Monday, November 24, 2008

There is no peace

There is no peace in this place. Not a moment isn't filled with some sound or annoying intrusion. I have not had a decent nights sleep in the past year, except for about six weeks ago, when a heart attack landed me in the hospital for double bypass surgery. And even then it was only due to being heavily sedated.

I lie in bed last night while my roommate's TV was tuned to Animal Planet until 2:00 a.m. Finally a nurse shut the TV off. He had been asleep since ten, but I didn't know it. The last time I remember looking at the clock it was about three. At 4:30 a.m. a nurse came charging in like an elephant to empty my roommate's catheter and my urinal. She slammed the door open, slammed the toilet seat up, slammed the toilet seat down, then slammed the door shut. I asked her if she could keep it down and she slammed the urinal down on my bedside table and slammed the door behind her. Then she proceeded to complain loudly outside my door to anyone who would listen to her. Then she went next door and loudly woke up my neighbors, who then had a conversation until at least 5:30 a.m., when I finally nodded off.

At six the janitor came in to empty the garbage. At 6:30 a different nursing assistant came in looking for the first one. Periodically over the next hour and a half people would open the door, peer in, then loudly shut the door. This lasted until 8:00 a.m., when my roommate's breakfast was brought in. This is when they leave the door open and I can hear two dozen or more TVs blaring and people chattering in the dining room, not to mention the old lady I mentioned before who, basically, is asking God why she has lived this long. Has he no mercy?

I don't have to get up this early. I don't want to get up this early. There is no reason to. I don't have a job. I don't really have anything to do until I have to go to occupational and physical therapy around 10:00. I can't get up until the wound care nurse comes by to dress the four wounds on my right leg, two of which leak.

I can't get out of bed until a nursing assistant comes by to dress me and hoist me with a crane into my chair. Since the surgery I have been on sternal precautions, therefor and am not supposed to use my arms to do anything more than feed myself or lift five pound weights in therapy.

This morning it was loud, but it has been louder. I have been spared that the overly peppy nursing assistant isn't working today. She loves waking people up in the morning to tell them how beautiful the day is. If it's raining outside she seems even more excited. I don't get much if any sleep, so I am usually cranky. Had I slept, I might think she was cute and be sunny right back. But instead I am crabby, and I take it out on her. I don't mean to. I don't like being an asshole. But Jesus Fucking Christ, Allah save me from sunny people when I haven't had more than an hour's sleep in seven days. I am a little rude to her. Not much, but just enough to hurt her. You'd think I just killed her dog. The last time this happened, I had to talk to a shrink's assistant for an hour.

There is no peace. There isn't an inch of this place I can go where someone doesn't want to come up to talk to me. Whether it is a resident or a nurse, or the Recreation Director asking me if I want to play bingo or go to church services. For the 370th time, no.

During the summer I would wheel up to the parking lot at the bank next door and sit in the sun for hours. Or take my laptop to the library and download a lot of music I still haven't got around to listening to. And for two great weeks, I was gifted with some weed, which dulled my chronic pain and distracted me from my troubles. Life would be a lot easier on me if marijuana were legal, but it's not. It is good I managed to be high for two weeks without getting caught. They caught another patient with weed and they called the cops on him. You'd think he was a little kid caught shoplifting by his parents and marched to the corner grocer or police station to confess. They pretty much humiliated him, but in the end they let him stay at the nursing home, but they kept their eyes on him. He used to be happy, but he was miserable, like me, until he finally was able to leave.

I don't know when I will get to leave. Until then there will be no peace. Even now there is someone hovering, waiting to say something to me. I keep talking, using my silver Mac Book Pro as a shield from their intrusion, but they grow impatient and it is inevitable that they will say what they need to say, take what they need to take. It is noon, and I should have taken my medication two hours ago and the nurse needs to give me my pills so he can check it off his to do list. I look at the little plastic cup, filled with half of the thirty-some pills I take each day.

There is no peace.

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