Sunday, October 20, 2019

My Bout of Loopiness

I’m not quite ready to write about my friend’s death. Instead, today I’ll share with you my recent trip to Emergency. 

I was born with asthma. As I grew older, Mom taught me to distract myself when I couldn’t breathe. “Dolores, if you think about breathing, you won’t be able to,” she said. “Distract yourself! Think about something else and breath will come.” She was right.

Later, I applied her advice to pain. If I dwelt on it, it got worse. So I distracted myself. Living alone, however, makes distracting oneself more difficult: there’s no one with whom to engage in conversation. 

Last Sunday, after 35 hours of a Meniere’s headache, I went to Emergency, with its many distractions. While my sister-in-law parked the car, I spoke with the receptionist. She asked for my social security; I didn’t understand. I opened my purse and gave her the first card I came to.

 “No, Mam,” she said, “This is Medicare. I need your social security number.” 

My mind dulled by pain, I kept pulling out cards. Finally, a glimmer came: oh, it’s the check each month. That’s social security. Stammering, I gave her the number. 

After that, I had an EKG, blood drawn, and a CT. Finally, a nurse—Danielle—led us to a cubicle. She was a gift from the Universe—so calm and so willing to distract me with information about her studying to become a nurse and what she was doing to help me. 

The first two meds she gave me had little effect on the pain. Then she prepared the morphine. While doing so, she said, “It might make you a little loopy.” 

I replied, “When I was in a small girl’s Catholic college back in 1954, we sang a song about morphine. We didn’t know what we were singing about, but we liked the beat!”

“Do you remember it?” 

When I told her I did, she asked me to sing it for her.

As Danielle began the intravenous morphine, I began to sing, normally at first and then, as the medicine went into my vein, with gusto: “Morphine Bill and Cocaine Sue—strolling down the avenue! Up from Broadway—down to Main—Just to buy some . . . . . . . Cocaine!!! Honey have a [sniff the nose], have a [sniff the nose] on me. Honey have a [sniff the nose] on me. Honey have a [sniff the nose], have a [sniff the nose] on me. Honey have a [sniff the nose] on me.” I ended the song on a resounding crescendo.

Danielle started laughing. Pulling aside the cubicle curtains, she hurried out into the hallway. Soon other nurses were laughing—an 83-year-old wrinkled-face woman singing about drugs back in the 1950s! Danielle came back in to tell me they thought it was a hoot!

I grinned at her and sang again—uninvited. The song took me back to hootenannies in 1954. To ukuleles. To be-bopping. 

When the headache had fled, a nurse came with a wheelchair. Danielle leaned down and whispered, “She wants you to sing for her too.”

As the nurse wheeled us down a long hall, I sang, shouting at the top of my lungs, about Morphine Bill and Cocaine Sue.  Passing nurses and doctors laughed and spurred me on.

At the end of the hall stood a couple with a six-or-seven-year old boy. The parents gaped. The boy’s eyes widened. The nurse leaned down, “Shhh! Shhh! The child! The child!” 

By then, we’d come to the foyer. Everyone grinned. The receptionist rose, leaned toward me, and whispered, “We’re feeling a little better now, aren’t we?”

“You bet!” I shouted and left the hospital—at my loopiest!

Peace.

28 comments:

  1. Dear Dee. I am smiling so broadly my face hurts. Hooray for the absence of pain (a soul sucker) and hooray for distraction.
    I suspect your song brightened a LOT of days, for a lot of people. For which I thank you.

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    1. Dear Sue, I tell you I was just belting out those words at the top of my lungs! Peace.

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  2. Loopy sounds pretty fun! 😂

    That song! Where on Earth did that come from?? And in 1954! Hahah

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    1. Dear Sandi, it was so distracting and I wasn't thinking of the pain that had been or of any that might come again. I was livin' the moment! Peace.

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  3. I am so glad you were able to get not only relief, but to give so many people a laugh or two. I hope the pain didn't return in full strength afterwards. :-)

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    1. Dear DJan, no the pain didn't return. The morphine made me sort of lackadaisical for three days but since then the weather/barometer had remained steady and I've had no headaches. Peace.

