Beyond the fact that I was feeling low in spite of efforts to shop my way out of my bad mood, it was hot as hell. PS9 is air-conditioned as well as on my way home from the spot where Uber Pool dropped me off. Stopping in for a visit seemed like an easy call.
PS9 was low on kittens–the woman who leads the rescue part of the operation was away on vacation. No tiny babies to snuggle this time. I said my hellos to the PS9 staff and grabbed a tuxedo kitty of about six months old from her cage. Phoenix was her name.
It was to be my shortest PS9 visit ever. As soon as I sat down with the cat, two excited pups came to check her out. It was not a welcome encounter. I shielded the cat instead of letting her just do what came naturally: escape quickly. She bit me on the finger trying to get away. When will I learn?
I rushed home to clean the wounds, figuring a bit of first aid spray and a band-aid would do the trick. But then it started swelling.
After a few hours, during which time the swelling spread and my joints began aching, I decided a trip to the ER would be needed. That’s two ER trips in two and a half weeks. I felt embarrassed and defeated. Oh, and also sick.
At the ER, I spent a bit of time waiting this go-round. They asked me to wear a mask due to my cough and even wearing it, the other people in the waiting room glared at me. Fantastic.
Finally I was taken in and placed in half a cubicle. NYC ERs do what they can to maximize space and my half cubicle only had room for a wheelchair. A nurse and a physician’s assistant examined me rather quickly and prepared me to get both oral and IV antibiotics plus an x-ray.
My new reality sinks in at the least convenient moments. One minute, I am joking with the x-ray technician about the ridiculous situation I’m in. The next, I am trying to figure out how to hide the tears that have flooded my eyes during the three minutes the tech was in his little booth.
Sometimes I don’t even know why I am crying. I mean, I know why obviously, but not what triggered the tears in the specific moment. A year after losing Dad, memories of him leave me choked up near daily. And then there’s my impending surgery. The list of reasons why I cry is long and seems to grow day by day.
Spending time in the hospital unrelated to my surgery was not on the list of things that concerned me until suddenly, it was happening. My friend Christina had just arrived at the ER to keep me company when the plastic surgery resident on duty came by to examine my hand. After making me soak my hand in gross betadine that stained my fingers and ruined my manicure, he rocked my world by telling me that I would have to spend the night.
That’s right: I WAS HOSPITALIZED OVER A FINGER.
Worse, on Sunday morning, they very casually said they’d recheck me on Monday morning and perhaps I could go home then.
I was eventually released late Monday night after a boatload of IV and oral antibiotics for my finger as well as monitoring of my now-awful cough.
I’m trying to be grateful for the two-night hospital stay, thinking of it as a test run for my upcoming surgery. It gave me a preview of the misery of a shared room (avoid it if at all possible) as well as the disgusting nature of hospital food (when friends offer to do something for you, ask them to bring meals). And those better hospital gown designs you hear about in the news? They have not made their way to any hospitals in my experiences. I may buy my own.
By the way that (above) was turkey meatloaf. I had to look at the printed “menu” to figure it out and I obviously did not eat it.
With that in mind, a future post will be dedicated to how you can prep for a hospital stay as well as how you can be a top-notch friend to someone who is hospitalized or otherwise incapacitated. I’ll try not to leave you waiting for long.
Thanks for reading. xo