Anatomy of a stroke – part 4

I lay back down in my bed and was there for another two minutes when I had to throw up AGAIN!  This pattern continued all night until after 6 am.  I would lie down for two minutes, maximum, and be back at the sink for 10.  I finally dozed off at around 7 am but was woken up by a lady dropping off my breakfast.  They gave me a cup of tea and a couple of plain cookies. I was moving very slowly and took my time finishing breakfast.  I was hungry but I was tired of throwing up so I gingerly ate my two cookies and only drank half of the tea. 

There was movement in the emergency room so I poked my head out of the room and asked for directions to the bathroom.  I started walking the halls trying to remember which way to turn.  I was marveling at how old the building looked when I found the toilette.  Toilettes are unisex in France so I did my business while looking over my shoulder and then headed back to my closet.

Actually, I started feeling pretty good.  Have you ever been sick and finally make an appointment with the doctor only to get there and you are suddenly not feeling sick anymore?  That is how I was feeling.  I cannot explain it but it was like I was spontaneously all better.  I just wanted to brush my teeth, take a long hot shower and crash for a couple of hours.  No sooner had I made it back to my room when a hospital attendant poked his head in the door.  He was there with an old beat up wheelchair and motioned for me to sit down.  Off we went down the hall making left and right turns.  I had no idea where we were going but wherever it was we were making good time.

The attendant made a sharp right turn and skidded to a stop in front of a long cylindrical machine.  I was to have an MRI.  Finally, they did something to me that made sense.  What was strange, though, was that no doctor ever came to see me.  I had no idea of who was treating me; I guess Doogie ordered the MRI when he was on duty the night before.   The MRI took about an hour and then speed racer whisked me back to room.

I was not there very long when they came and got me again.  This time I was taken through a maze of corridors and small and dank elevators.  I was pushed into a private room and told that I would be staying for the weekend by a nurse who was waiting for me.  My room was very plain but it was a REAL room.  It was about 15′ x 15′ and had a REAL bed in the middle of the room.  Also, there were nightstands on either side of the bed and one of them had an old black dial-up telephone sitting on it.  The walls looked like they were painted concrete block walls that went to the ceiling.  The window was opened and a warm summer breeze was flowing in.  Actually, my room was very comfortable.  The nurse spoke some English and told me that lunch would be there shortly.    The nurse was French but she spoke English well enough that we could have an intelligent conversation.  She had a French nurse uniform on, which was a loosely fitting light blue and white dress with a white scarf covering her hair.  She looked like a combination of nun and gypsy.  Immediately, I felt secure knowing that she was my nurse.  I felt a big sigh of relief as she introduced me to my room.  She showed me how to call in case I needed her.  This was REALLY weird because I had to use the telephone to contact her; I did not care, though.  Also, she informed me that the doctor said I could take the hard neck brace off.  Thank goodness!  I could not stand how awkward that hard plastic neck brace made me feel.  I was feeling human again, happy that I was not feeling abandoned, like last night, and glad that someone knew that I was alive!

It was almost noon when my lunch arrived.  I absolutely love French food.  Not only was this meal well balanced but the roll and fruit were fresh and delicious.  I was taking a nap when my two buddies knocked on the door and walked in.  These were the same two guys who were with me in my hotel room when I had the TIA episode last night.  They both immediately started teasing me about how bad my hotel room smelled from my puke fest last night.  They told me that the hotel maid had to leave the door to my room open along with the windows.  We all had a good laugh about the poor person that had to clean the bathroom.  I forgot to mention earlier that because I was drinking red wine with my dinner and that everything that came out of my stomach was red.  Sorry, I told you that my story was not pretty!  Anyway, what was funny about this was that the walls of my hotel bathroom were covered with red throw up, which made the clean up even grosser!

I made a list of what I needed from my hotel room and asked them to go get my stuff for me.  I wanted to spend my time in the hospital working.  I had some very important things for the aircraft we were working on and it was my job to verify that it would receive certification from the French FAA.  I had nothing but work on my mind.  There were so many tasks in various stages of completion and I could not afford to get behind in my work.  While they were gone, I decided to take a shower, shave and brush my teeth.  Here is another different thing about French hospitals.  The French hospitals do not supply towels.  If you need towels you are expected to bring whatever you need from home.  I did not find this out until my friends had left.  The nurse must have felt sorry for me and gave me some clean linen to use to dry myself off with.  I only had to wait about 45 minutes and then they were back.  I dismissed them immediately because I had a date with a hot shower.  They brought everything I requested, my briefcase, clean clothes and shaving bag that had all of my toiletries in it.

Oh, another strange thing was that the hospital was so old that the rooms did not have bathrooms in them.  If you had to relieve yourself you had to walk down the hall.  The communal bathroom also had communal showers.  Honestly, I was not really surprised.  The French are very casual about displaying body parts.  After all, their beaches are topless and the commercials display bare boobs all the time.  They even have a pornographic television station.  So I hurriedly took a shower and got myself cleaned up.  I was feeling absolutely marvelous.  It felt so good to get all clean and freshened up.  I returned to my room and spent the better part of the day working out of my briefcase.  I went to bed early.  To be continued…



One Response

  1. […] Anatomy of a stroke – part 4 […]


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