Fleeing Hell With Consequences

Home truly is where the heart is. With a good hubby to take care of you and see to your every need, life had finally settled down and I could get on with the healing process.

With the use of the walker Gail leant to us, life seemed to become a breeze. At first, Nat and I struggled with getting me from my recliner to my bed, from my bed to the bathroom, as I was still dead weight, with just enough strength to push myself about an inch off of any surface. My balance was nowhere to be seen or felt and it was going to take a bit of strengthening to get further along where I could help myself without Nat’s assistance.

As the days went along, and the Thrush disappearing, I was able to eat small portions of Nat’s delicious home cooked meals. I had Trout or Haddock with boiled potatoes, a fried egg with one or two french fries, toast and jam in the morning and whatever else he could find that I would eat. Then one day, it became quite easy, as I managed to keep my dentures in for the full day and was finally able to eat food with a lot more ease. It felt so good to be able to swallow food and enjoy it. Suddenly, I was eating food with more substance like breaded chicken, lasagne or pasta, along with the Trout and Haddock and suddenly enjoying food again. Life was somehow getting a little better. My appetite was coming back. The hunger pangs I felt were real and now able to be fulfilled.

It didn’t take me long to realize I didn’t want to stop eating. I was now looking for anything that I could munch on – Honey Graham Crackers, Ritz Crackers, May Wests, and anything else we had in the house. Nat wasn’t too thrilled to go out and pick up a lot of junk food for me, as he had every intention of keeping me healthy as I tried to gain some weight and strength back into this aging body.

It was only a couple of weeks after arriving home that I could feel some improvement in my legs. I was at least now able to lift myself out of the recliner and grab onto the walker’s handles. I was at least relieving Nat of his heavy-lifing duties and I felt much better about that. There were a couple of times I got a little cocky and pushed things a bit far where I fell on my ass, banged my head and got into a situation where Nat had to lift me up off of the floor and back to the walker. I also got a little dizzy one morning and as I turned to go around the footboard of the bed, my head and shoulders went right while my ass wanted to go left. With my head now heavier than my ass, down I went just missing the footboard but still falling on my ass and banging the old noggin again. His looks said it all – take your time and don’t get ahead of yourself!!

Getting out of bed in the morning was also becoming easier, as I could grab onto the bed rail and lifted myself up to a sitting position where Nat could assist me a little with getting to my walker. I continued to perch myself in the recliner on a daily basis – not much else I could do – and my routine became easier as the days wore on.

It’s now been over three weeks and I’m able to help myself get up on my feet, grab the walker for a little support in walking, and also now able to take a couple of steps without the walker. Small steps now seem to mean the world to me. I’m beginning to gain back a bit of my independence even if Nat’s baby blue eyes are on me all the time.

I can tell I’m getting anxious now to get up and go, and despite the fact I was able to bake Nat’s raisin loaf one day, I want to get on to more baking to replenish the freezer with cookies, bread and scones for hubby’s enjoyment. He deserves whatever good things in life I can give him. He’s been so patient and strong in lifting me up, laying me down and getting me to wherever I’ve wanted to go. His mind races on a daily basis, even at night, which I can’t stop, but I can give him all my love in return for everything he’s done for me. I’ve never had such personal attention in my whole single life and for this I’m eternally grateful.

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Climbing Back From Hell

Not really sure what I’ve done, but I’m counting my blessings for whatever has happened.

With the Thrush now gone and I’ve finally found a way to keep the new dentures in, I’ve had a lot of success with eating, and could not be more thrilled. It began one morning when I could keep the dentures in for a short period of time, Nat made some toast, cutting off the hard crusts, spread on some Strawberry jam, and I was able to eat the bread portion without much trouble. When lunch time came along Nat made me a delicious salmon sandwich, again with some crust cut off, and I began to get very encouraged. It was now becoming very apparent to me how hungry I was.

With each day, I kept experimenting with the dentures, trying variations of adhesives while Nat continued making delicious items that were friendly to my picky pallet. Each day just kept getting better and as of today I’m sitting at the dinner table enjoying our evening meal with Nat, instead of on a tray in the living room.

