Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Chair worth fighting for

During that week in the hospital, I had the standard motorized bed, a recliner, and a regular chair. I figured out pretty quickly that I wasn't going to be able to sleep in that bed. It was comfortable enough, I guess, but I couldn't breathe through my nose; it felt stuffy. I'd nod off, then startle awake, feeling like I was suffocating. On top of that, the bed was automated: every time I shifted, trying to get comfortable, the damn bed would start grinding and inflating and deflating the mattress, trying to help. I never did figure out how to stop it.

So I slept in the recliner. I still wasn't getting a lot of quality sleep. Every four hours someone would come in and take my blood pressure, temp, and oxygen readings. On a different 4-hour schedule, the nurse would come in to drug and medicate me. Around 4:30, someone else would grab a blood sample. At 6:30, one of the doctors would pop in, look things over, and move on (and I'd have to claw my way out of that chair to close the damn door). Seven a.m., breakfast. Seven-thirty, housekeeping. Over the rest of the day it was busier. No one really sleeps in a hospital, it seems.

Once I was cut loose, I spent the first week in my room trying to pile pillows on my bed so that I could sleep sitting up. I still couldn't breathe lying down. It didn't work the way I wanted, so I started looking for a recliner.

Montage: teaming up with a friend, me hobbling on a crutch as we went to thrift shops and Good Will, up and down the Flea Market stalls...checking used furniture stores...the cheapest one we found was $150. Nope. I ended up utterly wrecked; my freaking leg wouldn't let me go more than a few hundred feet at a time before giving out.

Craig's List, put in a few details to limit the search, and *VOOM!* There's my chair. $35.00, just what I was willing to spend. Picking it up and getting it home was the easy bit...but I had to bulldoze my room to make space for the thing, and I damn near killed myself getting it into the house (no one around to help). What took the seller a minute of carrying the thing out to the car took me nearly 2 hours from car to room, with frequent stops for 20-minute rests. I was wrecked all over again, stubborn idiot that I am. This is the "worth fighting for" part.

It's not perfect, but I've gotten something closer to "through-the-night" sleep in the last two nights than in the last two weeks.

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