Don't F*%& With the Pancreas-The Maine Edition (Blogisode Eleven)

Don't F*%& With the Pancreas-The Maine Edition (Blogisode Eleven)
Everyone in Vermont thought this was a good rainy day activity.

Everyone in Vermont thought this was a good rainy day activity.

Happy Tuesday!  This blogisode is brought to you by the Montshire Museum of Science, where I am currently sitting on a chair by an exhibit of fog while writing this blog.  I have written my blog in strange places and at odd times in order to complete my daily promise to you, friendly readers, but this must rank as one of the oddest.  Sing with me, “A foggy day, in London town…” great song.  Listen to Ella Fitzgerald’s rendition for a wonderful musical experience.  As I am writing, I should tell you, there are 8-year-old boys shooting fog at me.  It’s only fair.  I’m the strange woman working on her computer in a kid’s museum.

How did I find myself in this museum blogging, you might wonder.  Well, as I told you yesterday, my parents are in town.  It is Monday (I’m a day ahead of you) and Rob and I have a day off.  This is the only full day I will have with my parents, when one or both of us do not have a show.  As it happens, it is pouring rain.  Sheets of rain.  As Beatrix would say, give me my umbrella, it’s raining men (she loves that song).  So I ask you, what do you do with a diabetic and mobility challenged 76 year old father, a younger and more agile mother, a husband who gets the good sport award, a 13 year old and a three year old on a rainy day off in Vermont?  You drive 90 minutes in the downpour to a science museum near Dartmouth College, that’s what you do.  You get your father a wheelchair

We're a merry band of rainy day misfits.

We're a merry band of rainy day misfits.

despite his cranky response to it, you have your mother push him around, you have the 13 year old run around, and the good sport husband plays in the exhibits with the 3 year old—who is over the moon with excitement.  Then, once everyone is happy, this person (meaning me) finds a foggy corner and quickly blogs, knowing this might be the only chance in the day.  This, I believe, is what they call motherhood.

So let’s get back to it, since it is rude of me to be apart from my whole family today.  You’ll bear with me and understand if my blogisode is a little on the shorter side today.  The fog is thickening.

Oh!  And the winner of our quiz contest is……Cathy Creason!  We had some excellent answers, but she has to win based on the thouroughness of her essay answer which bordered on a journal entry.  Enjoyable.

So…we were coasting into the Central Maine Medical Center with no gas, but no sirens needed.  Whew.  I managed to keep all the drama focused on Rob and not become the needy one, mission accomplished.  I watched the ambulance pull up and then parked, crossing my fingers that the car would start later that night and at least get me to the 7-11 across the street.  If nothing else, the gas pumps were in view and Rob was in (yet another) hospital bed.  No worries.  I called Larry Hall (general manager and friend at Quisisana) to leave word that we’d arrived at the hospital and not to expect me until much later.  I was told everyone was doing well.  No worries.  Perfect.

I walked into the hospital, and just out of habit immediately looked for the closest form of caffeine.  Starbucks in the coffeeshop on the right.  Check.  I continued on to what has to be the most confusing lay out of any hospital anywhere.  I don’t have Internet right

So confusing inside, but Starbucks! And Internet! And gas across the street!

So confusing inside, but Starbucks! And Internet! And gas across the street!

now, but later I’m going to try to find a map and attach it to this post so you can see what I mean.  It’s the kind of building that you have to take the correct set of elevators to get to the proper wing—you know what I mean?  And if your husband was just delivered in an ambulance and someone is giving you directions, you have to really concentrate to understand where they are telling you to go.  I am not good at this.  Directions seem to bounce off my forehead instead of going in.  I get obsessed with making sure the person knows I am listening to them, rather than actually listening.  Then I walk away, get lost after the first turn and have to start all over again.  I think that’s my New Year’s resolution.  Hear directions.  Remind me on January 1st, because I can’t start now, in August.  That’s just dumb.

I finally get to Rob’s room….which is in…..(wait for it….) the maternity ward.  Hooray!  I felt right at home.  In fact, I was immediately nauseous and having contractions, it felt so familiar.  It made me want another baby, which I promptly told Rob as soon as I got into the room.  My request was denied.  Like, what did HE have going on?

There was a nurse in the room when I got there, and I don’t remember her name, but I’m going to call her Nurse Meredith, just because I had a friend named Meredith as a kid who I really loved, and she had blonde hair and a raspy voice.  Therefore, anytime I meet a blonde with a raspy voice who has a good sense of humor, in my head (and in this blog) I call them Meredith.  Funny that it also matches the description of Meredith Baxter Birney.