My legs have slowly gained strength as I continue to walk with the aid of a walker and doing some physiotherapy as well.

Now that I’m able to keep my dentures in for the day, and with the advice of the last Dietician to just eat anything to get your appetite back, I may have opened a box I won’t be able to close. I’ve finished off several packs of Necco Waffers (you have to order online and I’m addicted to), a box of Ritz Crackers, Potato Chips, Chinese food, pizza, lunches and dinners Nat whips up at my request or will buy for me, but, strangely enough, not Chocolate!!!

I know, go figure!!!! There’s no rhyme nor reason, but it began while in hospital when Nat and my sisters would bring in chocolate goodies. I wasn’t enjoying that sweet treat any more so I’m on other sugar kicks. I’m going to keep the special box of Nigh’s Chocolates for when I’m really up and running. Surely to God, I won’t reject those??

Hell Has No End

After arriving home from my first stay at the hospital for a day or two I was feeling a little better. I then had a follow-up with the Internist and as the Thrush was still very present he doubled the dose to speed up this whole process. He also explained where they would have to juggle with one anti-rejection drug that was conflicting with the Thrush medication. More pill juggling but hopefully not for long.

A few days after that appointment, I was still struggling to eat anything that even looked like food and as a consequence was just getting worse. I forced a few morsels down and it soon came to a shouting match with Nat repeatedly telling me to eat. He was totally out of his mind with worry and I, for some unforeseen reason, really had no feelings about the whole matter. My mind, body and spirit had given up. I didn’t give a damn. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to be left alone. I wanted no one around me. I never gave one thought to my consequences despite everyone around me yelling and screaming. I was giving up.

The day finally arrived as I woke up one morning and told Nat I had to go to hospital. He totally agreed and we were off again.

We arrived at The General and was admitted without haste. They gave me a temporary bed in the C Ward on the first floor and was soon having blood work, blood pressure, etc.. done every hour on the hour. My left arm was now bruising up. More questions, more explanations and more answers. I was getting tired of repeating this whole process. Soon enough they had a bed for me on the third floor where I was permanently placed for the duration of my stay.

I was lucky in getting a single room where I could be left in somewhat peace and quiet, and the nurses and doctors could come and go in privacy and hopefully get me out of this bloody mess I had gotten myself into.

The medications (OMG, the medications!!!!) soon began to arrive at their off-scheduled times (according to my time table) and without hesitation the amount increased. The Thrush pills came, the appetite meds began and whatever else they could think of to get me to eat. At times there was so much medication my stomach was full of liquid and there were times I was feeling woozy.

During these long, quiet days it was nice for family to drop by for visits. Family is good. Family is unconditional love. But each family member has their own idea of how to get their sibling(s) better. I was under the impression that my doctors were there for that, but no, they were following doctor’s orders above and beyond their calling. I’m afraid I tore a strip off of one family member, but her nerve, strength, resolve and dogged determination are more than I’ve ever seen, nor want to see again. Truth be told, I was so glad to each sister when they dropped by. It was a relief from my misery and for an hour or two could forget what I was going through.

Dear hubby visited every morning, bringing anything I needed, from fresh T-Shirt to food or treat items. He was tired. Too much worry to sleep and I could see it in his face. His patience was waning and he could no longer think straight or function properly. It was now up to me to take my responsibility by the reigns and fight my own battle.

The physiotherapist and dieticians soon began popping in and out of my door. Dieticians seem to be another doggedly determined group that won’t let go of a bone (pardon the pun). No matter how many times I turned my nose up at something, they were right back at ya with more. This was a war I was not going to win, but I didn’t have the brains to admit it yet.

The days went by, the tests continued – ECG, EKG, chest X-ray, blood, blood and more blood. I could hear the sound of the footsteps and their supply carts as they were approaching my door. Then the food trays would arrive usually around 8:30, 11:30 and 4:30.

