Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wet On Both Ends Of It

So. I sat the afternoon with Shirley Monday. I apologized for being a chicken shit bad friend. She assured me that I was the best of friends. Her living room has been transformed into an ersatz hospital with shelving holding an incredible array of dressings, tubes, syringes, sponges, glues, unguents and salves.

Her husband Ray was there when I first came. I brought him a hot lunch and he went out to run errands while I stayed with Shirley. Ray is being forcefully bright - cutting jokes and cracking wise to cover a panic that's so close to the surface that it crackles.

Even Cookie the doberman is stressed out. She looked skinny and fitfully runs in and out of the room looking at Shirley. I need to have a sit-down with the dog and tell her what's going on. I shared part of my 7-layer burrito with her. She looked like she needed the food and the distraction.

Shirley's very thin because she's on a straight liquid diet because of this enormous hole with a hip width open scar below it in her abdomen with liquid chime sloshing out of it and another fistula that is out of the skin and won't heal. I changed her gown a number of times after cleaning her bottom and legs from the leakage. The big crease is so deep the ostomy glue won't hold the bag to incase her wound. You can very clearly see what's left of her intestines and the bottom of her stomach. This last slash and burn was a surgery of errors. Barbaric if you ask me.

The RN came at the end of the afternoon. I helped the home nurse change her ostomy bags out for a dry dressing since the bags were leaking. Her skin is so raw and ulcerated from the leakage that it'll be a good thing for a few days without the bags to let it air out.

We didn't talk much. I told her about the project I have and she said she'd like to do it. We'll wait until next week when she's not so exhausted. She's so weak and tired that I read a National Geo while she napped much of the time. She said how disgusting it was, her condition when she woke up.

"It's wet and slimy coming in and just the same going out", I answered.

I did not bring my cards. There is no need. We both know her future.

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