338) In Which Jack Gets a Happy Button

March 11, 2009

NAMC: Waking up... from about 2:30 am til mid to late afternoon I am waking up... very groggy and spacey at first, when I can basically move my head back and forth, talk hesitantly, and think at about 2 wpm (words-per-minute)... but enough to realize I am still alive... and they are telling me bits of news that I can partly comprehend, like... you did great... the kidney is doing great...

Johnny came in about 9 so Liz could go to Larry's to sleep: she had been up all night with me. So John watched over me while Liz was gone for a couple of hours or so, while I slept and we talked about fluff and I napped a little... I'm sure it was boring for him.

Mark came and rolled me with John along and talked about his motorcycle trips... down the halls and around the corners to get a nuclear submarine... or something... where they put a IV radio isotope tracer in my central line and put me in a machine that showed the flow of urine from kidney to bladder which took 30 minutes... and them back thru the maze to ICU.

Liz came back, John left for lunch. John came back from lunch. I dozed.

Pauline the Nurse (from Kenya) comes on and shows me to work the "happy button" which can give me an extra little shot of morphine whenever I feel the pain getting too great. I use it about two times and I can tell you that it sufficiently erases pain any thoughts of pain. And it turns out Paulineis great fun too... she is funny and laughy and makes funny jokes with us and we get to be grand friends and she and Johnny and I have a wonderful discussion about how hard it is to acculturate or keep to the native culture when you have kids and she tells some stories and I tell stories about folks I have known or worked with.

Bernadette stopped by and talked to me about the book that David brought in the morning and and went over the post-op information and then rushed off. Of interest we talked more about politics and her growing up in Switzerland.

Liz has to leave again later in the afternoon again to get Shayna & bring her to see me and do her homework under the guidance of MOM. David the Social Worker came to find out how I was doing and I wanted Liz to be here while he was giving info cause it'll all be about insurance and stuff that I want her to know. So I ask David if he can come back when Liz is here and he says, "Sure".

At about 4:30 Pauline gets nervous about getting us up to 4N, the transplant floor. How many have they done recently? Four transplants in three days! That is a lot. Right before we leave to have Loretta the Nurse, who is NOT a gurney driver, take me upstairs, I give the button one more last punch for the road. We pile all my stuff onto the gurney and off we go careening thru the halls and bumping into corners to the elevator UP. Of course Pauline can't come to stay with me in 4N and that is too bad cause I perceive us as great friends already. As we pull up to the room they stop the bed and move it over close to the wall to figure out how to get me in and transferred to my "cheaper" bed, etc. So, I am laying there bored and I move my head to the right and right there, between my railings I see Carol standing back in a little cubby hole between a stack of pull out beds and the wall. "What are you doing in there?" I cry out. "Nothing...waiting for you.." she replie
s. Huh, well can you come out? Then the nurses move the bed and Carol comes out from her brief entrapment and comes into the room with a 4N nurse Eadi, the two ICU nurses... and we transfer me from the million dollar gurney to cheaper floor gurney. Then John come on and immediately leaves to find the girls. Within three minutes in come John, Shayna, Liz, and Michele! Soon the ICU nurses sign off, then Michele leaves, then Carol and it's just us and the kids and Edie and Lanette the Tech.

The nursing supervisor stops in and we get into a conversation. He is Jeffrey the Super and is curious about where I came from... El Milagro... and then he says, "Isn't there a guy over there that does a blog?"... and I enthusiastically say, "THATS ME!" and then he tells me his wife, Kim, works there and I did a sketch of her and I reply, "Wow. She was the first person who ever cannulated me! ...And I'm ending this whole circle with you being my Nurse Super. Serendipity! " So I feel an immediate bond with Jeffrey and that is good cause my bloated scrotum and painful penis are taking some close investigation and Susan the Night Nurse from Boerne seems just a little too young and cute to make me feel comfortable messing with the family jewels. Jeffrey says he understands completely and we make a little agreement that he'll take care of that specific area while he is here. Right in here sometime John splits.

The regimen up here on 4N is to get weighed and checked on at 6 a.m. (+BP,blood sugar prick), meds @ 7, various other checks & balances til about 10 or 11, when Bernadette stops in for some education, checking up on me, and Q&A. Nursing shift is from 7 to 7 and each new team comes in to check on me and writes their names and numbers on a white board on the wall: our Nurse is Susan from Boerne (whose aunt owns a condo at River Inn and we talk and come up with the question of Jack's river swimming and rafting for Bernadette. The Tech is ___.

It has been a long day with me being Wacky Jacky and Liz being my wonderful Companion, the Voice of Reality and as the day wears down we are TIRED! They bring in a chair for Liz that has a Simmon's Hide-a-bed inside and we make ready for sleep time. Susan and ___ are very helpful, gentle, and professional.

We turn in and I sleep pretty good, given that the team is waking me up every so often. Liz sleeps like a log!

Tuesday ~ Late Night: It was about 24 hours ago now that Dr. Lewis (assisted by
Dr. Sankora) added a new young kidney to my old bubbly polycystic ones and I am dozing along peacefully when Kristy the Nurse (why she came on awake and pondering: I am here in peaceful at 2 is a mystery to me) comes in to check my vitals and see how I am doing. Kristy leaves after telling me that she is married to a guy who hasbeen on the list for 7 years! He had one transplant already and is awaiting his second after the first was taken after a bout with Lupus. She turns off the TV and lights and leaves me quiet in the dim outdoor light filtering in thru the blinds, realizing just how lucky I am to be able to continue on the planet with my work, my wonderful partner and great kids and I just sigh and take it all in until I doze off again.


Anonymous said...

Dear Jack,
I'm so happy for you!
I hope you have a quick and easy recovery.
Keep Posting!!


Jack Nowicki said...

thanks marlene. I feel very fortunate right now! JN

billpeckham.com said...

Glad to be able to read along as you continue the adventure Jack. Sending good thoughts

Anonymous said...

Hi Jack
I heard the good new and just wanted to wish you the best in bonding with your new kidney. I hope your convalescence goes smoothly without too much stir-craziness and hopefully you'll survive the trials of daytime tv.
All the best from the three of us

Jo, Eric and Theo in London

Jack Nowicki said...

Eric et.al. ~ Thanks for your good wishes AND in the daytime its all KUT for me... no TV... even in London you can hear John Aiele, Twine Time, etc. via the internet... www.kut.org.

It'll bring you back home every day.

Hi to Jo & Theo too. Jack