I would find the breakfast tray by my bedside at 8:30 just as I was beginning to wake up. It’s bad enough I don’t eat a breakfast at all, but let alone one just as I’m waking up – and then a hospital breakfast. Please spare me the agony. I was struggling at every turn with my dentures . The tops continued to stab away at my gums and would not remain in my mouth very long. I could never get them in a good position, the adhesive(s) were giving me trouble. I tried to make every attempt to put the dentures in every which way I could, as I wiggled and jiggled them in place. It was becoming fruitless and both Nat and I knew I would have to get back to my dentist without haste, as soon I could. Time was now of the essence.

After many discussions with the various dieticians, it was decided that in the beginning my food would be minced up – thus the constant dried-up scramble eggs with some sort of “rock-throwing” Scone sitting beside them. The usual white milk and juice accompanied the tray. After several days of nagging, cajoling, badgering and my dentures getting wiggled into a good position, I began to nibble away at the scrambled eggs and our good friend Cecil’s voice kept ringing in my ear – “you have to force yourself”, to which I did. Suddenly, one day I had managed to keep at least half in my stomach. However, I had to take a large drink afterward and lay back in bed to let my breakfast somehow settle.

Lunch time was just scary. My very first lunch tray consisted of Manicotti!!! Nat and I are light lunch people – usually just a sandwich and small treat for dessert. Manicotti is never on my lunch list and now I see why. Two large rolls of pasta stuffed with (I’m assuming) what looked like cottage cheese (double, triple ‘yuk’) and some sort of sauce on the side. Sorry, folks, I was not going anywhere with those. Besides, two more pieces of weaponry that could hurt someone. I refused.

Suppers were just as bad at times. Mince and gravy, minced chicken with mashed potatoes, Alaskan Halibut that was so hard it could spear another fish. Seriously?? Who cooks like this. These are people in a place of healing, a place of support and help to get people home in a healthier state than when they went in. Truthfully, the food ain’t going to do it. One day I got lucky and managed to eat some turkey breast for lunch and then some (actually tender) chicken. Most other nights the meals were a struggle to at least eat enough to prove that I was doing it.

When left alone, my days in bed were long, boring, and consistently made up of nodding in and out of sleep. With no meat left on the bones, my ass got sore fast, the bone getting numb as the hours wore on, my back getting stabbing pains just behind the shoulders due to extremely pour posture and then there was my hair!! My God, we won’t discuss the hair. I had just cancelled my hair appointment before my first trip to hospital and it was now well overdue for any help it could get.

A few days into my stay, a nice young nurse managed to get me into the shower and wash my hair by turning my wheelchair backwards. What a treat – just letting it dry naturally, I was still a happy camper.

The days began to pass, I slowly began to rise from the ashes and with the Physiotherapists working away at my legs, I began to get out of bed and walk. Albeit painfully slow, I did make progress. I seriously couldn’t lift a leg, let alone take a step. It was going to take me months to get any strength into my upper legs to able me to walk the walk. I will admit the mind had to fight the heart with every ounce of strength I had. Then, at last, after a few weeks, I managed to talk the Doc, the Dietician and the Physiotherapist to let me go home.

For the first couple of days at home things began to improve. Nat and I soon devised a routine and methods for me to get from one wheeled chair to another. With the help of a walker leant to us by Gail, my life really perked up. I was now able to sit and have Nat walk me to the bathroom. It also helped that a cammode was delivered to the house and there will be another “assisted living” assessment done tomorrow. Grab bars can be added in the bathroom, at my bedside or even a chair-lift recliner can be loaned to us for a month, which will prevent Nat from having to assist me in standing.

Now, after even more weeks and a lot of work, my legs have gained a little strength, I’m now able to walk using the walker, can almost stand on my own. It’s taken longer than I had ever anticipated, more work than I could have dreamed but now that I’m on my way, my determination has risen, and at least now I’m beginning to see the end of this whole horror story that’s been turning it’s pages since July 18th.

