- We left the Manor on time for an 11:30 appointment to have my port flushed (still a questionable sounding activity, in my opinion... I hear someone hiding in an alley, wrapped in a trench coat, hissing, "Wanna get yer port flushed, Lady?");
- Traversing the entire length and most of the width of the hospital campus, we scored a quick, if over-priced, spicy chicken sandwich which we ate in record time under the atrium sky, all whilst recounting amusing anecdotes, Steve Jobs' last words, and providing reconnaissance for one very confused old woman in search of her wayward nephew ("He's my ride!");
- We arrived for the second appointment early, an integral part of the plot to make the office manager feel guilty, and therefore I was seen at 1:10 rather than 1:30;
- After some minor difficulties remembering where we parked Ruby, the Honda CR-V, we loaded the wheelchair and zipped down the road about half a mile, pulled into some primo gimp parking, then made nice with Paindood's Evil PA, who was, as anticipated, her usual bitch self;
- I grabbed the Rx, Fred called for the elevator, and we finessed the pharmacy's minefield such that I owed nothing for meds (and scored free parking, too!).
|image from microscopesblog.com|
I must add that she's the best nurse I've ever encountered, that I respect her immensely, and even more appreciate the many ways she helps me -- over the phone, in person, and with an awesome and unerring eye for veins-that-will-give-blood. For all I know, she had scrubbed that counter top just prior to my arrival such that it harbored not a single microbe.
Oops. Almost forgot. Something did happen that I am working hard to forget but probably should work to understand: Before we acquiesced to the sexiness of the spicy chicken sandwiches and the hard benches under the hospital atrium sky, we went to the cafeteria. It was my suggestion, even, born of a fond recollection of their fine frozen yogurt. Surrounded by medicos in uniform, covered in badges and stethoscopes, with pen lights and bandage scissors peeking out of huge utilitarian pockets... I kinda freaked out.
First, it was incredibly loud and busy. Remember that I stay in the protective confines of the Haddock family's ancestral home, Marlinspike Hall, except for these exciting blitzkrieg-type forays into the Metro Lone Alp area in central Tête de Hergé.
Remember, also, that this is the hospital where the Sentinel Event (that pretty much ended life as I knew it) occured back in May, 2002. Yes, it does seem ridiculous to say a Sentinel Event of such magnitude "occured." I never thought I'd lend it a passive voice. Progress? Regression? Denial? Basic bad grammar?
When I dress Fred in the adjective "heroic," this is what I mean: He was ahead of me in the cafeteria, carrying two of everything without being asked, when I veered my chair to the one vacant area (by the salad bar, of course). He must have sensed my distress. That, or he heard the clunka-clunka of my defective left front wheel stray from his plotted course. In just a couple of short, well-constructed sentences, he diagnosed my malaise and recommended an immediate exit -- which, I am convinced, saved both the day and my sanity.
I've long suspected that I have PTSD, as embarrassing as that is, given that what I went through is precisely nothing in comparison to the terrors behind the disorder in military and rescue personnel, in people who have been traumatized by real violence. It was much worse early on -- back in the summer of 2002, I would relive the fall in the hospital ICU every time Erin, my physical therapist, tried to help me stand up beside the hospital bed we had to rent. I was left with a huge fear of standing -- exactly what I had been trying to do when I went down in May. Then, until my courage and physical strength was reestablished, I lived with unexpected fears, too -- of fire, of being trapped, of being alone. It was truly ridiculous. Let us say that to declare Fred heroic will never be an overstatement, so long as the memory of those awful days persists.
Now my "episodes" are restricted to actual visits to that hospital, seeing one of the guilty doctors or nurses, although sometimes just a memory or a dream can do it.
What must have really primed the pump? Being hospitalized there last month. Talk about rebirth of terror, rebroadcast of the ridiculous before, during, and after of the Sentinel Event... But explain to me how that brief visit to the cafeteria eclipsed even the admission as a PTSD trigger?
Therapy? I don't need no stinking therapy... Besides, we'd have to travel outside the confines of Tête de Hergé, as there are no mental health disorders in the native population here. Well, none they'll admit to, you know? There is a huge substance abuse problem, in my opinion, but having the new treatment center located in our barn may influence my conclusions. Most of the residents continue to be carnies and circus folk from beyond these borders.
Anyway, just this brief exposition has helped me put things back into a more proper perspective. So thanks for allowing me, O Interwebs, to jettison that mental debris...