Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Scenes from a hospital....

NOTE: I do not recall the actual bike crash, anything about the hospital stay except for tiny snippets (actual recollections will be highlighted in a different color), nor most of the subsequent week(s) of recovery when my brain and I were (are) mired in sludge. However, with the use of transcripts and eyewitness accounts, all events have been recreated and depicted here EXACTLY as they occurred, using the fanatical devotion to accuracy and the attention to detail I am widely known for.

I’m riding along, contemplating how much I looove the Dairyland Dare, it being so scenic and such a well-supported ride and so on. I’ve been alternating riding along with Jillian and changing places with her – at this point she’s a bit ahead of me, but I note that we’re just 3 miles from the Clyde rest stop so we’ll catch up to each other there. And given that I’ve ridden about 80 miles so far, I feel pretty damn good. Wheee!

At the Clyde rest stop:

Jillian is wondering where I am - even given my propensity for gazing at butterflies and racing hawks and saving turtles and the like, I should have been at Clyde by now. She asks the next cyclists who arrive if they've seen a girl with a blue jersey somewhere on the road nearby.

Cyclist 1: Yeah, she crashed, looked like she was in shock.
Jillian: WHAT? What do you mean, what happened, where?
Cyclist 2: Not too far back - she was by the side of the road. Definitely in shock. Hey, where are those beef sticks?

Back on the route:

I’ve apparently hit some weird asphalt patch on a steep downhill and am lying in the middle of the road, unconscious. A cycling Good Samaritan pulls me off to the side of the road and carefully places me in a patch of poison ivy. Jillian has found a nice volunteer to drive her on the route until they find me, so she shows up and convinces the SAG wagon folks that it would NOT be a good idea to haul me willy-nilly into their van but rather that we should wait for an ambulance.

The hospital:

Jillian: Tasha, do you know where you are?
Me: No.....
Jillian: Do you know why you’re here? What you were doing?
Me: No. Umm, on a bike ride? Hey, what’s with my bike? WHERE’S SÁLOME??

After some tests, the good people at the Dodgeville Hospital decide that I’m in fine shape and can go home soon as soon as they get the okay from the hospital in Madison, to whom they’ve sent my x-rays.

Dodgeville nurse, cheerfully: Okay then, we can let her leave as soon as we get the okay from Madison.
Colleen and Jillian, looking over at me staring intently at the palm of my hand: We don’t think that’s a good idea. She has no idea where she is – and look at her collarbone!
Dodgeville nurse: Oh, she’ll figure things out soon enough – it’ll come to her. And the collarbone, heck, she can get that patched up anytime!
Colleen and Jillian look over at me again. A migratory barn swallow, having mistaken my jutting broken collarbone for a navigational point similar to, say, the Rock of Gibraltar, is now perched on my shoulder. I am looking at the outline of my hand now with amazement.
Colleen and Jillian, in unison: We’re not taking her home.

At that point, the doctor who’s been watching over me at Dodgeville comes into the room.

Me: Hey, a new person! Who are you?
Doctor: Okay, well, since I’ve now come into this room 6 times and each time you have no idea who I am, we’re transferring you to Madison.

Also at that point, Madison calls and confirms that since I have bleeding on my brain and a severe concussion, the ambulance should cart me over there, to join the other slew of people who’ve been transported to Madison today from my beloved Dairyland Dare. Hmm, though I guess the very name of the ride now has a new connotation.


Apparently my arrival at the Madison ER was met with much fanfare – but I don’t recall a second of it, dammit. What fun is it to be the center of attention if you can’t bask in glory later in the retelling of it all?? Though given my level of contribution to the conversation, I guess I should be happy that I have any friends left at all, and that they didn’t just shoot me and dump me in a creek somewhere. Luckily, Deanna did seem to find some benefit from the situation.

Doctor: Say, where are those special compression socks we were going to put on her so that she wouldn’t get life-threatening blood clots?
Deanna: Hey, look at these cool compression socks I found lying around! I’m going to try them out, go for a short 3-hour run. See you all soon!
Doctor: Say, and where’s that IV??


