Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Well, I was going to tell you all all about the most interesting stroke symptoms ever,

But then Stoya and The Mankiller decided to try to blow up the unit.

I left early yesterday; Stoya and I split a couple of shifts so she could do stuff and I could make doctor's appointments. Not half an hour after I left, apparently, Stoya and The Mankiller had to take a patient downstairs for some scan or another, and, as they unplugged the bed from the wall, had a crisis.

The wall plug--which I had called our maintenance guys about and which had supposedly been fixed--sparked, caught fire, and then fell backwards into the wall. And yes, it then caught the wall afire.

I cannot leave those girls alone for a second. As I told Stoya, you're not supposed to set the building on fire if you have a staffing problem; you're *supposed* to tip patients out the back window to rebalance the census.

Anyhow, everybody did everything exactly right. Stoya grabbed the patients; Mankiller grabbed the fire extinguisher; there were some F-bombs dropped over the intercom as they hollered for help. Everybody was fine in the end, that room was evacuated, and it's closed for the next few days as things get *fixed* fixed.

All I can say is, the maintenance dude who swore up and down that he fixed the wall plug is now on my bad books. I am going to go over everything in there with a freaking fine-toothed comb before I let anybody into that room.

Whew. Y'know, I was a little bugged that we were forced to work with leftover, scavenged equipment in a leftover, scavenged set of rooms. Now I'm much, much more bugged, because our infrastructure has been conclusively proven to be unsafe. I feel sort of like Mrs. Rochester, except we're not *quite* up in the attic.

In Post-Cancery McCancersons news, two doctors have now assured me that there's absolutely no reason whatsoever that the distal portion of the sensory branch of my trigeminal nerve should still be acting up. It's not painful, exactly, but it's weird. The right-hand side of my mouth, as in the gums and chin and lower lip, is numb and feels like plastic, and I can feel where the distribution of the nerve is down my cheek and jaw, if that makes sense.

Multiple other people who've had their jaws unhinged say that yes, the trigeminal nerve does tend to get wonky afterwards. They all say it'll take about six months before I can feel my upper teeth and gums, though the lip should come back faster.

That's one drag about having a fairly rare cancer: the doctors, as much as they try and as hard as they work to keep up, really don't know that much about the postoperative period, either physical or psychological. There just aren't enough people every year who need their traps dissected for docs to have good information.

I also met my first post-Drama oral cancer patient this week. He's a young guy, about my age, with HPV-related tonsillar cancer. He was immediately post-op and needed an IV, so I got called to start it. His wife and I talked about OCF and trismus and how soon he'd be able to get out of the hospital (one day sooner than I did, that stinker). Then I went into the breakroom and kind of stared at the wall for a while. I know I'm lucky, but meeting a guy who has months of chemo and radiation ahead of him really made me appreciate it again.

That is, I'm lucky in almost all ways. I'm unlucky in that I apparently have two insane firebug coworkers. Other than that, things are great.


Anonymous said...

I know seeing that patient made you grateful for where you are. I'm sure that he and his family were glad to have met you -- you give them hope. I know that when I'm meeting people with the same kind of cancer as my family members it's hard for me to keep from predicting their course. Hang in there. Deep breaths. Don't let cancer schmancer lead you into the dark. Stay in the light, dear.

Did I tell you today that I love your blog? You oughta publish some of this.

Penny Mitchell said...

I'm so glad you've heard from people who have actually been there that the nerve thing is not unusual.

Prayers for your oral cancer patient. And Prayer Number 2,397,356,010,987 of thanks for how your surgery turned out.

messymimi said...

You have my sympathy. My 14-year boy is a pyro. At least he has kept it to the fire pit and the bbq -- so far.

Don't you love docs who tell you that it isn't possible for you to be feeling what you feel? You know you best, try to help them remember that. I would suggest an uppercut, but you do too much good where you are to be in the slammer, so I'll leave it to you to figure something less violent.

Elyse said...

If only maintenance dudes who do crappy work could catch the subtle message of narrowed eye and the slightly arched eyebrow of miff when they are next in our presence all would be . .well at least better. I guess calling him a careless dumbass would be off the table.

terri c said...

I think you need to requisition fire extinguishers for all the rooms on your unit. And then when you are orienting patients you'll have to have them pass a competency on fire extinguisher procedure.

Anonymous said...

Can you still post those stroke symptoms.....I am curious.