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Tom Hyland

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Books by Tom Hyland
Sleep Deprivation
By Tom Hyland
Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008
Last edited: Friday, August 29, 2008
This short story is rated "PG13" by the Author.
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Recent stories by Tom Hyland
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           >> View all 79
TO BE FOREWARNED IS TO BE FOREARMED!

My daughter, who is a yoga instructor and a vegetarian, and my son, a Chiropractor and Vegetarian have both nagged me for years about my terrible diet and eating habits -

NOW IT CAME HOME TO ROOST!




Sleep Deprivation

© - Tom Hyland - 08-30-08


Not long ago, part of the news every day and night was about the trials starting for the prisoners at Guantanamo - and one of the torture techniques being questioned was that of sleep deprivation.

By constant repeated interruptions, the human mind loses its ability to clearly think and reason, when a person is not allowed to sleep. Whether it is the use of sound or noises, or lights going on and off, or any other reason, several days of this procedure wears down both mind and body - and spirit!

And, if perchance any form of drug inducement is employed along with this technique, the result to the human being is an almost zombie like existence. Under such circumstances, how can a person return to a semblance of normality? Or, for that matter, heal - if one is already sick? Are these fair questions?

Why do I ask? How do I know? EASY - I just was discharged from Saint Agnes Hospital yesterday afternoon - I EXPERIENCED IT!

It all started last weekend. While I normally have no problems with bowel movements, in retrospect I realized that two days had passed without one. No biggy, right? I had spent Saturday evening at a nieceís house, and Sunday afternoon around one oíclock or so, we realized we hadnít eaten anything yet, so I gobbled down two slices of pizza and some popcorn shrimp that were leftovers from the previous day. Obviously, it was too much, but I didnít know that yet.

Later, we all went to a cookout at a nephewís home, and I was still fine. Around five or five-thirty in the early evening, I still had an appetite. Several nice slices of baked ham with sliced onions on a soft Kaiser roll made a delicious sandwich. And of course, the sweet golden corn on the cob, and red-skinned potato, steamed together in Old Bay pepper seasoning was yummy also. And I just had to have one thick slab of that delicious rotisseried roast beef, right? Over a period of about four hours, this was all washed down by two beers, poured over ice.

About nine thirty or so it began - a tightness in the center abdomen, accompanied by a bloated feeling and some discomfort. I got up and took a short walk around the house and yard, but the feeling didnít subside, so my niece Inez who happens to be a very qualified nurse, gave me a little cup of Mylanta to swig down. By ten-thirty I was like a tired old party-pooper, so I hugged and kissed the gang goodbye. Oh, yeah, earlier they all sang Happy Birthday to me, as the next dawn would bring my sixty-eighth year on Planet Earth!

As I was scheduled to work the entire upcoming week, filling in for the full time driver on vacation, I wanted to get my rest. At home, around eleven-thirty, the discomfort of what I suspected as acid indigestion from pigging out seemed a tad worse. Then I remembered the old Vermont home remedy - a couple of tablespoons of cider vinegar, diluted in water - down the hatch!
The theory here is that older citizens bodies donít produce sufficient acid for digestion, so the answer is more acid, rather than a base. A couple quick burps and off to bed.

About one in the morning, I awakened with a still sour stomach, remembered I had Zantax in the medicine cabinet, and knocked two back. Every couple of hours I continued waking up, so it was a restless night, with a very broken sleep pattern.

In the morning, I reported for work after calling the boss and telling him what was going on. When I got there and gave him my symptoms, he as a registered pharmacist gave me two pink OTC pills to chew, followed by two pink Gas-X pink pills, and off I went to make needed deliveries of prescriptions to sick people.

Around two hours later, upon my return, no relief had yet occurred and the next attempt was a dose of Mylanta, and off I went again. After finishing my third run, I was done - I called the boss and apologized, I had to go home and lay down, by now my back was aching also.

I had not eaten anything the entire day, and was basically exhausted, so I tried to sleep again. I managed to drink some green tea with genseng and honey, but had no appetite whatsoever. By eight that evening I knew I had to seek professional help. After calling another niece nurse, Bernie, I took her suggestion and looked a Patient First Clinic nearby. By nine pm I was being interviewed by a triage nurse. After drawing blood for lab tests, and taking x-rays, I was told that my white blood cell count was through the roof, my BP was high - 160/80, and I needed a CAT SCAN - but - they didnít have one, so Iíd have to drive over to Hopkinsí Bayview ER room, where someone was expecting me. They would put me on an IV and painkiller and do the scan.