The Diagnosis Is In And The Cure Is Hell

With a manicure and pedicure booked on the 24th, and with my health deteriorating by the minute, I called to cancel the appointment, thinking I wouldn’t be able to last long enough. However, being deeply in need of at least a pedicure, my gal at the salon suggested she could at least give me a basic pedicure to get me through.

I could tell by the looks on their faces at the salon that I looked like death warmed over once I arrived. My gal soon whipped my feet into shape and I felt better for having it done.

The next morning I awoke and announced to Nat that I definitely wanted to get checked into the hospital. He agreed. This time it didn’t take as long, as I stressed the fact that I was now very malnourished and in need of an IV with nutrients. I was soon booked into a bed and headed to the Short Term Stay area of The St. Catharines General for however long it would take to get me diagnosed and back up to speed.

The Short Term Stay area is a connection of 8 Pods (or small rooms with curtains for doors) surrounding a nursing station where doctors and nurses can see into each and keep an eye on everything around them. A nice set-up. I sent Nat home once I was settled in as there was nothing more that could be done and I knew he was exhausted mentally and physically from this entire ordeal. He, at least for now, could relax knowing that I was in good hands and being taken care of.

Trying to get sleep in any hospital is virtually impossible. If you’ve ever been in one you’ll understand. At one point, I soon began to doze off, but by 3:00 am some nursing staff decided to have a small get-together around the station until 4:00 am. So much for that.

It was Saturday afternoon before I was seen to by an Internist who had read my chart from top to bottom and realized I had developed Thrush. A yeast infection in my mouth that affects immune-suppressed patients getting dentures. It’s more common in babies and other adults, but just my luck, I was also a candidate. This Internist was good!

A medication was prescribed, and naturally, it was disgusting – a creamy little drink that you had to swish around your mouth and then swallow. This little drink only added to my gagging and being sick more than ever. I became sick just thinking about each dose before I took it. In fact, I cheated a couple of times and tossed a dose or two in the garbage. I would rather have died than take this crap. It was that bad.

It was soon discovered that the Thrush had spread down into my throat which is the reason why the intolerance to a couple of meds. I had also developed a bit of a bladder infection which had to be taken care of immediately. With everything else going on in my body, my new little kidney also had to be taken care of. If I rejected it now, I wouldn’t be able to live. You would not believe the amount of medications I now had to swallow (now a huge struggle) – 13 medications for the kidney, 1 antibiotic, 1 for the Thrush, 2 for stomach acid and a Potassium pill (which I was now lacking). And that’s just the morning routine. You get an infection in your mouth and the cure is almost as worse.

I was finally released after 4 days, with the new meds in hand. The body was still extremely tired and I just wanted to curl up into a ball under my duvet cover and sleep for a thousand weeks.

Still unable to swallow any kind of “soft” food, I struggled to get any nutrients into me in order to get my strength up. One of the most difficult things I have to do. I’m such a picky eater and drinker, I’m struggling to keep things in my stomach long enough for the nutrients to be absorbed into my body and help to get me up and running. Nat is in such a state, we’re now starting to argue about it. It’s so difficult for me to explain about the swallowing and he has no idea of how it feels. He’s now extremely worried, but how do I reassure him that I’m okay.

It’s upsetting to me, too. I would die for any kind of solid food from a simple grilled cheese sandwich right up to a Panko-encrusted pork chop with homemade fries. I’m in such a catch 22 situation I couldn’t win even if the odds were in my favour.

Once I was diagnosed, Nat and I soon began to discuss the fact, that why didn’t my Dentist catch this thing as it was developing. Even I could see my tongue was getting coated as the dental visits progressed. We really could have nipped this disgusting thing in the bud. Alas, too late and now I must endure what befalls me and for as long as it takes to get cured.

I return to the Internist this Wednesday to see how things are going. She implied last visit that this could last for a couple of weeks before I see any results. My mind and spirit truly do not know how long we’ll last. 2018 to me will never end.

Into The Abyss I’ve Fallen

It just keeps getting worse. I feel as if I’ve fallen into a black hole with no way out and no ending in sight.

