Monthly Archives: November 2016

So long Bitch Carlton….

Yesterday marks 6 weeks and 1 day since my surgery. The absolute worst 4 weeks of my life here at the “Bitch Carlton.” Somehow, I made it through. I will be transported home by ambulance today at 4pm. I will be on another special mattress at home – but at least I will be home. I couldn’t have made it without all of the people who have stopped by, brought me food, coffee, even showed up in Reindeer costumes – you all made me smile. Thank you to everyone, you know who you are.

I have been just woken up (11:30pm) for my 2nd to last IV antibiotics. I started reflecting on the last 3 years of my life since the day that my life changed me. The last 3 years have been the worst 3 years of my life. Recently I was talking to a friend of mine Wayne Rainey. To this day, I still can’t believe, I can call him my friend – it’s just so cool to even say that. Thank you Wayne and Shea Rainey . Wayne, said to me, “you have it the worst out of all of the paralyzed people I know.”
I’ve had this horrible pressure ulcer on my sacrum, that has literally limited everything I was able to do. Pressure ulcers on both heels, that at one point, my tendon was out. Heterotopic Ossification removal surgery and subsequent life threatening infection after HO removal surgery. Not to mention, the silent fear of urinating or having a bowl movement in public at any given time. The worst part is, my beautiful wife has had to clean and dress my wound every day for the last 3.5 years. It is a long and involved process that has to happen every morning before I got out of my special bed. If done incorrectly, I could have gotten a horrible infection that could have killed me. Thank you baby, I love you.

The hardest part about the last 3 years has been the extreme mental exhaustion, frustration and constant disappointment. It has put immense pressure on me and my family. Honestly, I do not know why they still talk to me after I was such an asshole to them at times. I think it was because I was so angry all of the time! Everything was a struggle, or something that I couldn’t do by myself and had to ask for help. It’s hard going from being extremely independent and self-sufficient to needing help for almost everything, and especially not being able to help with anything. It really kills me inside.

When I laid in bed wishing that I had just died in the accident, I thought about Eric Arnold – and the same things that he must have gone through, it broke my heart. When you are that depressed lots of bad things go through your head. I knew exactly why Eric chose the path that he did. Honestly, I contemplated it myself at various points for the first 2 years. Ultimately, I concluded that it would be such a selfish act for my family, friends and everyone that supported me. I needed to concentrate on trying to regain some independence and find a purpose. Everything that I knew and loved to do in life had been taken away from me. I miss you Eric Arnold and think about you often.

Anneliese and I have our fingers crossed that this surgery will give us some sort of our lives back. Thank to everyone for your support, contributions, visits, calls and help in general. I will update my progress in rehab etc..

I am going to post a link to a picture of my wound and subsequent surgery scar if you want an idea what I have been dealing with. (It’s not that bad to look at) Thank you to Dr. Chen, my surgeon, who has been methodical with my care.

Thank you to everyone, I love you all.

David Stanton

“No Business Like Show Business”

pic-blogToday, like every day, I awoke around 4:30 which seemed like 10:30am – because all the lights in the room were on. My roommate IS AN INSOMNIAC and likes to read all night then promptly at 5:49am he shuts off the light. When breakfast arrives at 6:30 he is snoring like a chain saw clear cutting the Amazonian rain forest.

Meanwhile, while I was trying to go back to sleep at 4:54 AM (with my ear plugs in) – across the hall, Pavarotti’s parents’ – illegitimate tone deaf half-sister – begins her rehearsal for her upcoming musical. After 30 mins of warm up, she mellowed out. Just when I think it’s good, her bed alarm starts going off (which means she is getting out of bed and shouldn’t be.) At this point, I’m afraid she is going to start belting out, ‘there’s NO Business like Show Business”! Thank God, the nurses gave her some shot that would knock out an elephant.

After all the shenanigans – it was 6:00 am and time for shift change. When shift change occurs – it means nurses, vitals and time for pills!! So much for getting any sleep, as breakfast arrives at 6:45AM.

Now that I am up, it’s 10:00AM – it’s time for my physical therapy. Yesterday, I went to see my surgeon, who issued new orders for my Rehab. These included – a protocol of sitting up for longer periods of time every day  and different booties on my feet – as I NOW have blisters on my heels!! As, I am going through the motions – the PT guy leaves, I realize the new orders were never followed. I called Anneliese, who went ballistic!! She proceeded to call the Ombudsmen, the Social Worker and spoke to the head person for Kaiser who handles their Skilled Nursing Facilities. I have to say, I feel sorry for the nurse that had to deal with my unhappy wife – boy, is she pissed. As she would say, I would be fired if I made the mistakes on my job that they do here. On my end, I told the nurse that I haven’t had Physical Therapy for 3 days – until today and I am pissed!! My release from the Bitch Carlton is dependent upon how I do on this sitting protocol.