Me, in the hospital bed, looking at my Watch of Doom: Hey, I have Ironman in 3 weeks.
Colleen: Umm, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
Me: But I have IMOO in 3 weeks.
Colleen: No, really, not likely to happen.
Me: I have IMOO in 21 days. See?
Deanna: You have a broken collarbone.
Me: IMOO is in 3 weeks. 21 days.
Annette: Nope.
Me: Lookee, I have Ironman in just 21 days.
Me: IMOO is in 3 weeks.
Me: In 3 weeks is IMOO.
Me: Look, just 3 weeks to Ironman.
Doctor, not unkindly: Well, I’ll tell you that I’m in charge of the medical tent at Ironman Wisconsin, so I can tell you that you will NOT be at Ironman Wisconsin in 3 weeks. At least not doing the race.
Me, giggling: Tee hee. Look, Ironman in 3 weeks!
Suddenly I’m staring at my bare wrist. How odd. There’s no Watch of Doom. I’m beyond puzzled and gape at my bare wrist, though out of the corner of my eye I then spot Deanna fiddling with the buttons on my watch. Suddenly the watch is back on my wrist.
Me: See, Ironman in....311 days? Ironspud? Oh, okay. Hey, where’s my bike?

Later, Deanna keeps getting into trouble with the nurses for not stopping me from removing the “collar” around my neck, the one that’s there in case my neck is injured. But I can sympathize with how tough it must be to stop a person with no reasoning power from doing what they want to do at that moment. It would be like dealing with an adult baby, or a Republican. In my case, things are simple, at least in my own mind – the collar annoys me so I remove it. Repeatedly.

Sunday morning

I’ve somehow decided that I’m all alone in the hospital, that no one knows what happened or where I am, so I of course call Deanna to fill her in. Because it’s not like we’re staying at the same cute little place in Mineral Point, where she might notice my absence or anything. A short while later, the girls troop in with their morning caffeine.

Me: Hey, coffee. Can I get some?
Deanna: You mean like your fancy coffee that you usually drink?
Me: No, I mean coffee. Just coffee.
Deanna: But you don’t drink regular coffee. I should know from all those 5AM road trips to ride our bikes in the hinterlands.
Me, firmly: Coffee, black. How tough is that?
Colleen, who drinks coffee so strong that it would peel paint off a wall if a cup were set down nearby: That makes sense to me.
Deanna: But, you hate plain coffee. Even the stuff with milk, you chug it down like medicine, just for the caffeine.
Me, exasperated: I just want some coffee! With maybe some sugar.
Deanna: SUGAR?!? You’ll put sugar in your coffee when pigs fly. I know how you drink it – it’s 2 cream, 2 Splenda. That’s it.
Me, who’s been distracted by someone walking by in the hallway: Hey, coffee. Can I get some?

So you see my point about being lucky to make it out of there alive.

One final data point to show just how annoying I was revolves around teacakes. You see, there's a bakery in the town of Dodgeville that makes not only the best baked goods known to man, all for a mere pittance, but also makes THE best baked doughy goodness ever, the teacake: a spongy, doughy yet light morsel, replete with raisins and with sugar on top. I got hooked on them several years ago while camping in WI near Dodgeville, and now every time I'm somewhere in the vicinity, I insist on stopping in. So, Deanna and I had stopped in on Friday on our way up to Mineral Point and stocked up.

Well, of course when I see Deanna on Sunday morning she has my box of goodies in tow, and I clutch the box to my bosom as if it's a long-lost friend. But even better, every time one particular young doctor comes in to check up on me, I offer him a teacake.

Me: Would you like a teacake?
Him: No, but thank you. I'm still on duty.
Me: Really, have a teacake. They're very tasty!
Him: Thank you, but I can't right now.
Me: No teacake, huh? Are you sure?

And so on. Every time. Death is probably too kind an option for me at this point. But I have to note that I do emerge victorious, eventually. Finally at about the 20th time he stops in and I ask him the usual, he actually says yes.

Me: Would you like a teacake? They're very tasty.
Him: Wellll, sure, I can have one now.

As I proffer my box of precious baked goods, and he takes one, all is right with the world. Say...... doctors who work on neuro wards are used to us crazy people, right? Someone, please tell me yes.....

(next up – a week of sleep and fuzziness, and then more doctors’ visits.....)


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update, I have been worrying about you!! Hope you are feeling better soon. ~Leeza

Colleen said...

As much as I'd like to take credit for insisting that the Dodgeville hospital not release you, it was actually Bridget, Annette, and Jillian. The coffee, however, was me. That, I understood.--Colleen

tribabe said...

"It would be like dealing with an adult baby, or a Republican."

I should pay you to read this blog. Or just send a link to my repub friends.

Missy said...

Adult baby or a republican! HA! I think that's redundant! My husband is a republican; I have first hand experience with the short sighted, narrow focus, one way bullheadedness that comes from being a republican.

The question is, will our marriage survive this election!