Tales from the Ward Chapter 49

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Workmen

8am this morning the noise of something large being trollied down the corridor towards my room disturbs me.

I can distinguish now the sounds of the different wheeled ward vehicles normally found here: the hoist, the towel trolley, and the housekeeper’s bucket.

But this is a new one.

There’s an ominous squeal as the door opens. I’m mid bite through a slice of marmite and toast.

The workman pokes his head around the door. “Morning”, he says cheerily, as he drags a huge plastic box into the room.

“Do you like the size of my toolbox?”, he asks, ever so suggestively.

The sexual innuendo is lost on me so early in the morning. I’ve not even dried my hair.

He fiddles with the contents of the box a bit and we discuss the height of a plastic sheet holder he wants to stick on my wall.

“I’ll come back in an hour or so,” he says.

Three hours later when I’d given him up for dead he reappears. The electric drill whirs maniacally at several thousand revs a second. Then a whoosh and a thump.

“Sounds like a hollow plaster board (cheap) wall,” I say.

“Yes,” he replies impressed.

There is some more whirring. Then a “fuck”. A “sorry.” And a “cheap bloody shit”.
Another sorry. “I broke the plastic holder”.

He disappears and I’m reminded of Mr Bodgeit my old Malaysian builder, who was very lucky to escape castration after screwing up the aircon plumbing in my former KL home.

I see him later in the car park with the four other maintenance men.

A Bodgeit convention no less.

They seem deep in conversation about the white van that hasn’t moved in the four months I’ve been here.

He catches sight of me looking and they all turn around guiltily in case I have telescopic lip reading skills.

I disappear off to physio. When I return there’s a pile of plaster board dust on the floor.

The plastic sheet is up at last.

With seven extra holes drilled in the wall for extra decoration.

UnknownBodgeit lives

Tales from the Ward, Chapter 48

Bite Marks and other dramas

It’s gone two hours since neurotic Noelle swept dramatically into physio demanding extra treatment because she was having an MRI on Monday.

Loudly she announces: I think I have a brain tumour.

I snort in derision.

The idea is so preposterous I want to laugh out loud. It’s an unfortunate part of her condition. If she really was that sick she would not be here.

I can’t laugh at her, so I bite my arm hard to stop myself.

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I’m shaking in hilarity. Pilar is grinning like a Cheshire Cat.

Eventually I calm down enough to continue with my session, but I notice the teeth marks on my arm.

In perfect alignment. The result of two years in braces.

Noelle’s drama – real or – most likely – imagined is not the only one.

Quadriplegia’s back to quadriplegic status after fitting for two hours following a virtual walking marathon out of the gym and around the lobby twice last week.

Her exhausted brain shaking the night away and shutting down her body.

And then Pilar disappeared to Spain for 10 days. Family Emergency.

I figured, I told her on her return: Either someone has died, someone is sick or someone has committed a serious crime.

She smiled. My mother is unwell, she tells me.

Lunch arrives but I’m not hungry. My bite marks are still fading.

Tales from the Ward Chapter 47

May the road rise up…

 

It’s been doing that at lot lately.

Just small steps. Well not steps as such, just very short stands.

And not alone either. Hoisted aloft with the help of a frame, Djokic and Pilar.

On Friday I managed a whole 60 seconds in the gym. Mind you that felt like eternity. Look at the expression on my face.  (It’s meant to be a smile 😂)

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And last week in hydrotherapy pool (super bath temperature warm at 36°c) I stood for three long minutes ably helped by the weight of the water with Paula and Sue.

A previous physio told me once there are about 200 muscles involved in helping you stand from the big (gluteus maximus) to the small (extensor digitorum).

I’m not sure if this number is correct but I’d say with a fairly high degree of accuracy that IF 200 is the right figure 199 don’t work in me right now.

So standing is a big ask.

But if I want the road to rise up to meet my feet rather than having my face fall down to kiss the floor I need to be able to stand independently for two minutes without any help at all.

At least so I can get up to get my trousers down to use the loo.At least so I can get up to get my trousers down to use the loo.

