Nurses make all the difference and a tangent on America

We’re obviously still in the hospital. We’ve been through a lot of nurses since we’ve been here, day nurses, night nurses, nurses’ assistants… the doctors pretty much stay the same, but the nurses change almost every day. We had a great nurse for two days in a row, Jan. She was a very sweet, mothering type, which promptly sent me over the edge. I’m fine as long as no one is acting concerned about me, but the minute they start asking me how I’m doing I completely lose my shit. There was some crying. Plus, we had an unpleasant visit in the Eye Center, yesterday, that left us a bit deflated. The Husband’s been having problems with his eyes, his vision is blurry, foggy, his eyes feel grainy, and it worsens as the day progresses. Obviously this has all gotten worse since we got here due to lack of sleep, the dry hospital air, and some anxiety. The eye doctor wasn’t a very nice person. Which is fine, because, in my opinion doctors need to be good at being doctors and their personality is secondary to that. Of course, in an ideal world, all doctors would be great at their job and have fantastic bedside manner, but I’m not an idealist. But the husband got very anxious, and a bit depressed, and when that happens it becomes really hard to get him out of his downward spiral. Jan helped with that a lot.

Nurses have a thankless job, in my opinion. They do a lot of cleaning up after patients, of measuring disgusting bodily fluids, of coddling people who are ill, and cranky, and unhappy. They have a lot of paperwork, they have to always be attentive cause a mistake could be fatal, and no one really thanks them for it. When people get better they reference the doctor, oh, so and so doctor was amazing, he saved my life… but what about the nurses? And it’s harder to establish a relationship with them cause their shifts are all over the place. Generally, you see the same doctor or two every day, so it’s easier with them, nurses come and go.

We have another great nurse today, John. The first thing he did this morning at the beginning of his shift was come in and say that he was Italian too, by his great grandfather or something like that. He immediately tried to establish a connection. And I guess it worked cause both the husband and I like him quite a bit. Of course, it made us laugh because he’s about as Italian as my knock off, made in China, Prada, but he’s a great guy, he made a point of trying to make us comfortable.

Also, and I’m off on a tangent here, I love that in America everyone (or rather, many people) have a sense of their roots. I’m Italian, I’m Irish, I’m Chinese, you hear from these people who have been living here for generations, who’ve never set foot in their countries of “origin”, who have none of the original traditions left other than what has evolved within their own families to give them a sense of who they were. This is just so quintessentially American to me. An Italian would look at this guy and be like dude, you’re so not Italian man, you’re the typical American (which, incidentally, is what the husband and I were doing in our bitchy heads this morning), but he still has a sense of belonging to a culture that he only knows second, or rather, third and fourth hand. And I imagine that this connection that he feels to his roots is probably what his great-grandfather would have wanted to preserve when he took that difficult and lonely boat ride across the Atlantic to an unknown place in search of a better and more optimistic future.

So the nurses here, they are great, and I just thought it needed to be said.

How am I feeling, facebook? You really want to know?

I’ve been on Facebook for years now, can’t even really remember how many. I’ve never gone off it, I have no strong feelings about it either way. I don’t feel like it’s invading my privacy, or that it’s covering a broader, hidden, conspiracy to deprive me of my civil rights. I just enjoy seeing what my friends and acquaintances are up to, being nosy about their lives. Plus it’s a fast and effective way to communicate what’s going on with me. I used to like the original third-person prompt for the status update “Bonny is….” it was kind of fun talking about myself impersonally and it made for some hilarious reading what with everyone screwing up their personal pronouns (myself included). Lately though, Facebook has started getting a little too touchy feely for my taste, a little too new agey bullshit…. The prompts now are “How are you feeling, Bonny?”, “How are you doing, Bonny?” “What’s going on…:”.

How am I feeling, Facebook? Do you really want to know? Cause that’s going to make for some pretty disconcerting status updates.

But since you ask, I’m pretty fucking tired, Facebook. The Husband is still in the hospital, we’re getting some more tests done, we’re not really sure what’s wrong with him. My kids, they’re pretty upset. The day before yesterday I left the Husband in the late afternoon, so I could spend some time with the kids, and the Boy had a massive meltdown. “Why is my daddy sick, no one else’s daddy is sick”, that broke my heart. I’m also pretty pissed off at the universe right now, Facebook. And yes, I know, things could be worse, they could be harder, we are pretty lucky, but I’m going to be pissed for just a little while longer ok? I’m going to throw a small, internal, tantrum, and shake my fist at fate, because I am sick and fucking tired of this. I’m tired of having to manage everyone, the kids, my mom, the Husband, his mom… I’m tired of having to be apparently calm and level-headed, of making decisions, of reassuring people, I’m tired of running around from hospital to home, and home to hospital, eating a bite here, taking a quick shower there, dispensing hugs and kisses, playing, entertaining, feeding, hand-holding and coddling, constantly in my practical, comfortable, t-shirt and yoga pants, so I can sleep in my clothes and not look like a complete fucking mess all the time.

 

I want to be able to relax, for just five minutes, I don’t want to worry about the husband, or the kids, or the state of the world economy, for five freaking minutes. That’s my goal this year, five minutes of just absolute peace and contentment.

And also, I need half an hour to wash and dry my hair. How’s that for a status update, Facebook?

Swimming upstream and other things

Sometimes things don’t go as we would have liked. I feel like that is a lesson life is determined to teach me over and over again. This Houston vacation we are on… not so much of a vacation. We arrived day late, I got sick on Christmas day, the Girl got a little sick, I was in bed for a week, the Husband managed the kids. New Year’s it looked like we were all getting better, and then I got sick again, the Husband started feeling unwell, with a completely unrelated problem, I got better (ish), he got sicker, he spent a week in bed, finally I had to take him to the hospital. We are now at MD Anderson Cancer Center, trying to figure out if he has a virus, if he’s feeling ill because of one of the many consequences of the transplant, if we’re going home as planned on Wednesday (if he can even fly)…

The kids, they are being wonderful, my friends here are being amazing at keeping them entertained, my mother is really doing everything she can to help out… but a vacation it is not.

The Husband jokes that now we’ve gotten first hand experience of the American health industry, which in Europe is often viewed with a certain degree of curiosity and awe, but that’s fodder for another post. Personally, I would’ve done without this insight, but at least he’s staying positive.

I, on the other hand, am a little deflated, I always have such high hopes for my time at home. But, I don’t want to be a total sourpuss, not at the beginning of a new year. There are lessons to be learned in this experience. We can’t control everything or anything really, we can’t count on things going the way we want. I’m not being negative, I’m just trying to keep things in perspective. Our expectations often get the best of us, our ideals, our wishes, wishes that we invest so much in that we start thinking of them as facts, as law, but things don’t always go as we would like and there is no point trying to swim upstream sometimes. The biggest lesson I need to learn this year, I think, is to relax and go with the flow, which for a neurotic control freak is a very hard lesson indeed. But, stranger things have happened, so, I assume, there’s hope for me yet.

For now, send us happy, positive, upbeat thoughts, if you can, and soon enough we’ll all be heading home. Wherever the hell that is!