zen.org Communal Weblog

April 23, 2011

MacGyver Has Been In My Hospital

Filed under: — brendan @ 19:15 IST

One of the night nurses told me something interesting, something a little bit odd about this room at the hospital.  It’s not haunted, it’s just—jerry-rigged.  I can see MacGyver doing this trick to make sure he can get help at the last minute, or set off some bomb hidden in the walls behind the bad guy.

Picture of the call button and the Call/Reset panel on the wall.

Any time the patient across from me (there are only two beds in this room) turns the light above his bed off or on, it makes the nurse call button on my side think it’s been pressed.  For whatever reason, my neighbor hasn’t taken to turn on his light very much since we’ve been sharing this space.  All this means is I’ve not yet been able to train myself to consciously turn it off when I see the light start blinking.  This makes me the perfect unprepared adversary for my imaginary episode.

Brand spankin’ new platelets

This afternoon they gave me, via my central line, a bag of platelets because the platelets count went under the magical 20—only just, at 19, where the numbers they like is 150-400 (though 68 yesterday wasn’t of concern).  We looked at the label, and were amazed: these were donated by someone yesterday, April 22nd.

Just can’t get used to the idea of this.  I wonder where that person is right now?  What did they do after they left wherever they did the donation?

They’re giving me this because platelets are important for helping make blood clot, among other things.  This is where my eye problems came from.  We had a couple of great conversations with one of the medical team haemotologist (specialize in everything related to blood) and, later, also my lead doctor.  At the beginning, around day 3 of being in the hospital, the retinal bleeding happened because of a number of things including the fact that my platelets were incredibly low, while my white cells were way way too high.  The result?  Anything which might start to bleed will struggle to make it stop because the excessive white cells are crowding out the platelets which are racing like firemen with sirens blaring to help fix it.  (At this point, I trust our family and friends with drastically better qualified knowledge of this stuff can let me know if I’ve misrepresented anything.)

Knitting II: Read The F’n Instructions

So last night I realized my knitting project had somehow strayed from where it should be; instead of 20 stitches per row, it had somehow grown to have 25.  Oops.  S’ok, having taken a few days’ break (to do computer hacking [in the good whitehat version of the word]) from knitting, I decided to start over.

When Elana came to visit today, I proudly presented my completely-restarted project, complete with fresh slipknot, cast-on, and a decent number of rows completed.  Her expression told me something didn’t look quite right.  Did I drop stitches and not notice?  Did I do a yarn-over?

No, I hadn’t read the damn instructions properly.  Step 1: K2P1 x 6 then K2 (pretend this is in Greek characters), Step 2: Knit all rows.

Helps if you actually DO step 2.  It’s like I turned on the oven, put the casserole in, and forgot half of the ingredients.

So I’ve started over, again.  This sort of thing can certainly happen when you’re programming, so it’s not necessarily so odd an experience as to make me think I should give up.  It’s more a realization that I’ve not been really paying attention to what I’m doing.

Where’s the spaghetti?

Tea (dinner) tonight was supposed to be spaghetti bolognese.  It tasted ok, but if you look in the picture, do you see spaghetti, or do you see twisted bits of pasta?

Picture of my food tray
I know, it’s fusilli which technically is sometimes termed “Twisted Spaghetti”, but I argue it looks absolutely nothing like what you’d think a bunch of spaghetti twisted together would really look like.

By the way, if I hadn’t said “with veg,” the two halves of roasted tomato wouldn’t have been on my plate.  I’m just sayin’…

Hospital TV is all about mind games

Except for the occasional sporting event (like the rugby match I’m partly watching right now while writing this), as I described before I don’t watch much TV here.  Thankfully the patient who moved into this room with me yesterday does use headphones, all the time!  No more loud TV until one of us move.  Woo hoo!

But the person setting up the television feed inside this building either wanted to play a practical joke, or, more likely, was working their job without any attention to—I don’t know, to order and logic?  Thinking it through?

This is part of the list of channels:

  • Channel 1: RTE Two
  • Channel 2: TV3
  • Channel 3: RTE One

Do you see Waldo in that list?  Do you see, how I do, a much more usable pattern which would make it really easy to predict what number to press for a given channel?

I think that’s just mean.  But maybe it’s my obsessive side which is reacting to something not noticed by normal, sane, stable patients.

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