Well,  that was my Wednesday morning, I might need to take a sip of the Tequila that was smuggled in here for me!
Oh hell, maybe the bottle at this point!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Ambulance Rides X 8

img_4035I have decided to write this blog because Dave is just…. well… busy…
We had our appointment at the Surgeons this past Tuesday.  Another fun Ambulance ride, I even got to ride in the jump seat in the back this time and not on the bench! Exciting  Of course Dave travels on his stomach on the gurney – this ride was a bumpy one.
We arrived and anxiously waited for the Surgeon to give his blessing. We anticipated the words…. “It all img_4044looks great!” The Doc said, “The massive Shark bite” – looks good except for this bright green stuff coming out of your drainage tube. He and his assistant proceeded to remove the 84 stiches. Of course, Dave had them count ALL 84 of them.
I then asked, so what do you think? Do we look good to go home (to another special bed) in a week or so? His response, “well, if things looked perfect, and we didn’t have this Green stuff in his drainage tube – I would say, maybe 2 weeks

img_8207or so, but I don’t like this green stuff. I’m not sure what is going on underneath all of this – we will get some cultures.” The green drainage started about a week ago but nothing like it was in the past few days. No one mentioned that it might be a problem at the “Bitch Carlton.” Of course, we thought it was odd.
When we got back to the facility, we visited with our awesome roommate, who Dave, of course has taken a liking too. The nurse, Desiree, came in and told us the infectious doctor called from Kaiser, they want to start Dave on an IV antibiotic to get things started while the cultures grow.
I decided to head out for the evening. I was invited for a much-needed cocktail and dinner at our next-door neighbor’s home. Thanks Kelly & Christina!!  A couple hours after I got home – I received a text from Dave saying he was having a reaction, his face was swelling, arms, chest, back were bright red and itching – even his elbows were starting to peel, it was odd; most importantly his chest was getting tight. At the time, I was reading his text, Desiree called and told me they called 911. I got out of bed, and headed over to the ER. By the time they allowed me in, Dave was asleep on his stomach on the bed. They had given him a shot of Benadryl in the ambulance which helped the swelling. They then gave him steroids, this immediately starting fading the odd peeling, and overall redness/hives on his body. They stabilized his reaction and put him back in the Ambulance, back to the “Bitch Carlton.” I’m going to have to get a 2nd job for all of these Ambulance rides!
Dave slept most of Wednesday off and on, it was a bit of a blow to his system, plus being transported twice during the same day. I felt like I was in a fog. I told my sister in law, Theresa, you ever been hungover and your head feels like it’s in a fog? (we both laughed, not sure if that’s a good thing lol?) Mine was from a lack of sleep. I fell asleep at 4AM and Eddie called me at 7AM, bright eyed and bushy tailed. My body and mind felt like an out of body experience… just overwhelmingly tired. I had to get up and answer over 200 work emails from the day before, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed as I was having a hard time keeping up at work, functioning on little sleep and worrying about Dave.
I stayed with Dave Wednesday night until the first round of the new antibiotics went through his system. It appeared all good, so I went home. Dave has been so tired, and we have such bad cell service where he is.
Wednesday was a big day for him, he started his sitting protocol. The Physical Therapist came in and raised Dave’s bed so that his head was at 30 degrees – he could do this for only 5 minutes. They must check the incisions right after to make sure there is no pressure appearing. He will be allowed to raise his bed 10 degrees each day, for 5 minutes, until he reaches 90 degrees’. Thanksgiving dinner will be eaten quickly as he will be at his 90 degree goal!

After we see how he does with this protocol the surgeon will, hopefully, begin a sitting regime after Thanksgiving. Our next appointment is this coming Tuesday. I’m no doctor, but I think it’s looking better!
It’s Friday, it’s cold and Dave just wants out of the looney bin. He sat up 50 degrees today for 5 minutes, no dizziness at all. He’s been lying down for 4.5 weeks raising his head only 15 degrees, so that’s pretty good. He’s DONE, he’s just over laying in bed 23 hours and 55 mins a day. Today he was quiet, opinionated and quiet……:-)
I appreciate all the amazing comments about Dave, but I truly want to tell you, I have never met anyone with the mindset he has. He focuses on the end and continues this path without complaining to any of us. His pain, I’m sure, he keeps inside. His perseverance is something I have never seen in anyone. I come home to our lonely house, and must focus on the big picture. He will be coming home at some point and I’m so grateful for that. XXOO
Thank you again to our wonderful friends and family who continue to check in with us, write us lovely notes, visit and take food to Dave. We seriously couldn’t do it without the incredible support from all of you.

