I pushed that little dose button as many times as I was allowed to and finally the pain was tolerable. Exhaustion rose up all around me and I bobbed about like a tiny boat in the midst of an ocean. I gave myself over to sleep at 10:30 p.m., pain in the distance, and it was glorious.
When I woke with a gasp, it was in the arms of two nurses who were asking if I knew where I was, and I did but I was having a hard time telling them that. I sat and thought hard about my words and told them I was in the hospital, but when they started asking tougher questions, I sat there and thought carefully about my words. I know…I would say, but I can’t think of the how to describe…it’s just, I’m still dreaming and when I try to think about how to make the answer I can’t get the right thing to say because I am still dreaming so I can only think of the words for the things happening in my dreams. I thought hard and tried to answer their questions but said things like, the golden cat is under the bed. So instead they just asked me yes or no questions and I nodded or shook my head as appropriate.
I had, they think, a reaction between my sleeping pills (a rather high dose) and the dilaudid. They took my pain pump right away and sat me straight up in the bed and put oxygen on. They explained everything, though I had to get up later and walk to the nurse station and ask them to tell me again because I couldn’t quite remember the details.
I was sleeping soundly but was making raspy noises when I inhaled. Eileen, my roommate, was concerned about the raspy noises that occasionally came from me, so she got out of bed (our call bells weren’t working, the connection’d come loose) and walked down the hall to the nurses. I’m worried about Alicia, she told them. I hate to wake her up, she’s sleeping so soundly, but her breathing sounds a bit odd. Two nurses got up and walked quickly down the hall.
I was lying on my side in exactly the position I’d fallen asleep in, lying on my right side with one hand rested under the pillow I brought from home — a gift from Erella during my last hospital stay. And sure enough, a few times a minute, I noisily pulled air in my lungs.
The nurses checked my blood oxygen saturation levels and my heart rate. Both were low. Four inhalations a minute. Forty-six beats a minute. They tried to rouse me. I wouldn’t. For 10 minutes they spoke to me and shook me gently. It wasn’t until they were lifting me to move me on to my back that I awoke.
Once I was awake, my breaths increased, as did my heartrate. I had to stay seated upright and was told to try not to fall asleep, or at least not too soon after being wakened. I was so tired and in so much pain — I hadn’t pushed the pain pump since 10 p.m. because I was sleeping so heavily, and they didn’t want me to have much more until most of the sleeping aid had worn off. This was decided especially so after I fell asleep sitting up and for the second time that evening, slipped back to the raspy (though not nearly as decreased) breathing.
It was a nightmare. I couldn’t read or type well, though I tried to keep up a gchat with Shea in Tazmania to help me stay awake. At one point, I wanted to sleep, just for 15 minutes. So I told Shea I would minimize the chat window and turn up the volume and she was to chat at me until I awoke. She did, but in those 15 minutes, I slept so well that it took 10 minutes of her blorping at me before I woke up. She was ready to look up the number of PMH and ask someone to check on me.
I didn’t get much sleep and my pain went up and up and up until it was back where it was as though I was unmedicated. And I nearly was. What amount I was allowed to have was so small it was like trying to stay dry in a hurricane with only an umbrella. Even though everyone agreed, once the panic subsided, that it was most likely the sleeping pills that were culprit (the dilaudid would not have done that on its own), I had to have a new pump ordered and for various reasons, I didn’t get it until almost 3 p.m.
Today was agonizing.
But then I was able to nap some and I showered and I finally got some pain medication. I am quite comfortable right now, even though a couple new sores seem to be appearing. My goal is to have my pain controlled continuously for 24 hours. I can do that. Maybe even for the next 24!
I will leave you with a note I wrote myself last night. Whenever I closed my eyes, even for a moment, I started dreaming. I kept trying to lift up a bottle of beer or a glass of something from in front of me, and I would wake up grasping at something on the top of my closed computer. But this was my favourite field note from last night:
‘after this ru n we have to stay free we have to stay young’ i closed my eyes and jessie was takjing and we had somehow bruught yp muskoka mosqyuitoes and her answer was that song. i have conversations with people when clode my eyes
I have no idea what song I thought I was quoting up there. I don’t think it’s a real one, but I was convinced it was when I wrote that last night.