The Critical Decision is ?
Yesterday’s second episode of Gourmet: Mechanical Soft Menu left the story-teller in the Stanford ER waiting for a bed (parking spot for my gurrney) in the Critical Decision Unit, CDU. That was where treatment would begin and a decision would be made about my release from ER.
As we pick up the story, the sick-person’s helper had left for home, and the sick-person is lying on a gurney in a small ER ward with ER nurses in charge (all wearing hospital scrubs). It is quiet in the room. The story continues:
The gurney I’m on is actually an adjustable hospital bed, not the quick wheeling cart you see rolling in and out of the Emergency Response vehicles. It’s quite comfortable and you can raise the back to sit up.
After a short wait a nurse rolled me back to the main ER. It was 5am and they were cleaning up at the end of the night shift to get ready for a new day. People were arriving, hellos and goodbyes, everything pretty cheery after a good night’s work—the shift is 12 hours long, think about that a bit.
More waiting and then a nurse shows up and I am rolling on my gurney through the halls of Stanford Hospital. I have left critical care and am on my way to the CDU, which is less than a block away (in this same building, of course).
I roll into a 2 person ward and get assigned the space near the window. The other resident is waiting for a decision on his heart tests, and looks serious; he nods to me. Light is showing outside; it’s a new day. Whatever happened to yesterday?
Almost immediately I am hooked up to a bunch of tubes and am given shots of various kinds. Plastic bags are flying from my own little Christmas Tree.
Choking victims are not fed by mouth; we all knew that didn’t we? But, I was feeling pretty good, so I asked about breakfast and Nurse gave me a LOOK. Remember: smile when you say some thing stupid, it keeps the place on even keel.
At 8am a tall figure in white appeared. He was the Hospitalist, and, more importantly for me, he was my doctor while in the Medical Center.
The Hospitalist had set up my treatment plan and had scheduled for a pharynx camera to reappear in the afternoon to check on the swelling in my throat. “‘Till then, wait and let the medicine work”, was his advice.
I was getting big doses of Antibiotics, Steroids (for swelling) and saline solution to raise the salt level in my blood.
The plan was working; I felt better and could swallow my own spit (as they say). This observation made the nurse smile; she will be happy to avoid any new problems.
Afternoon came and so did the space-age flexible camera with the long tube that was to travel down my nasal pathways to visit the pharynx and look at the swelling. It seemed to know the way, remarkable device.
The test is in my favor and the swelling is down, but not all the way down. The decision is to send me to the hospital and that is being arranged.
The good news: I can now eat, but only from the Mechanical Soft Diet. What is that going to be?
A tray appeared, carried by a messenger from the food service down the hall from the CDU. It carried the following:
1 Bowl warm gruel. Looks like 2Tbs. mush mixed with water or milk to a consistency of light pancake batter.
1 Sm. Carton warm 2% milk.
1 Cup warm coffee (a mistake)
1 Cup Jello cubes.
1 Sm. carton mixed juice nectar
1 Sm. Flan for dessert
Comments: The gruel tasts as bad as it looks, but I was hungry and could swallow it OK. Warm milk is a No, on taste, Ugh. The Jello cubes were delicious, thank you, thank you. I started to choke on the warm coffee; it was too smooth, imagine that! But, the Flan really tasted good to me, and was the crown jewel of this Gourmet Breakfast.
That about wraps up the excitement of the ER for me. The rest is my stay here was dull (and that was a relief) in contrast to my entry into the ER.
Along about 5pm I was loaded onto a wheel chair for a journey to Stanford Hospital where I was given a new bed in one of the recovery wards. I was in the hospital now; pretty much like any other large hospital–fewer workers in scrubs, more relaxed atmosphere; love it.
I’ll miss the folks at ER; they are a very professional group, but do not have plans to visit them again. You never know though; do you?
This concludes the story of the Gourmet: Mechanical Soft Menu, but the author has notes on his stay in the multi-lingual, international Stanford Hospital and may be induced to post about them. (Does any blogger need much inducement?)
I have not forgotten the poetry promise I made. On the web, I found the following observation about poets:
Some say it is an image of the mature Robert Frost trying to read the poem he wrote for the inauguration of JFK or Maya Angelou reading On the Pulse of Morning during the inauguration of President Clinton in 1993 that may have inspired seniors to try their hand at poetry.
I seem to recall seeing both these events on TV, but maybe that is illusion.
Here are some comments by Robert Frost, a San Francisco native and famous New England poet laureate.
“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life — It goes on” — Robert Frost
Did you know Robert Frost wrote a poem on Old Age? It is in the Collected Poems, Prose, & Plays, and closes with the lines:
Old Age may not be kittenish
But it is not necessarily serious.
But you all knew about Frost’s sense of humor already.
Day 3 of Mechanical Soft Menu, Autobiographical Story, 2011