Nurse Meredith

Nurse Meredith

Nurse Meredith was in the middle of taking Rob’s vitals and medical history when I walked in with my baby proclamation.  After they both declared me insane,  I went about the wife-of the-patient’s work, preparing the hospital room.  Here’s what that involves (I’m an expert)

1) Plug all electronics into their proper chargers—into the extention cord you brought from home because hospital rooms use their outlets for silly things like…heart monitors…and the nurse might get mad if you unplug it.  Not that I have any personal experience with that.

2) Find the most comfortable chair that is available.  I am not saying STEAL the more comfortable chair from your neighbor’s side while the patient is asleep, swapping it with the crap broken chair on your side.  That is wrong.  I would never do that.

3) Locate the following items: extra pillow, extra blanket, towel, washcloth, any available toiletries.

4) Locate TV remote and make sure it is working.  Frequently the sound comes through the remote, which doubles as the ligh switch and nurse call button.  It is important to make sure all things are in working order, although the nurses station does not always enjoy a “test” call.  They do not see it as diligent.  They see it as annoying.

5)  If you are in New York, place a call to give a credit card to PAY for the TV service.  Correct.  You have to PAY for TV service in NYC.  I am happy to report that Central Maine Medical Center, in addition to free Internet, also has free TV.  Which I can confirm works, because Rob’s roommate was blasting a marathon of COPS at full volume.  All night.  More on him and the irony of his television viewing in just a minute.

I think I’ve covered all the duties.  Except for the obvious one, which is to be the audience for the Nurse Meredith-Rob Meffe comedy routine, which was taking place at that moment.

Nurse Meredith: Age?

Rob: 43.  I just had a birthday.

Nurse Meredith: Happy Birthday.  Height?

Rob: 5’11

Nurse Meredith: Weight?

Rob: 170 maybe?  I’m not sure.  I’ve lost a lot.  It’s about what I weighed in high school.

Nurse Meredith: Congratulations. You smoke?

Rob: No.

Nurse Meredith: You drink?

Rob: No.

Nurse Meredith:  Drugs?

Rob:  No.

Nurse Meredith: Not at all?  Never?

Rob: Never.

Nurse Meredith:  Well that’s refreshing.

Rob:  What’s that?

Nurse Meredith: You.  You’re the picture of health. You maybe the healthiest guy I’ve ever checked into this place.

Rob:  Why’s that?

Nurse Meredith:  We get all the junkies and alcoholics.

Rob:  In the maternity ward?

Nurse Meredith:  No, we just get so many cases of pancreatitis that we have to put the overflow somewhere.  So they go here.

Rob:  Drunks and babies.  Great combination.

Nurse Meredith:  I know right?

Nurse Meredith proved to be a colorful character and someone that Rob and I talked to a lot.  She was a tough customer, but it turns out that behind all that was a woman whose first husband had been killed in a car crash, leaving her to raise four kids.  A few years

Nurse Meredith with her family.

Nurse Meredith with her family.

later she met a physician whose wife had died of cancer, leaving him with three kids and they got married.  “We’re the Brady Bunch” she told us.  She also said that her husband was a dare devil and an airplane pilot.  He was building his own airplane out of a kit—I think it was made of canvas.  This was one of those people that you look at and think—wow—we live TOTALLY different lives.  It was kind of awesome.

After spending time with my new best friend Nurse Meredith and making sure Rob was all set up, I tried to find out if and when his surgery was going to happen.  Maybe tomorrow?  No one seemed to know, and Rob was an “add on” to the schedule (AGAIN!!) so we didn’t have any idea.  By this point it was starting to get dark and I knew I had:

a) an empty tank (I was starving, and Rob wasn’t allowed to eat anything)

b) an empty gas tank

c) a long drive back to Quisisana—which was complicated (more ‘turn at the blueberry bush’ directions) and hazardous because of the wildlife.

d) 2 children who wanted Mommy

e) a worried Jane Orans who might like to see me resurface with some information about Rob that might allow her to get some sleep.

f) A husband who wanted me to leave so he could do his orchestrations

So I left.  I made it to the 7-11 across the street and texted Rob that if he looked out the

See you tomorrow, honey.

See you tomorrow, honey.

window, he could see me pumping gas.  His windows were mirrored, but I waved any way, on the blind faith that he was waving back.  A minute later, I got a text.  “I’m waving back.”

He’s a good guy.  I drove off hoping I got back in time for whatever tomorrow held.

To read the next blogisode, go here.