Monday, June 28, 2010

Moving house

It's been a while since my last note here. We are in the process of moving home and so I am both tired and distracted. Today I was so tired at my main place, I was almost falling asleep on my feet. There's a heat wave so it's hot at night. I wake at 3 am and take another 1 1/2 hours to get back to sleep. I set my alarm for 5.50 am so I can get up for a run before breakfast. Well, this morning, I just could not get up, I was so tired. I decided I'd be better off getting another hour's sleep.
Anyway, we were expecting "The Man with the Van" to show up today and schlepp our boxed up stuff from our present apartment to our new one nine blocks north. He did not come; he had called Chuck yesterday evening to confirm and Chuck had not got his message or had not called back early enough to constitute confirmation. Well, he'll come tomorrow instead when the Whalens guys come - a minor circus, but what choice do we have.
To get back to the main point. Today I had a great day in some ways. One of the two nurses on my floor who suggested my "shadowing" them was in today. So I got to see some interesting procedures. This nurse is great: she tells me if she has something "interesting" to do and then takes me through it step by step explaining what she's doing (Nurse C). God love her for her patience. I watched her (and vaguely helped) redoing a Foley catheter and then with a new IV insertion. With the Foley, I also saw something that, without care, would head for a pressure sore. This lady seems to understand the need to keep off it and instead lie on her side; hopefully we'll avoid her neighbor's situation.
Her neighbor I have previously mentioned. She's visibly deteriorated since I started (PT AH). She sleeps constantly now but will briefly wake if you talk to her. I spoke to her on a couple of occasions today and gently rubbed her arm. She likes that. It puts a smile on her face. I spoke to her briefly. She's so clearly so sick. She's not eating really and thus is very malnourished. She has pressure sores at her sacrum but she won't be in any position other than on her back. It's my understanding that she was a very VERY difficult person before, but her inexorable slide toward the beyond has rendered her passive and calm.
Last week, I would pop in and see how she was, I also tried to render some order to her tray table. She was looking for something and in the process of helping her find whatever it was she was after I noticed various belongings on the window sill: a letter produced by her lawyer for a stay of eviction on her apartment, glasses, handbag, expensive make-up, lots of Sharpie markers in assorted colors, a week-old newspaper... random trappings of a faded existence. It was all together a glimpse into a life. There is quite an accumulation of stuff around her on her table, the window sill, a pile on a chair, clearly she's been here for some time. It's astonishing how quickly a person can go downhill. When I first met her, she was talkative (and irritably demanding), could read the paper and would eat solid food. Last week I got her to talk for about an hour about herself. Now she is asleep constantly but will rouse briefly when questioned. She is wasting away.
Meanwhile, I learned yesterday that a nice man I'd spent some time with last week passed away early that morning. He didn't seem to be on the verge of death so that was a surprise. His room was being cleaned; there was a certain very particular smell. Not a pleasant job, but one that must happen on this floor with some regularity. Three people died last week (two of whom I'd actually spoken to or spent time with), no doubt there'll be more this week.

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