“Bitch Carlton”

The other night when the Shepherds came to visit, Jenny and I were joking around about my accommodations here. She said it’s definitely not the Ritz Carlton – then I chimmed in and said, it’s more like the Bitch Carlton. We had a good laugh – that is why I titled this post “Bitch Carlton”.

Overall, I have gotten used to the system here. Every day, I must re-train all the CNA nurses – what they can and cannot do with regards to moving me, wound care etc. Thank goodness I have had so many friends show up with food! It saves me from “prison slop” they serve here at the Bitch Carlton. Every week when I fill out my meal selection it goes like this….. breakfast: scrambled eggs, cranberry juice and salt and pepper, Lunch: I write in… peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Dinner: I write in… turkey sandwich. If anyone wants to lose weight – don’t listen to Oprah and spend money on Weight Watchers- come stay at the Bitch Carlton!

Yesterday, my luck ran out and I got a roommate. He is very nice retired man that lives in Orinda. He had a mild stroke, only his left arm is week. I’m thinking if you’re going to have a stroke that is the one that I want to have. He is really nice so, I totally lucked out!

Yesterday about 5’oclock Jenny shepherd…. AKA “TATE” stopped by with her daughter, Sarah, to drop off a sleeping mask that incorporates ear plugs. I would find out later what a blessing this was. TATE swears by these things, I would unknowingly put them to the test within a few hours. I was tired, I pushed my call button at 8pm – then promptly at 9pm the Bitch Carlton staff shows up to give me my meds. I went to sleep – at 12:15 my roommate was talking in his sleep. It looked like a Friday night football game at Acalanes High School in here – all the lights were turned on. I asked my roommate if he was ok….he said, “sorry I thought I was talking to my wife” Then…. I remembered the sleeping mask with ear plugs TATE gave me. I searched around on my bed, found them, I was off to see the sandman!

About 6:30AM the nurses come in and do vitals, meds etc. I asked them why the lights were on all night, and what the smell was in the room? I couldn’t understand the broken Pilipino response about the light, but I did hear my roommate’s urine bag was left open all night and there was a small lake of urine on the floor…. NICE! Now all I need is a nose plug!  I would call the front desk to complain, but I don’t think the Bitch Carlton really cares. It’s been almost 3 hours now and we are still waiting for housekeeping to come mop the floor. I really can’t wait to get out of this shit hole. At this point, I think Scott Peterson on Death Row has it better than I do.

On the brighter side of things, I want to thank everyone that came to visit me so far and brought me food snacks and games.
Pete Doyle and EVERYTHING you do for me, thanks brother…
Deanna & Randy Beasley, you guys Rock!
Jeff Hutson
Kim Rooney (Golden)
Leigh Parker Biega
Pat Mahoney
Jim and Jenny Shepherd
Beth and Alan Cunningham ALL the way from Reno
Berto Wooldridge and Monica McFarland
Amy Hatwig
Cathy Majaestic & Jen Smarts

Especially my wife Anneliese, Eddie,  Jack and Alli

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Tick Tock…… Tick Tock……

Its 5:30am and I can’t sleep. I have been here one week, Since I arrived at Gods waiting room, an overgrown Oompa Loompa is now President. Wtf happened? Yesterday was 3 weeks in my recovery, the half way point.
Only 3 more weeks to go, now if I can just keep my sanity I will be good to go! I tell myself every day to just keep a positive attitude. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask but….. having been on the other side of a non-positive attitude, it’s a damn scary place!. There is nothing much to do except watch Wendy Williams on TV or movies on my iPad. I choose the movies. :) I am limited since I am not allowed to move, get up, or raise my head past 15 degrees. It’s a shame, because after looking at the activities calendar that Berto made X-rated, I am thinking I could have kicked ass at jeopardy bingo night on Monday. Oh well maybe next week! I have to keep my Sony Ear phones on to drown out the screams from my housemates. My neighbor next door was yelling “Help Me” all morning, I stopped counting at 35 and it went on for another 45 minutes.
Oh, my life!

Thank you to all of the people that have stopped and braved death’s waiting room. Each and everyone of you have turned to me and said, sorry you are in here, it is truly CRAZY. Anneliese as always, you are always there for me even sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours typing away on your computer. I love you baby.

