Wednesday Misery
This is actually from Monday before when Dr. Beaumont
pulled that fluid out of my head with syringes. (before my second surgery)

After the surgery on Tuesday I was in the ICU.  Things were progressing pretty well, there, so they moved me on Wednesday (morning?) to the otherside of the 10th floor which is a “step-down” unit.  I’m still hooked up to the telemetry monitor (wireless), but also a room monitor and they still keep a closer eye on us there, but its a shared room with doors, like the rest of the hospital.
When I got to the new room, I had a seemingly very nice and quiet roommate.  Also, I was feeling pretty good…but then the migraines started.  Oh Lord, the migraines!  Here I was in a room with machines beeping and squawking every 5 minutes (one of my monitors was clearly not working right).  In a room with doctors, nurses, and techs barging in and out, not just to care for me, but also for my roommate.  It was not really anyone’s fault, but I was hurting, not just because of the brutal migraines that had gripped me, but because of the cacophony noise, light and motion that seemed unending.
They told us they could get us a private room at first, so there was this hope keeping me sane and then someone else got put in that room and they said I was out-of-luck.
Up until now had endured many painful procedures and had gone through quite a lot, I think most of you can agree, but these migraines were more than I could handle and they had no plan to help me find comfort or even improvement.  Finally I just lost it.  Looking back I feel so bad for the nurses because they were doing all they could do, but  I was finally able to talk to the right people and next thing you know I was in a private room with the lights off!
Not sure what made it happen, probably a combination of everything we were doing:
  • the nurses and I working together on figuring out a new schedule for pain meds
  • the suggestion of Toradol by my Nurse Practitioner
  • and we can’t downplay the role of that new quiet single room
…but I found relief!
Once I was in that single room (and that only happened after I had a little… no…  A  BIG meltdown), I was almost embarrassed that I started feeling so much better.  But my wife reminds me that if I hadn’t gotten a quiet space I might never have started feeling better and I deserved a space that helped me to heal, not a space that made me hurt worse!  (I think she’s right).
Wednesday was terrible.  We seemed to not be managing any of the pain and I never had pain of less than a 9 (maybe an 8 at the least) all day.  Most of that day my pain was excruciating.  I make a big deal out of this only because that night was so amazing.
Once we found the right drug schedule; once we found a new drug to start; once I found a place where we could manage noise and light and cut down the traffic…the pain began to just disappear.  As bad as I had felt all day, within an hour of being in that quiet  room I was a different person.  I pulled my head out from under the blanket.  I began to talk and began, eventually, to smile again.  Wednesday evening I was suddenly able to function a little bit again.  I owe it all to the nurses and administration at Barnes-Jewish for working so diligently to find me a space even though they were out of private rooms, and even though I was yelling and crying at them.  I think I would still be suffering in the hospital (instead of recuperating at home) had they not been able to work that miracle!

Nurse Bob.

If you ask my mother about my care in the hospital her eyes still roll a little and she’ll probably say, “I didn’t like that ICU Nurse, Bob.”  If you know my mother, you’ll know that she is a very agreeable woman and you must assume that something terrible happened in order for her to not like Bob.

Well, what happened is that she and the rest of my family (with the exception of my wife) got kicked out of my ICU room.  Her ‘little boy’ was in ICU and she got kicked out by a nurse.  That was all my mother needed to instantly not like Bob.  You might ask, “What happened for them to get kicked out?!?”  “Were there too many people in the room?” No, they just came in two at a time.  “Did your father act inappropriately?”  Surprisingly, no.  “Was your mother too emotional?” nope.   …well, you get the point.  They did nothing wrong.  It was me.  I got them kicked out.  It’s amazing that even in a drugged up, post-op stupor I could cause my family trouble.
You see, I started running the room.  My type A personality kicked in and I was instructing everyone about what to do.  “Fluff my pillow,” “no, move that pillow,” “move to this side,” “get me ice chips.”  I could barely speak, but I could still direct, apparently!  The way my wife describes it, I must have been the worst patient ever!  EVER.  Nurse Bob was actually awesome.  He went above and beyond and looked at my needs.  He knew that I needed to rest and realized that I simply wouldn’t until he cleared out my family, so he made sure it happened.
I was thinking that some of us tend to do this, not just with a hospital room, but people like me tend to do this with our lives.  People like me (you know who you are, don’t duck away from that computer screen) think that we can control things, but sometimes trying to control the things around us…sometimes trying to bring order, actually gets in the way of our own happiness and gets in the way of what we really need.
This probably sounds a little cliché, but I think God is, in this way, like Bob.  God has a way of looking at us from a different angle and trying to provide what we need, so that we can be healed or fulfilled. You getting me?
We can get so busy trying to get what we want, that we totally miss what we need.  I think many people put careers, money and prominence before the things that really matter.  I remember the stress of picking a major as I went off to college.  I was trying to manage my life and trying to prepare for: being married, having 1 1/2 kids, a dog, and a white picket fence.  Oh, and I can’t forget that I wanted to be very well paid.  What I didn’t realize is that I was making a mess out of my life those first couple years of college.  I needed someone to clear the room and help me relax so that destiny would find me.
Finally the room got cleared and I realized that I was being called to ministry.  It meant sacrifice, it meant letting go of some control (I’m still learning that part), but it also meant fulfillment and happiness.
Take a look at your own life.  Are you trying to control it or are you living it?  Are you focused on what you want, or will you let go and be called by God to what you need?