After flying into space and banging my hip and knee along with adding more blood bruising to my collection, I finally was able to get into my Dentist as soon as he returned from holidays. He’s starting to come around to my way of thinking once he took a look at me. Why is it professionals always think they know you better than yourself? He finally agreed to remove the centre part of the palette on the dentures, but naturally, they had to be sent away to the lab – so another day without choppers!

Returning home, Nat and I had to resolve ourselves to waiting another day (or so) to see the results. Another evening of quiet anxiousness.

We got the call later that next day. With great anticipation we waited as the dental nurse returned with what now looked like a horseshoe – neigh, neigh, neigh!! Well, this horseshoe was perfect for this old nag and we returned home, fingers crossed, that this would be the end of things. Guess what, it doesn’t always work that way for me and the very next day I realized the dentures were still jabbing into the top of my gums – pins and needles again. I also soon realized that the left and right sides at the back could use a bit of a cut back, to stop what little gagging I was doing.

The Doc advised me to wait, since I was trying to get back on track with my diet. The gagging and gas stomach were acting in unison to make me so miserable I wanted to cut my throat and stomach out. However, that would defeat the whole purpose of getting dentures. I hesitated.

My diet – only liquids (water, ginger ale, popsicles) – was now depleting my strength, making me vitamin and nutrient deficient along with dizzy spells.

One morning I awoke at my usual time, but once up on my feet, I struggled to get to my closet door to get some clothes for the day. I could feel it coming on, so I grabbed the bedroom chair to sit down but didn’t quite make it. Buck naked (not a pretty picture at the best of times), I fell forward into the footboard of the bed. I at least thought my bare ass would stick to the leather chair. Maybe my ass shrunk from all the weight I’ve lost. Down on my knees (still damaged from the previous fall) I was in excruciating pain and couldn’t move. I yelled for Nat, but no response. I yelled again and still no response. Trying to calm myself down, I attempted to get back into the chair just behind me, but to no avail. I then struggled to crawl on my knees along the end of the bed to make it around to the side hoping I could grab onto the mattress and pull myself up. Nope, no go.

This was now getting very frustrated and now completely out of breath, I tried calling for Nat again at the top of my lungs. No response. Where in hell did he go? Yelling again and again, my screams fell on deaf ears – literally!!! Now knowing there was no hope of getting Nat’s attention unless I threw a perfectly good bedside lamp at the door, I gave up. My dumb luck I’d miss the mark and break a lamp for no reason.

I was now kneeling alongside the bed and grabbing at sheets to pull myself up. The sheets decided not to co-operate and other ideas were being formulated. Suddenly with right elbow now lying across the bedside table, with every ounce of strength I could muster, I slowly pulled my body up on the bed and was at least able to get one cheek stable enough to get my feet up on the bed. Damn, what an experience.

I laid on the bed for a minute or two before garnering more strength to get my bathrobe and head to the living room to see if Nat was dead or alive. Alive, naturally, but when he watched as I sat in my recliner, he asked me what was wrong?? *&$%#*#!!!

I tried to be gentle, as he gets quite sensitive about his hearing aids. I totally understand. I knew he would feel bad. All was forgiven.

The following day, it was quite apparent I would have to go to Emergency for help. Nat agreed and we immediately drove into St. Catharines. With the waiting room not really that busy, we felt pretty confident that this wouldn’t take too long. Boy, are we naive. We had no idea the amount of people that preceded us at 7:00 AM. Arriving before 10:00, getting into Pre-Assessment by noon, with more sitting, waiting, sitting and waiting, my stomach was now beginning to burn like a wild fire.

We suddenly started to realize a lot of patients that arrived after us were being taken in for assessment and when we checked at the station we were told we were in line. Back to sitting and waiting, sitting and waiting. After a couple of hours, a nurse walked by us and saw our assessment sheets when she took them telling us they should have been handed into the station. DUH, no one told us, but at least we were now “in line”.

