...in an orthopedic ward.
Sorry, I'll try to wrap this saga up!
So Sunday I waited around all day for surgery and visitors. [Let me tell you, if you have a friend in the hospital, go visit!! It is an amazing blessing. Italian hospitals have incredibly restricted visiting hours but my friends were very good visitors.] The events of the day that I remember are basically as follows, in this order: the nurse took my blood, I woke up, the Catholic priest came in with communion for my roommate (as he continued to every day), I got a pain pill, the orderlies came in for bath time ( thankfully they let me bathe myself), breakfast, sleep, lunch, sleep, dinner, visitors, sleep. A couple times I ventured on my child-size crutches to the bathroom, always to the great consternation of my roommates (piano! piano!!! complete with dramatic gasps anytime I showed a slight inclination to tip over). Italians, of course, completely disregard their own rules about visiting and so all day there was a steady stream of spouses, siblings, parents, friends, and occasionally children/grandchildren there talking to my 3 roommates. It was nice to see that at least these three elderly ladies still had plenty of people to take care of them; that's one advantage to the Italian instinct to never move away from home.
Every time I needed extra pain meds (which came in the form of a butt shot), no matter who I asked, this male nurse would appear out of nowhere to administer it. Kind of weird.
Monday morning was surgery. One of my roommates gave me a stuffed flower (like a stuffed animal, but a flower) when I told her I was scared. ("Ho paura..." a phrase I learned because mio cucciolo "ha paura" of everything) They rolled me down there on my bed and kept me in a waiting-cubby outside the operating room, which seemed extraordinarily busy, noisy, cold, and full of men. (Male nurses seem to be much more common here.) I didn't get the much-hoped-for general anesthesia but instead a sedative (nice) & a spinal shot (scary) that numbed me from the waste down. All too soon, they strapped my arms down and got to work. I could feel them tugging my leg around and hear the power drill-sounding things that I guess they used to insert the 3 screws, but thankfully couldn't feel anything at the ankle. I did not want a repeat of my friend's appendectomy experience! Towards the end of it my upper leg started killing me like my entire quad and hamstring were cramping up, apparently because they had a tourniquet-type thing on it. Despite my crying, shivering uncontrollably, and telling them my leg was killing me, they would pat my hand cheerily and say "5 more minutes!" I think I could have used a little more sedative...and I think I'll try to have any future surgeries in the States.
Unlike their predictions, I was wide awake for the rest of the day. Well, not Wide awake but about as awake as I ever would be for the next 5 days on whatever drug was seeping into my arm. The rest of Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday are kind of a blur, but a few things stick out. There were more visitors, stuffed animals, and balloons, and 3 Italian clowns (they were real--that wasn't the drugs), and the nurse yelling at me because I hadn't gone to the bathroom yet.
After my unsuccessful attempt to use a bedpan (at her insistance), I snuck to the bathroom on my crutches, only to have the nurse and interpreter come back into the room, catch me in there, and yell at me! We found a compromise with the potty-wheelchair. TMI, I'm sorry, but I don't think I'll ever forget being yelled at by two Italian women while sitting on the toilet.
Wednesday they let me out!