I tried to get as much sleep as possible that first night in the hospital. It’d been a long journey to get here — three and a half days to be exact. But I’d spend the next three and a half in that hospital bed. I gave the nursing staff and my doctor a scare or two. My temperature ran up to 102 degrees at one point. They packed ice around body and fed me acetaminophen to try battle the fever. It lingered a bit. Then took off. Of course, it came back a few times, but never as high as that first scare on Thursday morning.
Just a favorite road photo from the early part of my journey taken in central British Columbia, Canada in August 2005
The wounds from the surgical incisions seem to leak excessively. When Dr. Chang showed up I asked if we could change it. The blood stain spreading on the gauze around my thigh wasn’t pretty. He said, “nah”, we’ll wait until clinic when it won’t be so painful. But I was instructed to give a good 10 inhales per hour on my new toy — Voldyne 2500 — they wanted to make sure I didn’t develop pneumonia. I performed these exercises flawlessly.
On Friday just a day and a half after surgery a young lad from the physical therapy department paid me a visit. Seems he wanted to get me out of bed and start walking — with a walker. Damn leg is rather heavy and even though it’s fitted to just below the knee I had trouble bending that thing. But we made baby steps and cruised the hallway of the 11th floor. A nurse I’d me the day before greeted me and then tightened up the back of my silly hospital gown. Perhaps I was showing just a bit too much ass.
I greeted the assistants several times a day with good cheer as they took my temperature, blood pressure and pulse. The IV was still flowing and I was still pushing my button to get my hourly dose of morphine. The worst part of this hospital experience was the itching. I was told it’s from the morphine. I’d been at my back for two days and it was a rash of scratches and blisters. My toes were looking painfully dry but itched too.
The food at Hoag was surprisingly good. I received a daily phone call or visit from the nutritionist and was able to pick my menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For the first day I barely ate. But slowly my appetite returned and I was able to digest some food.
On Saturday a new nurse was a bit amazed and confused as to why I was still hooked up to the morphine. She said I should have been weaned off of it and moved to an oral medication. She took charge of this. So when the physical therapy guy returned on Saturday I was not moving as good as I did the day before. He suggested that he’d return later in the day. That is, after the oral pain medication kicked in.
Angie heard from Jeremiah who was still stuck in Tica Tica while I was stuck at Hoag. The weather hadn’t let up, and the road to Uyuni was now impossible to pass. He had to make a U-turn and had back to an alternative route into Chile. He also had arranged for Doc to be trucked back to the hotel I’d stayed in the night before the accident. They didn’t want to keep the bike long. I needed to quickly find a place to house Doc until I could heal and get back. Apparently, on the truck ride from Tica Tica to Potosi the rough road did a number on the side stand. Seems that thing has been hassling me for some time. I’ll have to find a used one or something before heading back to Bolivia.