Sitting in the long hallway with more and more patients coming in, we soon realized again that others were being taken “out of line”. Nat got up the nerve to ask the Doctor on call what was going on. She responded that she was trying to clear up the patients that came in around 7:00 am and we would be in the next group. It was now after 2:00 pm. God, when will this end??

Finally, at long last, the Doc took us into the assessment room and I began to tell the whole scenario of what was going on. As I was talking, my gagging reared it’s ugly head and it was soon thereafter I began to throw up what was left in my belly, which was pretty much nothing. “I’m hooking up an IV”, she said as she ran out of the room. I’m now being attended to with utmost attention – blood pressure, temperature, blood work and finally an IV. They hooked me up with a medication that stops nausea along with the IV saline drip.

Nat and I sat in the little cubicle for patients receiving IVs – a neat little set-up – and watched the activities around the nursing station. It was as good as watching television with the real life activities buzzing around, telephones ringing, orders being given, doctors checking the computers for Xray results, putting data into each patient’s chart and some poor nurse trying desperately to nibble away on a sandwich without being interrupted. It took her almost a half hour.

The Doc came around as the IV was on its last drip with instructions and a prescription on how I was to proceed. I could see the frustration on her face as we talked about what I eat and what I don’t. She finally gave up but did insist I see a dietician in the future. She handed me a couple of prescriptions to help with the nausea and gagging and by 7:00 pm we were on our way home. HALLELUAH!!!!!!

Arriving home, we both changed and I headed off to bed while Nat made something to fill the void in his stomach. He managed to get something from Tim Horton’s in the hospital during the afternoon, but a cup of coffee and a donut are empty calories and my loving hubby was now beyond hungry.

I went to bed but had a hard time getting off to La La Land. My nerves were jumping out of my skin, my head was spinning and my brain was wandering the streets for answers on when this whole horror show will end. I gave up and turned on the lamp thinking I would read my book. Now, Nat decides to check on me as he sees the light turn on and was wondering if I was okay. With some time, my eye lids began to lower and I was off. Hoping to dream my way out of a never-ending nightmare.

My journey now begins with getting my dentures adjusted to my liking. That story begins tomorrow after a long awaited pedicure appointment. I had to cancel one a few weeks back and it’s come back to haunt me. My manicurist is going to freak. Hey, she might as well join the fun with the rest of us.

We all know this little story is going to continue.

The Food Gods are Punishing Me

The period of adjustment for dentures is much longer than I ever anticipated. Being told to eat only soft foods – mashed potatoes, eggs, jello, etc. for a week or two, turned out to be excruciatingly painful. My stomach gurggled day and night. I could understand, however, as my gums were still tender and sore. If only I could put my stomach on hold during this healing process.

Week 1 – There were painful moments wearing the dentures, as little jabs were felt under the left side of my gums. I called my dentist and within a day they were adjusted (or ground down) so as not to jab. However, little sores were detected and I was advised to keep the dentures out and take an antibiotic to help heal the sores. A bit of a setback, but at least the dentures felt better. I was able to manage for a couple of days, however my eating habits were not getting any better.

Week 2 – The antibiotics were working and my upper gum was feeling better, but as time progressed, one morning suddenly I couldn’t even keep my dentures in for more than a minute – I began to gag. I struggled as best I could every morning, but with every breath I took, I gagged. It was now apparent that I would have to leave them out the entire day until I could call my dentist. Naturally this started on a Friday and I would have to go the entire weekend “gumming it”, as they say. I was beginning to panic a bit, thinking what if this whole bloody procedure blew up in my face and I was unable to even wear dentures????? Just kill me now!!!

After various discussions with hubby (who was now extremely worried) it soon became apparent that another adjustment would have to be made. My naivete was very apparent as I had no idea how this whole process worked. I was told by a friend that I may well need up to 4 or so adjustments before this whole process would settle down. Trusting her advice and taking a better view of my dentures (the palette portion goes well beyond the back teeth), I would call the dentist on Monday to have whatever adjustment was needed.

Another setback. The dentist’s office was closed for holidays  the whole week. He’s a solo practitioner and has no substitute replacement. The recording said if it was an emergency you should go to hospital. Bummer!!!! I didn’t feel this whole thing was an emergency, besides what could a hospital do? More discussions and more frustration as Nat and I talked about alternatives. I was now convinced my dentures were making me gag as the palette portion was sitting too far back into my throat. Prior to this I could feel the end of the palette with my tongue, but now I couldn’t. I was then told that a portion of the back palette could be trimmed. Now I was really convinced, and the waiting game began.

I decided I had to leave the dentures out completely. When I did manage to keep them in I somehow couldn’t talk unless I gagged first. Extremely uncomfortable and irritating. After rattling our brains over and over again on what I could eat, a liquid diet was the only solution. Hubby tried hard to suggest a few things that I could perhaps nibble away at, but nibbling still involved some sort of chewing. I’ve now settled (after some research on liquid diets) on drinking fruit juices, broth, ice cream, etc. until I can see my dentist this next week.

To add insult to injury, I had managed to keep the dentures in long enough one night to eat a dish my hubby calls “mince and mashed” (ground beef cooked in gravy and served with a side of mashed potatoes). Quite yummy actually when you pour the gravy-ladened ground beef over the mashed potatoes. I was proud of myself I had managed to eat a good portion of the meal hoping this would put something a bit more substantial in my stomach. Plus this would be a turning point back to more solid foods. What a fool I am.

With buttery mashed potatoes and creamy rich gravy, it only stood to reason that later in the evening I began to feel a little iffy and began to run to the bathroom. With great aplomb I tripped on the bath mat and went flying smack down on the bathroom floor. Hubby came running, looking deeply concerned, and had to use both arms to raise me off the floor. My left knee was banged, my hip began to throb and a huge gouge showed up on my left elbow. I was so embarrassed at this point, I wanted to curl up and die. When things settled down hubby tended to the gouge which was now bleeding and we returned to the living room totally frustrated and drained. It was going to be a long, painful night.

The next morning with swollen knee, bruised hip and pride, I limped out of bed, managed to get dressed to greet hubby good morning. It was now apparent the whole day was going to be spent healing myself and my wounds. Slowly, I’ve been improving and at least now walk without a limp. Another long, long day in what has become my living food hell.

This is such a learning curve for me and hubby, that we’re totally in the dark and following a path we’ve never been on. However, we have settled down and are now resolved to play out the waiting game. I can only hope and believe that if the palette of the dentures is trimmed back, they’ll fit and all will right again. I really don’t think I can tolerate too much more. My stomach is begging for anything solid and tasty to eat. God give me strength to get through this ordeal I got myself into.

Good To See You, Again

With some thoughts of fear, the unknown, finality and a possible regret, I headed to bed by 10:00 PM. I love my sleep and instinctively knew Tuesday night (the 17) would take me over an hour to at least get to the doors of La La Land. My brain was swirling with anticipation, fear and trying desperately to imagine how the whole procedure would go down.

Surprisingly I was up earlier than thought. I’ll do this when I’m anxious the night before. I’m the kind that wants something done, and done now. Impatience runs throughout my bones. Within 20 minutes we were driving down the highway to St. Catharines General Hospital to finally get my dentures and partials done. The little yellow container holding the dentures and partials sat atop my lap with an envelope of paperwork to be handed in upon arrival. I felt somewhat calm at this point. Perhaps thinking that this was it. All will soon be over and I’ll be back to my old smile, and the ability to chomp on good food again without having to gnaw away for half an hour after each bite!!

Arriving at the Outpatient Service we were escorted by a lovely volunteer to the patient bed area and were greeted by a very attentive nurse who kicked Nat out until I was settled. He toddled off to the waiting room as I began the usual ordeal of donning those wonderfully designed hospital gowns (“just strip down to your undies”), blood pressure, diabetes check, temperature, heart rate, etc., etc. More questions asked that had been asked a hundred times before with every appointment I’ve had during this entire ordeal. I could almost answer them by memory. At least I was ready for them and had made numerous copies of my medical record, lovingly done by my GP who is very efficient, along with numerous copies of my medicines. Always helps a great deal to be pre-prepared with such things, especially when your memory is fading and you look to the ceiling for answers!

Nat was soon summoned by my bedside as we waited for 10:45 AM – my procedure time. We didn’t have a whole lot of talking to do but watched as the rest of the nursing staff settled in all of the new patients coming in for whatever procedure they were having done. Even one older lady saying she’d never had an operation in her whole life. What a treat that must have been!! Nat and I also couldn’t get over the attentiveness of the nursing staff and the efficiency of which they were running the Outpatient Service. They were friendly, informative and certainly knew their jobs. As I’m a difficult one to get an Intravenous hook-up, they immediately called for the Charge Nurse who was a real pro at such things. They were right. She was very good and not even a bruise afterward once it was removed!!

Just prior to that, the Anesthesiologist dropped by to check on my meds (what I had taken and what I had not). He sounded Russion or Ukranian and was in a great mood. We had a couple of laughs – which is always useful when you know this man is going to knock you out!!

The time soon came and I was ushered a short distance down to the Operating Room previously booked by my Dental Surgeon – Dr. Carriero. Everyone in the room greeted me like an old friend – that’s always a relaxing way to go – and after trying to get the old broad switched over to the thinnest operating table you can imagine – I was soon off to La La Land. I was a bit surprised, however, to see that they still use a small amount of gas through a mask, instead of a direct injection into the Intravenous. Cool!!

As soon as I was off and out of it, I found myself struggling to wake up in the Recovery Room. Nurses were talking to me as my eyes were trying to focus and find out whether they were talking to me or someone else. Within several minutes I began to focus and felt like I had been punched in the mouth along with inheriting a whole lot of teeth. At least now I told myself – It Was Finally Over.

After 3/4 hour in Recovery I was ushered back to the Outpatient Room to check my vitals again, make sure I could walk without looking drunk and finally put my clothes back on. Nat went for the wheelchair (hospital policy – no walking out the door) and we were soon off and headed for home. Blessed, blessed home!!

Nat said he was surprised how well I took the entire thing – the swelling, the bruised cheek, the little black dot on my right cheek that wasn’t there prior and even the pain. I reminded him what the Anesthesiologist said – “I should write a book” about all of the things this old body has been through since the age of 3. My body has been brainwashed into doing what I’m told when it comes to surgeries, medical tests, etc. I’ve also developed a large intolerance to pain. This 69 year old piece of skin, bone, muscle mass and organs has been poked, prodded, pricked, along with one organ going out and another replacing, that it’s become my fortess for such things. When your life has been in and out of hospitals so much as mine, you begin to develop (as they say) “a thick skin”.

The rest of the day was naturally spent quietly in the living room – ice packs on the cheeks to keep any swelling down – and wriggling my tongue around the inside of my mouth to see if I could check things out. I finally took a look in a mirror and wondered “what’s the other guy look like”. Looking like I had been punched in the mouth with a good left hook I returned to my recliner and tried to block the image out. However, I did tell myself, this too will subside as the days go on. It’s the eating that will be the bain of my existence – only being able to eat soft foods (Jello, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, ice cream, soup, well-cooked pastas, etc.) – for the next week. God, I’m going to miss the meat, fresh breaded haddock, french fries and maybe a bag of Cracker Jacks once in awhile. This too, Twila, shall pass as the days go on.

This whole procedure, to my way of thinking, should now be my last visit to any hospital for any other purpose, except for transplant check-ups, for quite some time. I’ve endured numerous childhood surgeries and tests, kidney dialysis (home and hospital), fluid around the lungs, the kidney transplant, a few rejection visits, my native kidneys removed, a large polyp removed, my cataracts removed, and now my new teeth. I can pretty much state a good part of my body has endured more than its share. Now that I feel so much like my old self (whatever that is – maybe in my 30’s, the best years I’ve had without any medical procedures) hopefully I can now say to myself, with my new best smile – Good to see you, again.