Ramblings on healthcare, medical education, and life with a spinal cord injury
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Waiting for Godot, Part 1

Waiting.  Waiting.  Waiting.  I am waiting to leave.  My tentative departure date from Mount Sinai was supposed to be this past Tuesday, May 20th.  Well, my first discharge date was back in March, but that’s a whole other story.  But the first realistic one was this past Tuesday. It’s Thursday night and I’m still here waiting to leave, unsure whether or not I’ll be home in time for the Memorial Day weekend.  But being on the cusp of my departure has given me pause to think all about my stay here, how far I’ve come and how deeply this experience has impacted me.

This week began with the promise of returning home to my new apartment early in the week.  A firm departure date of Tuesday had been agreed upon by all concerned.  Then Tuesday came, and some complications arose that pushed it to Wednesday.  Tuesday night, I had a mild fever – 38.0°C (about 100.4°F) that was easily quashed by some Tylenol.  Ironically enough, I had just been thinking on Monday how long it had been since the times when I was spiking fevers night after night, or when my recurring fevers kept me from being discharged by Lutheran.  That’ll teach me to focus solely on positive visualization.

Then Wednesday arrived, and a few more paperwork complications looked to push it to Thursday.  Wednesday night, I again presented with a temperature of 38.0°C that was again easily addressed by two Tylenol.  When I awoke this morning, my nurse had me sign my discharge form and I was excited to finally be heading home.  Dr. Stein rounded, and said he thought it would be best if I stay until the fevers had subsided for good.  It’s likely benign, but why risk it just before a long weekend during which it may be difficult to get help?  Hard to argue with the logic, although I’m really getting antsy to get out of here.

So here I sit, waiting.  The past week has just felt as though I’ve been trying to pass the time outside therapy as rapidly as possible, so that I can be home.  It feels almost like those days at the end of the school year in elementary school.  You don’t have finals, and things like Field Day just serve to bring the relief of summer that much more quickly.

I’ve been here quite a while.  Nearly four months since the injury, and three-and-a-half months since arriving at Sinai.   Just as a precaution to eliminate any concern relating to past events, Dr. Stein sent me for some imaging (ultrasound and x-ray) on the right leg again.  It brought me full circle to when I had these same procedures done just after being hospitalized.

I remember the first ultrasound of the legs after the IVC filter implantation, just after the accident.  While waiting on the gurney (I wasn’t transferred from one bed to another at that point, they would just grab my bed and go) in the hallway, the drainage bag from the Foley I was still wearing at that point started to overflow. Having the imaging department call my nurse over because I was effectively peeing all over the hallway was pretty embarassing, to say the least.  During that imaging and a subsequent one at Sinai, I fell asleep for the majority of the procedure.  This time I was wide awake.

I’ve had a number of x-rays done since arriving.  This time, I wondered if I would have a particular tech I’d had twice before: once when I just got here, and again about a month ago before my legs started moving again.  Initially, the techs had to transfer me from the gurney on to the x-ray bed.  It took two people and was very nerve-wracking for me since I had no control over where they moved me.  All I could do was hope they didn’t overshoot and throw me over.  I was fine.  The second time I saw the same tech, I was still wearing a collar but was able to transfer myself from gurney to table.  He commented on how much better and stronger I looked.  Now I easily transfer myself, and I sat watching my toes wiggle and my legs move around.  It’s amazing how far things have come.

Next up, thoughts about how this whole experience has impacted me.

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