Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Crossing the Rubicon

      The legal team presumably examined the letter of consent on Monday and found it satisfactory. Victoria and Keisha came to my room that afternoon with a hard copy ready for me to sign. These folks wasted no time. Or they never red the thing because they had no intention of ever allowing Dr. Cooler to see it before pulling the tube. This doubt is why I wrote 'presumably' read above. There was only so much back and forth that could be effectively done with the powers that be considering how little they cared about following the rules in the first place.
       I read over it. You never could tell if they would try to alter this or add something else. It turned out to be the genuine article as I had written it. Well, wonders never cease. I signed, and so did Victoria with Keisha witnessing both signatures. So Wilson Senior Care/Oakhaven were one step closer to booting me out the door like they wanted. Oakhaven did not waste any time scheduling an appointment with Dr. Cooler to have the feeding tube removed. I was to have it removed Wednesday morning.
       I had been so caught up in the drama surrounding my exit from hostile territory I never spent much time thinking about what removing the feeding tube would entail. I do not mean the probable continued weight loss. It was steadily falling still, but there were not palatable options for keeping it in. I did not want to go to another nursing home and I definitely should not stay at Oakhaven. I mean I had never thought what it was going to be like when the feeding tube was literally removed. It would have to be given such a hard yank Dr. Cooler insisted on doing it himself rather than allow a nurse from Oakhaven to pull it out. It sounded like it was going to hurt.
       The anticipated pain nagged at me for two days until I wound up back in Dr. Cooler's office. Jackie was back this time without a CNA. I guess a witness was no longer necessary. Dr. Cooler finally came in and asked if I was ready for real this time. I told there was a consent letter I had written.. He looked through the envelope, but I assume it was not there as he asked about me writing my own letter. He left the examining room to call Oakhaven. Now I was in a strange position. Oakhaven probably had not included the consent letter. Maybe they did not want him to know Oakhaven and I were at odds. I do not know. But the idea it was not including in the paperwork bugged me enough to consider calling the feeding tube's removal off until the consent letter was included. The need to assert myself again over these shenanigans bubbled up inside me.
        Then the bubbles burst.
      I was beyond sick of dealing with these people. We had been sparring for two months now. While I ultimately won every round free and clear, I was worn down by the unethical behavior and general animosity I was facing. Maybe the stress of fretting over the pain of the feeding tube removal was the straw that broke the camel's back. I do not not even in hindsight, but I knew then I wanted this all to be over with quickly. So when Dr. Cooler returned, I did not ask him about his conversation with(presumably) Victoria about the consent letter. He asked if I wanted the feeding tube removed. I told him yes.
       I lifted my shirt up enough to expose my belly. My feeding tube was situated between the top of my belly and my clavicle. I laid down and prepared for the worst. Dr. Cooler stood on my right. His nurse stood on my left with a handful of thick gauze. She looked like she was ready to pounce at a split second's notice. Dr. cooler covered the area around the tube with a thin, sterile pad. He got both a firm grip on the tube and my abdomen. He asked if I was ready. I took a deep breath, and gave the go ahead.
       The removal was not really that bad. It happens quickly. The sensation is mostly a pulling sensation, as you would expect. Th friction is bothersome, and it ends with a literal pp as the stopperr folds onto itself while exiting the hole. I grunted a bit, but by the time any verbal acknowledgment of pain could be made, it was already over. The skin tore a bit. The nurse applying pressure with the gauze hurt more than anything else. All physical discomfort eased off quickly.
       I had the feeding tube for two years. With it, I rose from a death's doorstep weight of 68 lbs to a high of 112 lbs. (I was down to 105 lbs at this point.) So a long, tough journey ended because my caregivers did not want to follow the rules. Well, I never seemed to have much luck depending on other people for anything no matter how important. In this case, important meant their sole purpose—providing for my healthcare. As usual, my bad luck was in full swing.
       I did not have the inclination to think about that. After being bandaged up, I found myself unusually shaken. It was probably just a rapid come down from the excitement of it all. Or maybe it was anxiety issues all coming to a head. When I got back to Oakhaven, Keisha asked if I wanted an Ativan. I was prohibited from eating or drinking for four hours, but evidently a pill and a couple swigs of water would not hurt anything. I envisioned myself like one of those cartoon characters who gets stabbed and appears to be uninjured until he drink something and it pours out the wound. As it turned out, I did...well, leak for days afterward, but nothing bad happened with the pills and water. I passed out peacefully for the evening. The next day was when crap hit the fan in the worst way since this whole mess began.

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