Nichole the.. Patient.

I feel like its hard to write the rest of my hospital stay in the correct order, most days blended or felt like they didn’t exist at all. I remember when my surgeon came in a told me I would be able to get the blue towel unstapled from my leg, I was so excited, until they pulled the staples out. There were quite a few in my leg but only one was mangled and pulled my thigh in many directions as the nurse fought with it to get it out. After they were done taking it off they told me I would have this yellow patch of gauze on my leg until my scab had healed for the most part. Now, it was time to see my hand. I wasn’t ready, prepared, however you want to say it. It wasn’t my hand anymore, or just my hand, it was a mixture of a piece of my thigh mixed with stitches. I was told not to move it because he had put the graft over the knuckle of my index finger, even though he and I discussed before the surgery that he wouldn’t. I don’t know why but I felt a little betrayed when I saw that, but what the fuck was I gonna do now? I was told over the next few days I would have this crazy plastic contraption attached to my hand/arm until my graft was a little more healed. But, I wasn’t ready to put away this new hand of mine.077D42CA-F018-42F8-98AC-91AA6888D52C_L0_001

I had a lot of emotions that I didn’t know how to express so I went back to telling jokes. The surgeon told me he scored my graft so that it would heal better. As soon as I heard the word score and saw the tiny lines throughout it I thought of all the dough I had scored in my career. My little knife that I called “greenie” and wondered if the knife he used was similar. I don’t remember getting the giant plastic contraption put back on my arm but I do remember accidentally hitting myself in the head with it a few times and also being terrified that I would scrape my newly scraped thigh. I was alone quite a bit during the day when my mom would have to go home and I would be waiting for my boyfriend. One of the few times is when my case manager came in to introduce herself. She told me she was the liaison between myself and the workmen’s comp insurance, she was on my side.. our first meeting didn’t feel like that. After she introduced herself to me she asked why I spilled hot oil on my hand. If I were able to throat punch her, I would have at that very moment. I had to explain to her how the accident happened in detail. Explain to her how I might never be able to do what I loved again. Explain to her that she better not approach me like that ever again. She left. The only food I remember ordering was chicken tortilla soup.. I ended up getting chicken broth with overcooked tortellini. I typically love pasta, but that was horrible. I was stuck there, I was stuck taking slow steps to the bathroom, stuck hearing other people’s conversations near by, stuck waiting for my family and friends to reach out or my boyfriend to come over after work. It felt like an endless cycle. I couldn’t even sleep well, every night when my boyfriend stayed on the fold out chair I would watch him sleep. It turned into this thing where I would get anxiety if I couldn’t watch him sleep because I was irrationally afraid he would die. I didn’t poop for five days because of the pain meds they gave me right after my surgery. My stomach started bloating and hurting and nothing was helping, no food was sounding good and I was silently falling into my own depression. I kept telling joke, I kept smiling and acting like I was ok. When I couldn’t sleep I’d put sounds of the ocean on and close my eyes to act like I was in front of an ocean, until I would move and have to readjust everything just to make sure that my blanket didn’t go over my thigh while simultaneously making sure that I didn’t hit myself with the giant plastic contraption. I remember the day they released me. I remember being terrified. The last time I had been sent home I basically did a turn around trip because of the infection. The feeling of “oh, fuck” was amazingly overwhelming. But, I missed home. I missed my own comfort, I missed sharing a bed with my love. It was time to go and the last nurse that helped me was Frieda, the one that had helped me that first night I was ever in the hospital. I took it as a good sign. My boyfriend pulled my car around and I was wheeled down to the front of the hospital. I remember getting out of the wheel chair babying every limb on the right side of my body, I was terrified to close the door, I was terrified to go over bumps, on the freeway, really, anything. I just wanted to get some carne asada nachos and be home.

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