Friday, April 16, 2010

Mid-shift report

I'm feeling pretty smug about my level of functionality. Advice from staff was that anything resembling laptops, communication or work would be right out on the first day, barely possible on the second, and ok on the third. I've been online since about +16 hours. Yay for being young?

With that said, the first 12 hours were pretty rough. The major problems boil down to:
  1. very tight dressing around face; can't close mouth completely, cheeks pressed tight against teeth
  2. nose packed with stuffing, so can only breath through mouth
  3. very dry mouth as a consequence of (2)
  4. under-jaw muscles traumatized (partly controlling tongue)
  5. thick, bloody mucus (post-nasal drip?)
  6. lips that didn't meet properly - upper lip significantly everted, and trying to close them causes pain against bandages
  7. abraded throat from intubation
What this amounts to is that I started out with a huge amount of sticky goop clinging to my mouth that I just couldn't shift. When I lay back, it would slowly drift downwards, until it'd start occluding my airway, causing coughing and wheezing (and pain). It was very difficult to rinse, since I couldn't close my lips around a glass, and couldn't close them at all to keep fluid inside. Whatever did get inside, I couldn't wash around very well since cheeks were too close and moving tongue hurt too much.

It was pretty nightmarish - I didn't sleep much for fear of waking up in a violent coughing spasm at the creeping bloody mucus of doom tried to strangle me.

At about the 10 hour mark I worked out how to drink (bandages relaxed and/or lips swelled/shrank), and life got enormously better... for my mouth. There were some amazing quantities of gunk that I spat out once they liquified. Then I discovered just how much fun it is trying to pee through a recently catheterized urethra. That took another few hours to master.

But at this point, I'm delighted to report that I've largely mastered the fluid cycle. And I'm a big fan of Vicodin.

In other random news, there's several other Zukowski patients staying here, none of whom I've made any attempt to socialize with. One is a tall, slender, imposing looking lass with a strikingly alien-looking face, whom I'm now somewhat looking forward to meeting, given that she and her friend (who is bandaged presumably rather like me), are from London and probably stuck here for an extra few days due to Iceland's geological indigestion.

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