“One Flew over a Cuckoos Nest”

Is it Ground Hog Day? I keep thinking this because it seems like I am caught in a spin cycle of a washing machine and i can’t get out. One week ago, I was discharged from the hospital, on my way to “home sweet home” to recover. Now, I’m in a Nursing Home across the street from a place called Rossmoor.  Rossmoor, if you don’t know, is a Large Retirement Community; I have called it God’s waiting room since I was a kid.
On Tuesday of this week, I was transported by ambulance to the hospital surgery center for a check up after recovering at home for a week.
The Surgeon was to inspect my progress on my Double Flap and how it was healing. When I say I was transported by Ambulance, I mean, I have to be rolled onto a Gurney onto my stomach, face down and travel this way every time that i leave the house. It’s an interesting way of traveling in an ambulance. If this doesn’t kill me, the ambulance co-payments will. When we met with my Surgeon, he simply said, you are not out of the woods. If you are doing everything right at home on your “Dolphin” bed, (special sort of fluid mattress) then it’s not working. The horrific scar that now looks like a football, traced on my buttocks is not healing like he would like. A 14 by 8 inch football scar with an unlimited amount of stitches has decided – it is pissed off. It doesn’t like the bed that cost me a small fortune every month but it wants to be on a Clinitron bed (only available in Hospitals and Skilled Nursing Facilities, aka SNF) Now, the Clinitron bed starts at $51k, nothing we could go out to buy nor would they even rent one for residential use.
My only option was to go to a nursing home, get on one of these beds, and hope for the best. When the Doc said this, I wanted to die. The tears started rolling down Anneliese’s face and I’m trying to keep it together with nurses and EMT personnel in the room. They immediately started looking for a SNF for me. I asked, do I have one more night home before I go? They didn’t know until they made their calls. Thankfully, they allowed us to go home until we would receive the call letting us know where I was going for the next month or so. We spent our last night hanging out together as a family, watching the CMA’s, painfully not discussing what lied ahead of us – laying still on this bed, not moving, raising my head only 15 degrees for 4 more weeks.
They located a place called “Kindred” in Walnut Creek. I immediately knew I was screwed. Kindred means, “ones family and relations.” I am very familiar with this place, my mom was here earlier this year after a hip replacement surgery.  Let’s just say for a guy my age, this place is beyond awful.  At 46 years of age, I am the youngest person, I believe, here by at least 30 years – or so I feel.  The arrival was a Cluster.  I arrived at 10:30, when they were expecting me.  I was rolled in, they told my 3 EMT’s, Room 211, down the hallway through the doors on the left.  We headed down there.  Anneliese peaked in the room, no one in the room but a standard hospital bed and our special, ” GP motorcycle” of a bed.  No sheets, no nothing.  I sat in the hallway on my stomach, Anneliese paced the hallways ready to scream at anyone who would listen.  She finally wrestled up someone to put a sheet over the bed, after them telling her, no sheet needed.  She explained, this bed absolutely needs a sheet!   She knew from the hospital  – but even the instructions at the foot of the bed instructs one fitted sheet.  After the EMT’s rolled me on the bed, and thankfully, left me with a blanket we were now here.  We waited for 45 minutes for our nurse to come in and tell us her name and she would be back to assess me.  3 hours later, after Anneliese got me lunch and something to drink, we had action.  The action started when the power went out in the whole facility.  The frantic running around looking for extension cords, for those few, on special beds was amazing.  Anneliese started taking videos,  but after a bit was instructed to shut it down by the Director of the Facility. Anneliese responded to her, really?  I’ve requested  someone from management to come speak to me hours ago about our treatment –  the Directors response, sorry we are busy and now we have a blackout emergency.  Never did we hear back from her or did she ever come back to discuss our issues with the lack of care.  The power eventually came back on hours later.  I had to call Anneliese because the settings were all screwed up on the bed.    I took a pic, she walked my nurse through what she was told the settings are supposed to be.  As the evening approached, a lot of screaming from the patients down the hallways.  I have to say,  you become numb to it all – I believe I screamed as well at some point!    Anneliese says, I screamed, Halloween was on MONDAY!  See, we all get a bit “nutty” in here.  Thanks Berts for the sony headphones, they will come in handy.

I actually slept OK the first night after some meds.  They woke me up at 6AM for a sponge bath.  Oh, hell no!  You can come back at 9 or 10AM.  I typically wake up early,  but have no desire to be awake for most of the day here.   God, how I hate the extra hour I get to spend here this weekend when our clocks turn back.

I will check in later after my next surgeon’s appointment and yet another costly ambulance ride.  I’m sure it will be entertaining!  Here’s to the next 4 weeks or so in here.  Hopefully I don’t lose my mind in here!