Slightly past ten pm, after waiting awhile, their triage nurse (who was like a grumpy snappy first sergeant) advised me that there was an EIGHT TO TEN HOUR WAIT! WHAT? I was flabbergasted - why did they LIE to me? She said she TOLD the woman who called that it would be a long wait! When I tried to call Patient First, their recording told me they closed at ten - how CONVENIENT!

By ten-thirty I was out in my car, totally scared and in disbelief that this was happening to me. I then took four Ibuprofens (800 mgs.) with some tea, and called Bernie back. She made some calls and found that St. Agnesí had a shorter wait - go home and Iíll come pick you up.

By mid-night I was repeating my story and symptoms to the third triage nurse, but I gave them a copy of my lab work. I also noticed that the constant localized pain had reduced substantially, maybe from a 10 to a 4 or 5? I was processed pretty quickly, moved to an ER room, hooked up with IVís, examined by a doctor, and scheduled for X-rays - again? As the woman was wheeling me down the hallways and I questioned this - the other place said I needed a CAT-SCAN - she made a u-turn and took back to the ER. Unsure, but I think that it was around two am when they admitted me, and sent me to room 606. At some point I think exhaustion took over and I finally slept a while?

Some time early Tuesday morning it all began again - IVís - more blood-work - vital signs - BP - temperature - belly-probing by a parade of what seemed like six or seven doctors, interns, residents, or whatever they were. I was sent for an Ultra-Sound treatment, then returned to the room. All day long - a little snooze - a little snoring - then poke, prod, push, pull, check this, check that -

Meanwhile my roommate Ed gets delivered full meals, while I can have nothing but ice chips - not even a lousy cup of coffee or tea!
I think it was this day that they finally scheduled me for a CAT-SCAN - but unsure, because I was kept totally off-balance and it all seemed to blur into a nightmare, even visitors I was unsure of. Anyway, they gave me a big plastic cup of cold yuck, maybe twenty ounces or more, that I had to finish. An hour or so later, when they take me down to the basement again, Iím given another identical cup of frozen white sludge that has to be drunk also!

Another interesting phenomena that is surreptitiously employed in this sleep deprivation therapy is quite creative - built into the earphones on either side of the bed, right at ear level, are powerful stereo speakers that are connected to the floorís Intercom system - every FRIGGING time any floor nurse, technician, or other employee is PAGED - it wakes you up - ALL DAY LONG - ALL NIGHT LONG! Brilliant!

This next one is a real Doozy! An Endoscopy procedure - when you get down there, a team of people surrounds you, one lady hooks your IV up to a sedative, sprays inside your mouth with the most foul-tasting bitter yuck you can imagine - while another explains that the doctor will tell you to swallow, which pushes the tube down into your stomach, but you might not remember? I was told that the procedure itself is only ten-twelve minutes long, recovery might be some forty-five minutes long. The next thing I knew, someone was shaking me awake, saying: ďMr. Hyland, youíre all done!Ē

I remember absolutely nothing! Now hereís a novel thought - why donít they use THAT SEDATIVE for every frigging procedure?

Later that day, another woman brought me a FOUR LITER bottle of another yucky white colloidal suspension, marked the container at about the three liter mark and said I had to drink it all by nine am the next morning, as I was scheduled for a Colonoscopy on Wednesday morning. Fair warning, this next part was the worst, and if you are squeamish, you might want to skip it completely.

This stuff is a purgative, to clean out your pipes, and the resulting antics are totally ASSININE! Bear in mind that a double IV is attached to your left arm, which is suspended on a rod on wheels, so it is movable - but - after about an hour after drinking this stuff, the URGE begins. You gotta go! So, as you try to get out of bed quickly on the right side, you are promptly reminded by the IV tubes pulling on the left, that you have to somehow get around the foot of the bed and grab the wheeled holder - but after you do this, then the electrical cord plugged into the wall stops you dead! Then you scramble down low in your super-duper gown, move a curtain, and unplug it, wrap the cord, and then RUN LIKE HELL! After you experience this several times each hour it seems, you eventually learn - but - when the urging of the purges take longer sessions in the bathroom, the battery runs out on the monitor, and a loud beeping snaps you back into reality again. In time, you learn to press the NURSE button first, get someone to come unscrew your IV connection, and can then do your business with less grief!

