My absence here was noted, and I thank you for the many thoughts and well-wishes. I’ve been in the hospital for a while, then in a “skilled nursing facility” for one 24-hour day. It took me that day, without sleep, to arrange to get out of there. I’d been concerned about being home in current circumstances, but a long night in that facility showed it to be the worse option.

In the hospital, they would not believe that I was really immune to pain medication, even though I was having articulate conversations with them while on half a dozen narcotics about the excruciating back spasms that had just begun, triggered by almost any movement and collapsing me if I happened to be upright.

They ran various diagnostics and took a bone marrow sample, but each nurse or doctor (about 16 or so; I lost count) concluded that I’d be fine with pain medications. Some seemed to take my assertion more seriously, but the conclusion was always the same. Medicate me and send me home. But they never actually sent me home, as I kept seeking something more useful.

At no point was anything done to actually address the problem any other way, until I charmed a compliant physical therapist to bring me a TENS unit to try. That seems to have helped. But I could use it only for a few hours before Obamacare forced the hospital to kick me out into the skilled nursing facility. It was … interesting, and not what I expected.

Let me give you a taste of the place’s ambiance, with a few sub-two-minute files recorded from my bed. I could have made this recording anytime; this went on continuously, only stopping briefly just before I left. It was starting up again as I headed out, when the poor woman woke up after a brief nap:
Sunday School
Help Moya

I am not hostile to religion, but 2,000+ repetitions of “Oh my God!” induced a certain motivation to be anywhere else. I spared you that bit.

There was someone else in that sad little three-bin warehouse compartment; he is still listening to her. But he handles this by playing [i]Kill Bill[/i] over and over again, six times while I was there. He does not know about call buttons, so I would call the nurse for him when he began hollering for one. This sequence appears halfway through the third clip. He sounded sane compared to his fellow residents.  Neither of my roommates appeared to sleep for more than a few minutes.

Just outside the open door, in the common area, an elderly man grasped his right arm with his left and raised and lowered it repeatedly, yelling “Eeeaaaeaeeyaa!” each time. After a while, he was joined by another similar fellow, but this one made vague gestures and uttered something short but too complex to try to transcribe, looking at the first man. First man responded by making symbols for “1”, “2” and “3” with his rapidly oscillating hand while repeating his one utterance. He got the same repeated articulated grunt from the second man. The facial expressions of both men suggested that each was supremely confident that he was perfectly understood by his listener.

It took a while to get out of there even after being officially released; they had stolen parts of my wheelchair (the leg rests) and I wanted them back. They were ultimately, grudgingly returned, after attempts to pass off other (and mismatched) units with the name of the facility scrawled on them.

The issue was not evil so much as incompetence. The spirit was willing, but the skills and comprehension levels were weak.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle