Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sex and Drugs and Volunteers

Decadent Housewife, recently got to utilize the Canadian Health Care System (Bow Down and Kiss the Earth.) This time she both successfully got to keep her appointment and dodge moose and barmaids whooping it up in the main co-ed pre-op waiting room, plus have a few giggles with two very nice ladies and one distinguished grandfatherly-like gentleman, all of us modelling the latest OR patient wear.

A volunteer seemed to particularly cling to me though, and I was wanting to read my Katharine Hepburn, but - could - not - shake - her - off. She also had some lunch stuck between her teeth and since I'd been kept NPO - nothing to eat or drink - it made me a little cross-eyed. I wondered if somebody there reads this blog, therefore, up on my general opinion of the Canadian Health Care System (Bow Down and Kiss the Earth) and their Adult Day Surgery antics - had assigned a volunteer to me as a sort of hospital mole. "Show your teeth and shut her up." In any case, as you can see, it didn't work.

As in a previous adventure, upon return from the OR recovery, Decadent got to share a room with a man. Yes, it's true. Now I'm well aware we all get to share the same Recovery Room - just like nursery occupants - but when cognizance kicks in - it should be separate rooms, at least it used to be that way. But said man's wife was present, so I felt somewhat safe, and too, he had been drugged, which of course could be either a good or bad thing. Anyhow, during my time, this nonsense of women and men sharing hospital rooms would have shaken the very foundations of the hospital.
I recall a huge flap when a young couple shared his hospital room overnight, during his extended illness. "Uh, excuse us," they said, "but we're married and he has a private room. Goodnight and see ya' in the morning." Every night, we would tape "Do Not Disturb" to their door and in the morning, at change of shift, the wife would greet both us, at the desk, and the Sisters getting off the elevator clucking and shaking their heads in moral disgust. However, one little nun, would just grin and nod. She was also the sister who tried to set me up with a fix-it guy from engineering who apparently couldn't figure out how to do that for himself.

This last adventure went quite well overall. We were not marched out onto public display and forced to ride an elevator with visitors, smirking med students, cleaning ladies with buckets and embarrassed CEO's. Rather, we were escorted to a quiet elevator and led down a back hall - all very discreet. I was shocked. Just like the old days. Almost. During those golden years, patients checked in the previous afternoon, for a test the following day and we trolleyed them down somewhere into the bowels of the hospital on a stretcher, giving the occupant the option of at least shielding themselves from the odd passerby by pulling a sheet up and over their face or with a carefully positioned forearm. Not today.

The fun began with Nurse Nasty, upon return to my co-ed room. I told her I would not use the same washroom at my matie and could I please walk down the hall to use the women's washroom? Nurse Nasty stared, "What year were you born?" quickly adding, "What day is it?" Now I once was a neuro nurse and we asked people stuff like this all the time, but I don't really think Nurse Nasty was testing my coherence or lack of it. Unlike what Nurse Nasty attempted to imply, I felt I was completely within my wits - drugged or no. I was not about to go pee in a washroom that could not be locked, with a drugged half-naked strange man outside the door. Thank you.
Sometime after returning from the hall washroom, a bag stuffed with my clothing was dumped at my feet while Nurse Nasty efficiently said she would not allow me to go and wait for GG to meet me in the main lobby. I must have told her this was the plan as she seemed to know all about it and outright dismissed me saying two hours was far too long to sit and wait. "It's fun down there," I protested, "Timmies - balloons - people - music - waterfalls - comfy chairs. And all within ear and eye shot of radiology." I was actually looking forward to watching other people marched around in their pj's, OR booties and bare - faces. I'm a writer, we look for things like this. "Besides, I still have the lunch voucher you guys gave me the last time I was here, when you canceled my appointment after I waited three hours, remember?" No. I was not allowed. Nurse Nasty said so. She left the room and returned with two digestive cookies.

Nurse Nasty: "We can't have a volunteer wasting her time babysitting you down there." NOoooooo. I would have to wait by her desk perched in an equally nasty purple chair.
Nurse Nasty: "It's our policy; you must be met by someone at the door and with a volunteer. Can't you call someone else?"
Decadent Housewife: "Well there's my son...I think he may be between classes."
So, I called Speedy but I don't think Nurse Nasty believed me because she would not leave it alone and like laundry she kept hanging around.
Nurse Nasty: "You know, you aren't covered by insurance if you drive today."
Decadent Housewife: "I hate driving in your traffic on a good day, I'm hardly about to drive in it after doing drugs. All I want is to have fun, like everybody else, waiting for GG, downstairs, in the rotunda, watching people get ticked off with that stupid revolving door in the entrance...who thought that one up anyway?"

While waiting for Speedy and ignoring Nurse Nasty's wicked glares, I devised a plan for future use. One that would keep everybody happy. Pretend to go use the women's washroom back in the main waiting room. Spy out any decently dressed young man and ask him if he wants to make twenty bucks. Return to the nurse's desk, sit in the tatty purple chairs waiting for "my volunteer friend" to come pick me up and escort me downstairs to the circus. Buy him a Timmies, pay him his twenty bucks and sit back and watch the show. About the time I finished this daydream I noticed Speedy standing in front of me, bike helmet in hand.
Nurse Nasty: "He came to get you on a bicycle?!"
Decadent Housewife: "He's a student. What do you think he drives?"

(Now that the drugs have worn off, I see that my alternative plan is probably not such a good idea and promise not to try this. Really. Ever.)


Caution Flag said...

Oh, goodness. I am absolutely howling at your experience. I think your alternative plan has a great deal of promise, really, AND you get a cheap date out of it. Call me next time and I will pick you up in my now bankrupt Chrysler, but call before the border regulations change since I have no valid passport. Otherwise, it will be something of a wait.

Patricia said...

What was nasty nurse's problem? Speedy did bring a bike helmet for you, too, right?

Please forgive me, dear decadent, for finding great laughter and amusement in your hospital adventures.

Seriously, though, as former nurses, I think we speak with credibility when we mock bad nurses and stupid policies. They should listen.

Sally's World said...

oh dear, i shouldn't laugh so much, cos i know how frustrating hospitals are, but its how you tell it lol!

Adeena said...

That's awesome. :D Not your experience, but how you tell it. I totally wouldn't have peed in that bathroom, either. Give me a locking door any day!

AngelMc said...

I remember those golden days too. We wouldn't even allow the fathers to stay with the mothers at night after they had delivered!!! Even in private rooms!!!

Jeanne said...

Love you
Love all you share
Keep happy and healthy

Rabbit Rabbit
Love and kisses

jan said...

I'm sorry, but you made my day with this one. :-) You're a great story teller!
Socialized medicine sounds awful, but I'm afraid we're headed that way here in the states. Yuck.

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