A few days ago was the one year anniversary of my pulmonary embolism – also known as the time when some blood clots tried to take out yours truly (refresh your memory here). The past year was full of adjustments with having to take blood thinners, wearing hip-to-toe compression sleeves, and having bouts of paranoia but today, I feel healthier and stronger than I have ever been.
So in light of that, I wanted to share a few of the humorous things that happened during my stay in the Krankenhaus. There weren’t many but I have found that if you try, you can generally find humor in any situation.
Smelly Girl: I am not sure if there is ever a great time to go to the hospital but after an intense workout is not one of them. If you recall, I had collapsed in the gym near the end of the workout on a Sunday morning (read: I had not showered beforehand) so you can imagine the stench. I honestly felt bad for anyone who came within a few feet of me. I couldn’t shower for the entire three days because they had my legs wrapped up like a mummy and sponge baths were not a thing. To make matters worse, my room was roughly the temperature of Hades so I was sweating almost nonstop. Sitting there wallowing in my own B.O. does not rank highly on my list of enjoyable experiences.
Dining Options: It was a good thing I didn’t have much of an appetite because the food left a lot to be desired. I was not expecting steaks and lobster but a piece of mystery meat, a cracker, and pickled vegetables does not a meal make. One night they served me 8 slices of salami and a slice of cheese – and I was in the cardio wing. It was like they grabbed one of those packages of meat from the deli section and slapped it on a plate. Only in Germany, I guess?
On my last day, I had been there long enough to actually order my meal in advance and I was super pumped. But because I’m not always the brightest crayon in the box, I messed it up and my breakfast consisted of this sad, lonely piece of bread and honey. My roommates had these lovely breakfasts and here I was slurping on a honey packet.
Love Thy Neighbor: Speaking of roommates, I had some real winners during my short stay there. When I was in the ICU, I had two old men who snored louder than a helicopter. One snored so loud, he startled himself in the middle of the night and fell out of bed taking all the machines with him. The only time I got any sleep that night was when they wheeled him out to run tests and make sure he was okay (he was).
Then, up in my normal room (where there are no curtains or dividers), one of the ladies (in her upper 70’s I’d guess) came over to the small space between my bed and the closets and started stripping down. I could not move at all and at one point, she made some joke and literally slapped her boobs that were hanging right next to my face. Things were seen that cannot be unseen and I am still scarred.
Making Water: Anyone who knows me, knows that I am one of the most hydrated people on Earth. I generally have a bottle of water on me at all times and consume between 5-6 liters per day on average. So you can imagine my struggle when I had to severely limit my water intake in order to minimize the number of times I had to use the bedpan because it was the most awkward experience.
I would basically wait until the moment I was going to explode then I would ring the nurse to ask to use it. They would bring in what is essentially a sauce pan and stick it right under my butt. Now picture having to pee in one of your kitchen pots while laying flat and not being able to bend your legs because you have a catheter inserted in your pulmonary artery via your thigh. Trust me, its an art form….one that I was unable to perfect. Then I would have to ring the nurse to come back in and they would ask if it was solid or liquid before removing the pot and wiping me like a baby. Oh, and this is all in front of my two roommates. When I was finally able to use a proper toilet again on the third day, it was the happiest moment of my life.
All in all, I am really thankful for the care I received in the hospital but I am looking forward to not having to step foot in there any time soon.