The Bedpan Diaries

The white blob is where that part of my brain used to be.

Sunday, November 18th, 2007.
No one really cares what day it is. Least of all, me. But I’d better damn-well know any time a nurse or Dr. Martin asks. Wouldn’t want to appear disoriented. Wouldn’t want to come off like some sort of stroke victim. 
Holy shit, that’s what I am! Better keep testing my left side motor skills. Look, Doctor Martin, I can flip the bird with my left hand. It’s a fucking miracle!

Why must these people refer to us as, Sweetie, Darlin’ and Hon? Isn’t that what you call your grandchildren? I feel like I’m dealing with a waitress at a lost-in-time greasy spoon. But more about the food later.
Nothing ever changes. It was the same way at Riverview — a four star dungeon and torture chamber in the Fraser Valley that, by the time I checked in, in the early nineties, had outlived its uselessness by a hundred years. Time for your ECT, Darlin’. Same shit, different bedpan.

Asking a hospital patient the day of the week is a cruel joke. Of course, I know the day of the week. Today is the day I woke up at seven to the sound of Violet wheezing and Steve making another phone call. That definitely pegs it as Wednesday. Or Tuesday. Or Monday. Uh, what day is it, again?
So,how be we take that catheter out right now, Violet? Eh, Darlin? Yeah, how be we don’t. Since I’m right in the middle of my 75 grams of scrambled eggs and six ounces of fortified oatmeal. How be you stick that catheter up your fucking ass, you Nazi rat bastard!

Okay, now that was just plain uncharitable. To be fair, nobody is born evil. Let’s imagine for a moment that I was put in charge of a group of people with mild to severe brain damage. In time, I, too, might develop a sense of intellectual superiority. I might begin to think of these people as helpless little children. I might begin to call Kathleen, Steve
and Violet, Darlin, Sweetie and Hon. Circumstance makes monsters of us all.

Now it’s time to take a quick tour around S608. In bed A we have Kathleen. Nice lady, squeezed me some of her toothpaste. Kathleen has a back problem that’s become a neurological problem. Quite right. This is the Neuro Sciences Wing, after all. I think of it as the brain damage ward.

Moving right along, we have bed B. My main man, Mr. Steve Shute. Stevareno. The Stevenator. Steve makes a lot of phone calls from his bed. Who could blame him. I don’t know the cause of his neurological predicament, but it appears to be serious. I think he has been in bed B for a couple months now and I overheard one of his sons discussing long-term care with a doctor this afternoon.

I have bed C. And a promise from doc Martin that I will be leaving by the weekend. I’ll hold him to that.

And finally, bed D, Violet. Also a fairly long-termer. The night nurse just came by and actually seems kind of hot. Of course, that doesn’t give me any ideas. Don’t want another stroke, now do we, Hon?

By the way, I was told today by the occupational therapist that it is not uncommon for stroke victims (We prefer the term stroke survivors.) to be overly emotional, argumentative, irrational and so forth. Hmmm, isn’t that kind of like telling a black man that medical science has found niggers to be paranoid, thin skinned, and have a tendency to imagine all sorts of racist slurs. Or maybe that’s just me being unnecessarily argumentative.

Hey, I have brain damage, what’s your excuse?

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