I got a good night sleep and woke up feeling great, like me. I had a yummy breakfast – swiss omelet, toast, juice – and took a walk around the hospital floor. Today was the first day I could lift my feet off the floor when I walked rather than shuffle along, head bowed, hands behind the back to steady myself and conserve energy. Then I went back to my room and got back into bed to rest.
A cleaning woman entered. Only the nurses and PCAs have helped keep my room clean – and they have all been terrific. My room is tidy and my sheets are changed every other day when I get washed up.
So the cleaning woman comes in pushing a mop that has swept other rooms of god knows what horrible medical and bodily substances and circles my bed with it. I asked her to stop but she said the floor was sticky. It was not. Then she took her gloved hands, which had just handled all my soiled linen and trash, and placed them on my bed handles and tray table that I use for food and other things all day long. YUCK!!!
I told her that I felt the room was clean enough and thanked her. THEN SHE TOOK OFF HER MASK and told me that her kids say that but it’s never true. I told her to put her mask back on. She banged around some more – never heard anyone on the floor make so much noise and I’ve been laying here for over a week – and then left.
I told my nurse that I needed to empty my colostomy bag and asked her for a cup, wipes, and a towel. She did not offer to help so I decided to tackle it on my own. I did it yesterday with assistance so I thought that maybe I could do it all on my own today. Mistake. I opened the bag and then resealed it because I had forgotten to get gloves (the stink settles in your pores – nauseating). I got the gloves but must not have resealed the bag properly because all of the contents came gushing out in a torrent. EVERYWHERE. Thank goodness I was in the bathroom. I pulled the emergency help cord and a PCA immediately came in.
I felt so bad for her. It was beyond disgusting. I tried to clean it up as best I could with the towels on the floor but she insisted I stop and she took over. She wiped it up but, obviously, the floor and shower were still filthy so she called the cleaning woman …
The cleaning woman showed up, took a quick look in the bathroom, and proclaimed “It looks fine!” Well, that’s because the PCA and I wiped everything up but I sure wouldn’t want to walk on that floor barefoot. Human waste is labeled a bio hazard in all hospital containers so, no, it was not fine. Then she said she was on break and would come back after.
In the interim, the PCA helped me wash my hair, baby wipe my body (standing on a towel on the filthy floor), change my gown/robe/socks, get me settled, and hook me back up to my heart monitor.
Then the heart monitor sounded an alarm because my heart rate was so high after I was hooked up.
When the cleaning woman returned, she started to mop my room. I reminded her that the problem was in the bathroom. She mopped it for all of about 10 seconds. I am not exaggerating. She said it was done and I said “Are you sure?” Then she told me to check on her work if I wanted to (which I did not) and then said she had used disinfectant. I said OK. She left.
Next thing I know she is in the hallway complaining to the lovely PCA about me and doing it loudly. Are you kidding me? I’m recovering from surgery. I don’t need this. I unhooked myself from my heart monitor, hoisted myself out of bed, and in literally breathless indignation (because I couldn’t breathe) went into the hallway and confronted her. I was so breathless even she started to look nervous. The PCA brought me back into my room. Then I heard the cleaning woman make one last remark.
What is wrong with people?
THEN my nurse came in followed by my oncological team. Apparently, my heart rate was off the charts and washing up could not account for the increased rate. So they gave me an EKG and more blood tests. I am waiting for those results now.
THEN it was Noon. Yes, Noon. Only Noon.
I had a turkey burger (yum, yum), got my sheets changed, and here I lie in transient splendor. Time for my medicine … talk to you later …
I had a second lunch: turkey sandwich, half with cranberry sauce, half with mustard/mayo. Yum, yum.
This afternoon, I felt the need to go to the bathroom. I panicked. I had been told that I would never go to the bathroom again – everything would go into the colostomy bag – and here I was “going.” My wonderful PCA rushed in and a nurse I had earlier in the week came to my rescue. She told me not to worry and got a physician’s assistant to talk to me. The PA told me that it was normal to “go” (residual) a few days after surgery for that part of the colon not diverted to the colostomy bag and that it would likely be the last time (would have been nice if the surgery team had told me any of that). She also told me that my labs looked great.
It was sad in its own strange way, this last time. But other things have come to an end, those things sad too, my period for example, but life, the most important thing, continues.
I ate dinner and now I’m going to order apple pie.
And then I will say goodnight!