To mangle a few metaphors – only from acorns do oak trees grow…

#onesmallstep #rightdirection #benefitsofrehab #whyidoit#reasonstobecheerful #Rehab #physio 

It costs a lot for me to stay in intensive rehab – about £10,000/$14,000 a month. I don’t have health insurance (no Insurer would cover me) and I get no help from my local health funding authority in the UK. So apart from the initial $14,650 generously donated by my friends I’m spending my life savings to stay here. 

So please keep sharing my story to boost my fund raiser  #www.youcaring.com/savestephaniescawen
 #youcaring

And you can read more Tales from the Ward by following the link to: disabled.com 

Thank you

❤ ❤ ❤

 

Tales from the Ward Chapter 46:

Sunday soccer, Match Report

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We’re a small group of football fans gathered around the tv to watch the Liverpool vs Man City game.

I’m the only Scouser (well technical only) Genuine Woolly Back coming from the south side of the Mersey. I’m on the exercise bike looking with my iPod on.

Bernard’s a City fan complete with blue and white scarf.

Michael loves soccer but is half asleep. He wakes for the kick-off but disappears for a cigarette after 20 minutes.

Liverpool are 1-0 up by then so my eyes have wandered away from the screen.

Bugger, City have just equalised.
Karin and now Morris appear drawn by the excited cries of Bernard.

I’m multi-tasking now watching the game, listening to Jill Scott and writing.

Half time and as tea is at five the crowd dwindles. Michael’s gone for another smoke and I have to shout at him to shut the bleedin’ door, as cold air is blowing in from the balcony.

He supports Arsenal anyway and they lost earlier.

It’s just me and Bernard left.

Liverpool score two in quick succession. A brief hiatus, then City’s goalie is caught off his line. 4-1. Woohoo. Come on you Reds.

A late second half wobble though and City claw it back. Oh gawd.

I fear the headlines: Liverpool throw away easy win.

But they hold on.

Bernard’s son, a Man Utd fan, is on the blower within seconds of the final whistle to rub it in.

Final score: Four-three.

Result. 🙂

Time for a cuppa and a catch up with Quadriplegia.

#LiverpoolFC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tales from the Ward Chapter 44

New Year’s Eve

 

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Rehab is no one’s preferred location for New Year, but you’ve got to make the best of what you’ve got.

Thank God then I’d saved a bit of wine, as Noelle’s extravagant promise of free-flow champers to 25 patients, most of whom need help eating and slurping liquid of any kind, proved a non starter.

But when hubby left at four (presumably for a party with grown ups) and even the Party Queen herself was in bed by five thirty I knew it was game over for a night of debauchery or even mildly tipsy on bubbles.

Notwithstanding what alcohol might do to people’s meds. (Not that that has ever stopped me) 😂

I wheeled round to Quadriplegia, who I’d not seen for a few days, and together with fellow Quaddie Terry we plotted a midnight skinny dip in the hydrotherapy pool.

The fact that we had only one fully working limb out of the 12 available between us, a mere detail.

Stealing key fobs needed to get us there no problem. (Lets forget the fairly Herculean task of getting us all out the Ward first, then down the lift, across 25m of carpeted floor, and through three sets of doors all opening against us before even before we got to the pool)

How do we get into the water? I ask. Easy, throw ourselves in, of course. Doh, says Terry.

Oh silly me, didn’t think of that, Captain Obvious

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What about getting out?

We’ll worry about that later.

We could just let the plug out, says Quadriplegia. Now admittedly it’s been a while since I dived. But…

But it is Karin who provides our biggest laugh.

A diabetic, she narrowly avoided death after getting her insulin/sugar levels wrong. She passed out and was not breathing for some time. No one knows for sure how long, but now she has only a short term memory.

Which is why she’s always going home later or tonight or tomorrow depending on the time of day.

So you’re going home in 2018 then?

No tomorrow

Ok then next year.

No tomorrow.

We do several rounds of  this year/next year, and I know we shouldn’t but we do anyway.

I’m trying not to but we begin laughing at her confusion.

I’m struggling to hide my mirth. Quadriplegia picking up when my giggles falter.

We’re in a feedback loop of self induced hysteria.

Until my lips begin to feel numb and the rooms begins to spin. Shit I need oxygen. I can’t breathe. I’m going to pass out, I gasp. Which only makes quadriplegia shake even more.

Not. Fucking. Helping.

My eyes are screwed tight and tears stream down my face.

