Saturday, December 09, 2006

It’s Easy to Be Zen When You’re Clueless

Had a wee bit of a medical drama this AM when I was almost admitted to the hospital. I’d gone for a routine transfusion, wasn’t feeling great but figured who would be at 7am in 20 degree weather? Turns out my temperature was 101, which is no big deal necessarily to the average person but is a whole lot of deal to those of us lacking in the white cell department.

My first sign that something was wrong was the staff member’s quizzical look at me, then back to the readout saying 38.7, then back at me, then back to the readout. He asked, “are you feeling okay?” I said, “As good as anyone is at 7am, I suppose…” He went, got the nurse, who got the tech, who got my blood cultured, who got my chest x-rayed, who got me to pee in a cup.

First the x-ray. They had already put the IV in my arm so I only had real use of one hand. Now, as much of a party girl as some of you may give me credit for, I never did master the ancient art of one-handed bra removal. I did ace the "take bra off without removing shirt by unhooking and pulling through a sleeve" maneuver. But I never did spend the time I should have on the one-handed bra thing, and today I paid the price. I never thought I'd ever hear myself say, "Can you take my bra off for me?" without, of course, including the second part of the sentence, "because I don't want to spill my gin and tonic, dahling." So there I was in the radiology department with the poor (thank you god, female) x-ray tech trying to jimmy my bra off under my fitted shirt while not pulling my IV out. Double embarrassment that I was wearing my B-team bra, being that I woke up and rolled out of the house at 6am on a Saturday. Who's gonna see my skivvies, I derisively asked myself as I made the conscious decision to not root around in the dark for the appropriate foundation undergarments.

Now onto the urine. I’m not sure if you’ve ever had the pleasure of discussing your urine with a total stranger, but let me share how my conversation went. Keep in mind that the tech I was talking with looks like Forrest Whitaker and talks like Forrest Gump. A really lovely man who does really excellent work and who really cares about his patients. But not necessarily my first choice as a member of “E's Urine Roundtable.”

You haven't lived till a large man has told you to be sure to "wipe from front to back with the towelette inside this bag." So I complied. I then brought out the urine cup and he said, “Hmm..that looks very cloudy.” Me: “Oh. Is that bad?” Forrest: "Not necessarily. But it’s not necessarily good either.” Me: “Oh. Okay.” Forrest: “My momma always told me that life is like a plastic cup of urine…”

I’m lying about that last part.

Anyway, I’m home now, being that my temp came down by 472 Kelvin. But not before both Forrest and the nurse had asked me why I was so calm when they told me that my temperature was considered very dangerous and that I’d need to be admitted stat. I said something like, “Well, I figure what happens happens, so I just do what I’m told and worry about it later.” But the real truth is less Tibetan monk and more American idiot:

I don’t know the conversion from Celsius to Fahrenheit, so 38.7 degrees celsius meant as much to me as 313 Kelvin or 500 Rankine. They could have told me that my urine itself was twelve trillion centigrade and I would have given a blank stare and said, "Oh. Okay. Is that because I didn't wipe right?"


Joe Tornatore said...

sounds like you are wiped out..from front to back. seriously, prayers all around.

Anonymous said...

Thus exemplifying the cliche: Ignorance is bliss. Feel better soon!