Part I, Part II, Part III
While the nurses loaded all of my gear onto my bed (with me still in it as I was in no shape to hike down the corridor) in order to wheel me to my new room, Elizabeth demanded to use the bathroom ("you have a catheter Elizabeth, you don't have to use the bathroom!"), and complained about the noise we were making.
Down the hall we went and I prayed that whoever was dragging my IV along behind us could keep up as I had no desire to see it ripped out of the back of my hand.
After the nurses had settled me into my new spot, and I drew in a huge thankful breath of Non-Elizabeth air, one of the nurses got in my face and said, "I'm warning you, your new roommate is a talker so if you want some sleep you'd better be quiet."
"Oh my God! Are you kidding?" I hissed. "I don't want to talk to anyone! For God's sake I just want to go to sleep!"
"I'm just warning you, that's all." She made it sound like Elizabeth and I had just spent the last 6 hours giggling together like school girls.
As God is my witness, I was just dropping off when out of no where my roommate started screaming for help. Surely I'd died and gone to Hell, because there could be no other explanation.
I heard feet thundering down the hallway and suddenly the room was lit with what seemed like a million, thousand watt bulbs. Too many nurses, all talking at the top of their lungs, asked my new roomie what the problem was.
Her bandage was wet.
She burst forth with, "I woke up and realized something was wrong! My bandage is wet! Do you have any idea why this happened? Am I going home tomorrow? Is my doctor going to check on me soon? Do you know what my latest tests said? How does my sugar look? Because if it's not good then I can't go home! I have no idea why you can't seem to regulate my sugar. Do you think I'll get out before lunch because I'll have to call my husband and let him know. Of course if he can't come and get me then I'll have to call a neighbor and I really hate to bother anyone. Am I allowed to eat a full breakfast tomorrow? I'm sick of the food you're serving me and my husband says it's tasteless." All of this was said without a break and the nurses never really did answer her questions.
I couldn't help wondering why the hell they didn't just put her in with Elizabeth.
She must have noticed the pulled curtain, for her next breathless question was, "Oh, do I have a roommate? I'm soooooo glad, I'm lonely in here all by myself and it'll be nice to have someone to talk to!"
My blood ran cold.
The nurses confirmed that someone else was indeed in the room but it was late so she'd better get some sleep.
Out went the nurses, out went the lights, and open went my new roommate's mouth.
"Hello? Hello?" She eagerly offered from the other side, and I was reminded of my grandmother's parrot.
I ignored her.
"Hello? Hello?" Someone wasn't giving up. "I'm so glad I have someone to talk to now, it's been so lonely here. What's your name?"
I ignored her.
"How long have you been here?" She asked, and then, "I've been here for three days and they can't seem to regulate my sugar and then I woke up and my bandage was wet and I hope I can go home tomorrow but no one tells me anything and my doctor barely stays long enough to answer my questions and I don't know if they'll let me go home tomorrow and tonight they wouldn't let me have a snack before bed why are you here?" All of this without ever once coming up for air.
I was grinding the heels of my hands into my eyes and trying not to scream with frustration. I knew it was now about two o'clock in the morning, I was emotionally and physically exhausted, and since I was certain I was going to receive my death sentence in the morning after my tests, I wanted one last night of peace.
"Hello?" The talker chirped once again.
I now realized that being a good sport had gotten me nowhere. Since I'd been afraid to remind the staff about my painkillers, it felt like ground glass was snaking its way through my guts, and getting comfortable was next to impossible. I'd suffered through hours of agony with an Alzheimer patient, and even though I knew I was probably going to go straight to hell (which couldn't possibly be worse than this) for what I was about to say, I replied, "You know what? I'm very sick and I'm going to ask you, right now, to SHUT UP."
I never heard another word out of her, and finally I fell asleep.