My Double Lung Transplant

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hospital memories

Every now and then something happens that sparks a memory of the hospital for me. And they're not bad: they're happy memories - and that's what's so weird.

I caught myself in a state of nostalgia (kind of) yesterday as I dragged my O2 cart out of my car (and those who know me know that i literally drag it, bang it, drop it, and get it caught on corners and that overall, I'm not too gentle with it). As i turned it on, and put the prongs into my nose, it washed over me. There is something that I need to explain to any non-O2 users: the prongs themselves have a smell. It's not the O2 that smells, and you're not smelling the scent of whatever is caught in the prongs that came out of your nose; you're smelling a combination of the O2 and the plastic as it flows through the tubing. And it's that smell that is comforting.

Isn't that just fucking weird?! I feel it every night when I put it on as I go to bed, or as I put it on to catch my breath, or shower, or anything really. When i put it on and I smell it, I feel fine, like everything is ok. And it's weird, b/c for the longest time I was so anti-O2 it seemed. But now...i think it's safe to say that i'm pretty ok with it.

Another huge nostalgic issue for me that reminds me of the hosp (and my childhood) and makes me happy (and sad but in a good way) at the same time, is chocolate milk. Whenever I was in the hosp, and even when I was in for a month when I was 17, I always got chocolate milk. CHOCOLATE MILK = THE HOSPITAL WHICH = COMFORT and in essensce = TOTAL WEIRDNESS. I don't think this is something you can explain to anyone who has never had a prolonged or continual hosptial stay. I, like many people who read this blog, spent a lot of time in the hosp growing up, and while most people think it's sad and unfortunate, I have nothing but happy memories really. Nurses always did their utmost to make sure I was comfortable, and if giving me chocolate milk and the smell of oxygen tubing blowing up my nose is what made me happy, then so be it, right?

Granted, I know I wasn't always the most pleasant...willing...compliant ( i admit it!) patient, and I'm pretty sure when I was in the hosp at 17, I asked everyday when could I go home, and that I got to the point that I informed them that I was just going to leave on my own and not tell them, and that I did actually make a point to never be in my room when the physio lady came to beat me and when it was time for my IV meds....but regardless, I do carry fond memories. I think the whole thing has to do with the fact that I was taken care of and didn't feel like I had to do anything to reciprocate. All i had to do was sit there and get better. And not try to escape. Repeatedly.

Another thing that warms my bossom (and I think i've mentioned this) is the tupperware cover that covers your food when they bring it to you. Why? i don't know, I really don't. And i don't know why it makes me so happy either, seeing as I always hated the food they brought to me. But maybe it makes me happy b/c whatever was under that container lid thing, it was always a mystery, and that mystery was a symbol of hope b/c maybe - just maybe! - it was something I liked! I don't know. Maybe I am messed up. Maybe I'm not. Maybe I have thought about this too much. Maybe I just don't care what people think.

I think that's about it for now. I hope everyone who reads this from Canada and some of the northern States STAYS WARM TODAY! As I write this, it is -19*C. Yes. I don't know what else I can say about that. -19 just about sums it up.


P.S. Can anyone see my counter at the very bottom of my page? Am i the only one who sees an X? Does anyone know how to fix this? I'll be sad if i've lost my number of hits!


Piper said...

Bree, I haven't commented before on your blog, but love the posts! This one in particular - you're right that there's something oddly comforting about the whole hospital routine, even while it sucks. I think only those of us with lots of experience in the slammer can know how the two sides coexist.

Anyway, keep writing the hilarious blog. Although here's hoping your soon writing away with new lungs!

Meghann "Queen of the O2 People" said...

I agree with Piper! What you said was right on the money, girl! I loved the chocholate milk as well and I think of the hospital too when i drink it sometimes.

Sometimes when i eat sweet things, it reminds me of those things they give you to clean out the inside of your mouth. I remember when i was so out of it on the respirator, they would use those things and i actually though that it was like, some sort of ice cream or something i was eating. like italian ice or something :)

anyway, great post!

Amy said...

My counter is messed up too and I can only see an x :( I am pissed and want it fixed!!!!

I feel the same way about ice cream cups. The only time I eat them is when I am in and they comfort me for some reason. It is so odd to think about how something that is connected to something not so pleasant can actually bring us warmth inside. Speaking of which, yeah it is blustery cold out there!!!!

Jessica said...

I too, like Piper, have been reading without commenting for a while, but your blog cracks me up (and I share your slightly-unhealthy obsession with bookbuying!). I'm the same way about various "hospital nostalgia" - I LOVE the way plastic tape smells! I also have the ice cream cup thing, ESPECIALLY with the skinny "8" shaped wooden spoons! I think the wierdest for me though was when I was in high school, we had to use a fair bit of rubbing alcohol to clean something or other in a bio lab and I got a little panicky, then the same thing happened the next week, etc etc...basically, I had come to associate the smell of alcohol with IVs/Blood draws (and I have teeny, rolling veins from hell) so the smell of alcohol gets me a little freaked out, subconciously. Anywho...hope you get your lungs soon - keep up the hilarity in the meantime!

Gizela said...

Dear Bree,
I've been meaning to say 'hallo' and may this really be your blessed and happy new year! I'm holding my breath everyday I sit down to read your blog. Holding thumbs for you all the way. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us with your wonderful sense of humor.
I'm also sorry to add, that I can only see an X at the bottom where your counter is. Hope someone can fix it for you soon.
Take care and good luck with the cold.
Love and sun from South Africa