Losing Time

Mary E. Latela August 8, 2015

I moved to Medical Hospital two days after Thanksgiving, Arriving at night, I unpacked, said hi to staff people I knew. My room was near the nurses’ station.

On the next afternoon, I asked a girl to get me a coke, gave her a dollar. She left the unit, went down to the canteen, and returned without the coke, said she forgot it.

I lay on my bed.





Ten days later, I was awakened by a loud voice. Our very favorite, sexist, bossy male nurse was yelling: “Medication!” I shot up in bed, walked slowly, holding onto the wall, and stood in line. Then I lost my balance, tried to reach for the gal in front of me, who was a bit startled and pushed me back, and I felt myself falling down…. In …. Slow .. motion. My right leg twisted, and the most horrible pain shot through me. The others grabbed the noisy nurse, who said, “I’ve never see a leg twisted like that!”

It was clear there was at least one break. At the city hospital, after a short ambulance drive, there was much excitement among the resident M.D.s  As it turned out, Joe Montana, the football star, had suffered exactly the same injury at around the same time, so the young docs were jockeying for a position at the surgery.

After eight days of waiting for the swelling to recede, I had the full attention of surgeons operating on broken tibia and fibula, and ankle. I had a spinal for anesthesia.  Surgery went for an hour and three-quarters. Let me remind you – bone pain is the worst.

On the positive side, I was awake, truly. I asked my doc and my psychologist what I had been saying during the 10 days, and they said I’d been pretty quiet, but very compliant.  Psychologist said I had refused to talk to him, then gone back to say, sorry, I will talk with you.

It gets worse. I caught an infection, had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic, developed a horrid rash, blood levels were messed up, and I was told to stay in bed for a day or two. Then, little by little and off all meds, I gradually improved, rash disappeared, and I had another antibiotic to add to my growing list of allergies.

Oh, and then it was Christmastide.


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