friend Autumn still available? I'd get two or three
people to assist Autumn. In my state, Oregon we have a Respite program that allows a care giver, like Autumn to have several hours or days off. The state pays for the person to replace Autumn. You get this benefit even if you are not on Medicaid. Possibly your state has prepared to support the caregivers as well. If not this is money well spent.
You and Autumn are in my prayers for radiant health.
Best wishes,
Ellen

So glad your on your way to healing!keep up your humor! I am in the hospital visiting my sister who had a knee replacement so many people come in to check on her she can't rest !

Good to hear your genuine voice again so soon.
When I had major abdominal surgery back in '81, I soon discovered laughing hurt a lot, so I somehow learned to channel giggles into the thumping of my hand on the bed. Hey, whatever works!?
Keep getting stronger each day, may all your challenges be interesting and overcome. xo

Be happy that the staff keeps asking you if you have pooped! After my surgery went to a rehab and had a big problem. Hospital had discharged me before my stomach was acting as it should. It took much time and pain before I got going again. I still remember the pain - it was like I was giving birth!

So be thankful staff is watching you perform as you should!

Any funny stories about the food? One adventure I had was not getting a meal - called, called and complained - no meal. Got out of bed - looked down the hall and saw an unclaimed meal. That was a life saver!

Hope you are home soon. Take care and keep doing what you are doing!


Home Sweet Home - soon! Great news.

If pooping is still somewhat problematic after you get home (it was for me) I highly recommend the Squatty Potty. Google it -- it's a sort of stool to raise your feet, improving your positioning. Really, it helps.

Maybe ear plugs or noise-cancelling earphones should be standard hospital issue? Just a thought.

So glad you're coming along well!

Great to read your post today. May you poop well!

I knew that you would find your hospital stay interesting.

So happy to hear from you, Ronni, and that you are not finding the hospital stay unbearable. I bet the hospital staff is impressed when you pull out the laptop to post for all of us eager followers. I know I am! Wishing you the best for a continued speedy recovery...

I'm glad the news about your health is so upbeat. I'm waiting for your observations on hospital cuisine. Have you had a chance to enjoy... oh... maybe some lime jello?

Let us know!

This hospital preoccupation with pooping has been going on so long that I remember it from my birthing days nearly sixty years ago. I ate all the prunes my roommate spurned and managed to get out within the requisite four days. Those were better times.

Sometimes the pooping stuff is more critical than others. When I had a colectomy about 12 years ago, my stay was about two weeks---thankfully in a private room---but it could have been much longer. I was told that unless I farted, my surgeon would have to consider a return to the OR for a colostomy. The moment my fart came, the joyous accomplishment was trumpeted on the intercom to the night nurse. That fart was the opening shot for restoring my digestive function and liberating me from my hospital bed.

So eat your prunes, Ronni, and rejoice in your apparent ability to delight your nurses with your pooping accomplishments.

Ronni. You are one of my favorite bloggers. So glad your friend kept us posted. So glad you were out of bed so soon after your surgery. I once spent ten days in hospital after surgery and I can vouch for the constant interruptions. I used to think they did that so you would not get bored. My Mom had pancreatic cancer back in 1981. She was in hospital and nursing homes for two months. She did not survive. That being in my background and having diabetes, which is in my maternal line, I especially appreciate your sharing. Pancreatic cancer is something I am very cognizant of, but so far at the same age my mom was in 1980, I have had no symptoms. Hopefully. not the way I want to go. Thank you for your sharing. Appreciate your humor in this article.

How's the food?

Anybody who has problems with nudity, modesty, or body image should do an extended stay in a hospital. After spending over a month in bed in a hospital a few years ago, I can now say that there is not a doctor or nurse at Mt. Sinai in NYC (and a few in Queens) that has not seen me naked.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)