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You two are so funny, Karin says, oblivious.

If only she knew.

I can’t take anymore and I retire hurt.

My sides ache.

 

I still need your help to fund my rehab. Please like/share/donate through you caring.com/savestephaniescawen

 

Tales From the Ward Chapter 43:

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A Christmas Carol

As Christmas approaches I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to keep my mouth shut. I’ve bitten my tongue so much in the last few days listening to Noelle’s constant drivel I’m one bite away from self-inflicted mutism.

Which is something Noelle seems incapable of. The collective weight of her issues threaten the entire fabric of the world wide web. Chief nurse Chloe’s inbox is filled with at least 30 emails daily.

Why don’t you assign her email address to junk status, I suggest. Already done.

The shrink wants me to channel my thoughts, so I pen a short rewrite of a festive favourite.

The Twelve Complaints of Noelle

 

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On the first day Christmas Noelle threatens me: You’ll never hear the end of me

On the second day of Christmas my patient begged of me: two hours o’rest, or you’ll never hear the end of me.

On the third day of Christmas my patient spat at me: three bad meals, two hours o’rest or you’ll never hear the end of me.

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On the fourth day of Christmas my patient gave to me: four acid looks, three bad meals, two hours o’rest and you’ll never hear the end of me.

On the fifth day of Christmas my patient awarded me five Gold stars, four acid looks, three bad meals, two hours o’rest and you’ll never hear the end of me.

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On the sixth day of Christmas my patient sent to me: six insulting emails

On the seventh day of Christmas my patient howled at me: seven minute moans

On the eighth day of Christmas my patient bawled to me: eight floods of tears

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On the ninth day of Christmas my patient raged at me: nine daily meltdowns

On the tenth day of Christmas my patient sang to me: ten tuneless carols

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On the eleventh day of Christmas my patient wailed at me: eleven workout whinges

On the twelfth day of Christmas my patient gave to me: twelve hour long tantrums, eleven workout whinges, ten tuneless carols, nine daily meltdowns, eight floods of tears, seven minute moans, six insulting emails, five Gold Stars, four acid looks, three bad meals, two hours o’rest or you’ll never hear the end of me

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Happy Christmas everyone and wishing you all a fantastic and better 2018

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I still need your help to raise the rest of my target to fund my stay in rehab. Please take a look at youcaring.com/savestephaniescawen and help spread the word.

We’re stuck at $14,400. The same again would be fantastic. Rehab is working, a little bit further every day. Thank you ❤ ❤ ❤

 

 

Tales from the Ward Chapter 42:

The Great Christmas Cake Off

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Today as part of Occupational Therapy we’re team making mince pies. Giovanni used to be a chef in Italy. Well, he used to cook pizzas, someone says.

That’s enough to make him our de-facto master chef. And I suggest we call him Gordon.
Yes you can, he replies, in his strongest Italian accent. But you better do what I fucking say.

He’s giggling as the nurses say: no cooking if there’s swearing.

But there’s not much real baking anyway. Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith would be horrified. Shop bought pastry and jars of mincemeat?

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It’s a sacrilege of Santa.

Quadriplegia’s rolling out the pastry while I’m greasing the pastry tins.

Someone doesn’t like mincemeat and wants stewed apple filling.

Then there’s a request for jam from Bernard, whose blood sugar levels are rising despite the best attempts of his wife to keep his diabetes under còntrol.

The only one who’s lost control is me. I can’t speak and can barely breathe I’m laughing so much. Tears are rolling down my face.

Shouldn’t we be blind baking, I suggest, trawling up some long forgotten baking rule from school years.

No, rules our head chef. So I begin to fill our pies with mincemeat.

Are these deep filled then? I try again. This pastry making is serious business. I’d never even heard of the concept until I saw it mentioned in a Christmas tv ad a few days ago.

I don’t know what that means, says Giovanni. The idea or my sentence, I ask?  Oh never mind.

My next challenge: how to glaze the tops with an egg wash when I’ve already liberally sprinkled them with cinnamon powder.

 

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I still need funds to continue my rehab. Please share my story. You can find out more by taking a look at youcaring.com/savestephaniescawen. Thank you.
Merry Christmas to all those celebrating and Happy Holidays. Wishing you all a fabulous and better 2018

❤ ❤ ❤