By Wednesday morning early, you have spent half the night on the throne, got very little sleep if any (note: I did NOT soil my bedding even once) - you smell the next door neighborís breakfast, as you suck on your ice chips and/or still to be drunk slurpy, and PRAY for this ordeal to be over! The good news, if there is any, is that the same sedative is used before the Colonoscopy, without any yuck in the mouth first, and you eventually wake up, again - not remembering anything! God Bless good drugs!

By the time I was back in my room, I was one poor, sore, hungry (no food for three frigging days now) camper, and just a tad FRIZZLED to say the least. When I now asked for that cup of coffee, and was told I still could not have anything - I EXPLODED!
I did apologize to the poor tech later, but I told her that until some doctor got off his ass and came to my room and explained to me just what the hell was going on - I was doing NO MORE! If necessary, I would put my clothes on, and walk out!

In probably less than fifteen minutes, Dr. Mo Afzal walked into my room, he was the one who did both the Endoscopy and the Colonoscopy, and is a Gastro-Intestinal Specialist. He started with an apology, saying that he thought he had explained everything to me, but he had many patients. Luckily, just then my son came in, who is a licensed Chiropractor, and knows more about the human body, and health, and nutrients than anyone I know. As Dr. Mo quietly explained and described the complex possibilities involved,
and how certain maladies had been ruled out, one by one, we had not yet found the insidious cause of the original inflammation, which caused the infection.

He wanted to do one more procedure in the morning. As my son understood and confirmed all of this, I relaxed a bit and conceded by offering a DEAL - can I at least get a cup of instant decaf coffee? He approved, and we shook on it. After he left, within minutes, an angel brought me - a big steaming cup of chicken bouillon broth - a nice little cup of Italian ice - a cup of red Jello - and a cup of hot water, along with a packet of Tasters Choice coffee - my favorite brand!

After another night of alternating dozing, snoring, being shaken or beeped awake, and in short - more sleep deprivation, I finally went for yet another procedure that I honestly canít recall. When I was later told that still another procedure would be performed the next morning - I said thatís it - Iím outta here - Iím done!

I guess it was about noon, when a female doctor came in, some sort of Administrator, I think - after a brief exchange, wherein she informed me that the Small Bowel Series could be done on an outpatient basis, I said fine - discharge me! After getting dressed, I called my niece to pick me up, and reminded her to bring my sandals from her car. After packing my two bags of stuff, I then strolled down the aisle, took the elevator, and walked out the entrance, in my cute little cotton Footies, right into the wet pavement! As the Smoking Gestapos now have the entire campus posted, I walked around the corner of a construction site, far from the entrance, and promptly LIT UP!

After this horrendous four day ordeal, and all the pain I had been put through - in order to CURE me - yet they had NOT - what could they possibly do to me for smoking a frigging cigarette?

Now calmer, feeling much like a prisoner about to be released, I retraced my route, returned to my room, got my discharge papers, grabbed my two bags, and bid them all ADIEU!

FREEDOM ISNíT FREE - and -

POOR HEALTH IS SCARY AS HELL!

In closing, there is more to my story, but Iím tired now, so youíll have to wait for part two. Suffice it to say, that those four days of supposed TREATMENT had more impact on my sleep cycle than you can imagine. Last night, on Thursday, I still tossed and turned, still got up several times with potty runs, and today, Friday - have not yet slept a solid two hours in a row!

SLEEP DEPRIVATION - TORTURE?

DONíT GET SICK!

OH - yeah, my birthday was Monday, AUGUST 25th - and I had previously been Blessed - I was never a hospital inpatient for 68 YEARS! NOW I HAVE PAID FOR IT!



 

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Reviewed by Randall Barfield
It was a nightmare! I'll wait for part II. I hope that Taster's Choice was the Colombian one. Take it easy and no more smoking! I quit 9 years ago.

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