I suppose you most faithful of blog followers may have noticed I was relatively silent this last week or so. This was because on Monday of last week we entered what I will officially term Hip Hell 2013. My dad was in the final few days before his total hip replacement and he fell outside a gas station, where the attendant just stood there and refused to help him get up. From there it was a downhill spiral of bad, bad and more bad – from dealing with how he felt after the fall, to getting him into the hospital for his operation, to getting him well enough to leave the worst hospital on the planet – until finally my dad came home today.
In the last week I have learned a lot. In fact, I’ve probably learned more than in my entire time in graduate school – practical things, that you never would learn in a book or a lecture. And things about myself. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. My community really is full of assholes. I mean, you see an older man fall, you should probably help him. You never know what could have happened, and just ignoring him makes you a jerk. The number of people that ignored my dad when he tripped and fell at the gas station last Monday astounds me. I hope all of them rot in hell for being such assholes.
2. When leaving someone in pre-op to move on to their operation, with their wallet and house keys in your hand, saying something like “don’t worry, I’m going to max out your credit cards and spend all your cash” may actually – legitimately – raise their blood pressure instantly.
3. Sometimes when you tell a hospital you are allergic to a certain medication, they will still give you that medication anyway.
4. Medicare is a farse. Social workers that are assigned to assess what should and should not be covered for a patient on Medicare are even more of a farse.
5. Very few people that work in hospitals know what the shit is going on.
6. Hospitals are becoming meat factories: slice ’em, dice ’em, get ’em on the shelf and out of your hospital bed.
7. If you ever have to stay on the orthopedic floor of a hospital, expect to find some crazies. I was lucky on this note when I had my back surgery – I was only 13, so went to the children’s hospital. There were no crazies there (at least that I was aware of). When you’re an adult, you’ve got a much different set of bozos rooming with you.
8. On the orthopedic floor of the hospital for adults, it is not uncommon to hear someone screaming in the hallway at 2 o’clock in the morning that he/she is going to call the police. It often winds up being a man named Earl (wonder if it’s always the same guy?).
9. I am a Daddy’s Girl. I can’t take it when my dad is away from me for more than a couple days.
10. I am a Daddy’s Girl. My dad calls me a lot. The day of his surgery, he called me twenty-five times in the six hours after getting to his room.
11. I am a Daddy’s Girl. When confronted with the possibility that my dad might be going to an inpatient rehabilitation facility (instead of coming home), I cried for three hours. Straight.
12. I am a Daddy’s Girl. I always get my way (my dad came home straight from the hospital, and today, like I wanted).
13. When wanting to make sure a person doesn’t fall, for whatever reason, it’s as simple as strapping a regular pants-belt around their stomach so you can grab them. Works like a charm.
14. Walkers are the shit. I want one for myself. They’ve got these rad fucking baskets you can attach to them, so you never have to carry anything ever again.
15. If you are nauseous because you haven’t eaten in four or five days (nervousness and shitty hospital food), all you have to do is pork down a bag of popcorn and a package of Twizzlers and you feel like a million bucks again. Throw in a bowl of Rice Krispies and a baggie of dry Cheerios and you really feel good again.
16. They make these really cool toilet toppers for adults. As a mom, I thought they only made potty toppers for kids – you know, when they’re potty training? They have pictures of Dora or Thomas the Train on them, so your kid thinks going to the bathroom in the toilet is as exciting as watching TV. Well the adult ones don’t, but they are just as awesome – they actually raise the toilet up high enough so you barely have to get into a sitting position to use the pot.
17. Staying with a family member to help them after an operation really does feel sort of like a vacation. Even when medications and running errands for them is involved.
18. My dad walks really fast. I had forgotten this – it’s been about two or three years since he has slowed down considerably because of his hip problem. That’s how long it was prolonged, and now that he has a new hip he’s already ready to go. I like to refer to his walking pace as “rapid with a hint of rage.”
19. I am the source of my dad’s optimism. When we’re apart, he gets gloomy. But when I tell him everything’s going to work out great, he gets up, walks around, does his physical therapy, and says “fuck yeah – let’s do this.”
20. Did I mention I am a Daddy’s Girl? Yeah, big lesson on that for me this last week. I’m so happy my dad is home and I can get him back in top form. Thanks to everyone – friends, family, and bloggies – that have sent love and encouragement. Keep it coming!!