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  4. Dee, Demoral was the drug given to me in the ER for migraines. It worked fairly quickly. But Morphine sounds like a lot more fun! And I can relate about trying to find the right card to give to the nurse when you're in the middle of an episode like that. It can be difficult to even remember your name.

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    1. Dear Rian, so true what you've said about pain and memory. I find that I can't connect thoughts. It's like not being able to string beads. Peace.

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  5. Oh, you made me laugh. Thanks, I needed that.

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    1. Dear Jean, I laugh when I remember it! Peace.

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  6. Oh, Dee, you are priceless. A true gem. I wonder which. I pick a garnet from a cold, running and gurgling North Carolina creek.

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    1. Dear Joanne, since red--and purple--are my favorite colors and I think of garnets as red, I'm liking being a gem! Thank you. Peace.

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  7. What a brilliant song. And you were a hit, Dee! How fantastic to have been transported back to '54 & to all the song and dance that came with that time. So very glad to read that your headache finally abated. Bea x

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    1. Dear Bea, we had such fun back between 1954-58 when I was at this small Catholic college. It was an all-girls' school and at least once a week, we'd all gather out behind the administration building by the gazebo and have our hootenanny with uses and song and roasted hotdogs with buns and mustard and pop! Peace.

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  8. Oh to have been a witness. You really brightened a lot of lives in your "loopy" state. You go girl.

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    1. Dear Patti, I tell you I did go down that hall! The nurse was just zooming me along! Peace.

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  9. How funny! Paul had surgery this morning and, coming out of anesthesia, when he saw me he kept complimenting me on my shoes. After about the third time everyone was laughing! So funny you had that song stored away all these years, just waiting for an occasion to make everyone’s day!

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    1. Dear Cynthia, yes, the song was just waiting for a ready audience! I hope Paul is doing well. Peace.

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  10. This is a hoot! You made the medical staff smile all day long.

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    1. Dear Susan, the difference between headache and all gone is so wonderful and then add morphine to that and I was one happy camper! Peace.

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  11. I love your loopy story! Not least because you helped those working in the ER have a better day. I'm glad they helped you, too, Dee.

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    1. Dear Deanna, the nurse who did everything for me had just passed her exam and been working there for about 2 months. She was a gem. Stellar care really. So I was glad that my song made her laugh out loud! Peace.

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  12. oh dear dear Dee what a beautiful and what a delightful post :)))

    you filled my about to be evening with numerous joys :)

    how lovely to sing in pain and releasing it away magically :)
    how our mind plays games to us isn't it ?

    that charming kind nurse sounds straight from the heaven ,a gift for you from God :)
    see how Lord help us healing through his magics :) i just want to hug her and kiss her forehead for her incredible sweetness to make you feel better :)
    imagining you singing there is uplifting my soul!!!
    so happy you are out of pain my dear friend !
    sending you much love and healing energy with lots of prayers!

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    1. Dear Baili, the nurse, whose name was Danielle, was so kind. Along with that was a gentleness. And finally there was a sense that she truly saw me as a person, not just as a symptom! Peace.

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  13. I can relate! Also thanks for the kind words about the loss of my wife Barb. We were married 54 years. She succumbed to Alzheimer's after a ten years struggle.
    Ray

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    1. Dear Ray, I find myself so glad that you had 44 years of building memories without Alzheimer's. Those memories must have become increasingly dear as the disease progressed. I hope they give you comfort now as you dwell in the gratitude of all those years with her. Peace.

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  14. Oh my gosh!
    Hey, i grew up in the 50's and don't remember that song.
    I didn't even know what Morphine or Cocaine were back then.
    The big, scary drug back then was Marijuana--we stayed away because we thought, one puff and we go insane.

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    1. Dear Judy, I heard that song only at college. Maybe one of the students composed it. Not sure. But we surely sang it with gusto, knowing nothing about cocaine and morphine. We were really neophytes. Peace.

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