"A physician is one who pours drugs of which he knows little into a body of which he knows less." - Unknown
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My stretcher was wheeled into a dark room. A man sat beside me, shoved his knuckles against my nuts and rubbed warm jelly into them and along my left thigh. Five hours after Iíd checked into Duke Hospital I was having an ultrasound scan.
Registering was surprisingly easy. Iíd sat waiting at the admissions desk for a few minutes before a woman asked my name. On hearing it she told another clerk to register me quickly. Maybe my paperwork had ďUrgent! Please Rush!Ē stamped on it, not something Iíd expect at a large hospital. The admissions clerk himself wheeled me to my ward. We stopped at the Nurseís Station. The women at the desk gave the clerk a what-the-fuck-do you want glare. The admissions clerk didnít ordinarily take patients to their rooms and didnít know that he shouldíve gone directly to my room without bothering anybody.
The resident on my Ďteamí showed up about an hour later. I suspect his earnest questioning and note taking was aimed more at proving his fitness to become a doctor than to improving my health.
Later he returned with the attending physician who has to be called Dr. Bedsidemanner. A man-sized Ken doll that smiled continuously without imparting much of anything. They examined my leg without offering anything other than the obvious: my entire lower leg was infected. Ultrasound and X-Rays were scheduled to make sure no blood clots were hidden in the recesses of my legs.
Charles was there for a good stretch. He wanted to spend the night but wasnít feeling well. He may have inherited the virus that I may have gotten from Gordon. Gordon dropped by. )He had a present, a collection of hitherto unpublished fiction by E.E. Smith, Ph.D. More when Iíve read it.)
Theyíd forgotten to schedule an evening meal, pissing me greatly. In hospital or jail, meals if nothing else let you know time is passing.
The choral hydrate didnít help me sleep. I floated in a neutered state: didnít feel like reading, watching TV, could barely sleep but didnít care. My imagination drifted. For a while I reviewed the people Iíd most enjoying sleeping with. Then I thought of a few guys Iíd always wished I had Ė their common quality being exceptionally shaped bottoms. There were the inevitably nutty fragments: some guy was afraid he wouldnít be able to handle the horse he was marrying. (No idea where that came from. As the old science fiction movies say, some things are best unknown.)
Finally breakfast showed up.
And the doctors. Theyíd already told me they wouldnít be using a diuretic to help drain the fluid in my leg. They didnít have a better guess as to cause than my own: Iíd had a prick in my small toe, the virus left my immune system so depressed that the infection in the toe spread through my lower leg which has a tendency towards edema.
Antibiotics aside they didnít seem to have a treatment planned. Repeatedly I asked them about the mechanical compression boot that had been used on me back in í93. Iím not sure if theyíd ever heard of it. But they must of learned. A wound management nurse came in to wrap my leg. She said Iíd be going to Duke's Wound Management Clinic to have my legs wrapped regularly and to be put in the boot.
Properly wrapping a leg is regarded as such specialized skills that only specialized nurses perform it. When I saw my own doctor yesterday she decided against taking the wraps off so she could see my leg. The compression boot is a large hydraulic device that massages my leg to force the fluid out. Iíll be in it about once a week for at least a couple of months. Then Iíll have to wear expensive prescription stockings.
The wraps have made it much easier to walk. Without them I had to slowly lower my foot and stand up a few times before I could walk. Tuesday in the hospital I broke down in tears just getting from the bed to a chair.
Every morning I awake clearheaded and without leg pain. By afternoon I can tell the virus is still alive within me from the fatigue and anomie. But less so everyday. Iíve never had one weaken me for more than two or three days; donít know if this virus is willfully persistent or Iím weaker than I used to be. My leg has to remain elevated most of the time or walking becomes annoying, even painful. This is keeping my out of the shop where I need to be to catalog books and so Gordon wonít have to work seven days a week.
Tomorrow morning Iíll go to the wound clinic. Hopefully after a couple of sessions with the boot Iíll be able to get back to the bookshop.