Of Odd Dreams, a Leg Infection and Dedication to Medical Careers

Posted By Mike Padgett

Aug. 8, 2010

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The strangest dreams invaded my nights earlier this month. Instead of counting sheep, I encountered monstrous images. In a narrow tunnel with falling flakes of gold, I faced a smiling lime green snake large enough to swallow a bull.

Under a black sky, I floated over an endless sea of royal blue waves edged in red.

I walked through a subterranean world, which was between other underworlds. In each were leaning date palms. Trucks could fall though large holes in the dusty streets.

There were other images difficult to put into words. These weren’t really dreams. The experiences were a state of consciousness between being awake and fully asleep. I could end the odd dreams simply by opening my eyes.

They were like the stories from the television drama, “Rubicon,” which focuses on a team of analysts at a New York City think tank. The analysts search for hidden clues in crosswords, news stories, television broadcasts, and so on. Sort of like James Grady’s novel, “Six Days of the Condor.”

Meanings in dreams

Are dreams meaningless? Or are they messages or warnings, like mysteriously avoiding a speeding car by stopping to pick up a small item dropped by someone? And was the item dropped by accident?

My odd dreams likely were triggered by the antibiotic cocktails I received for a serious leg infection, which began as a large contusion from a fall. Then there was the overpowering nausea. I couldn’t stand the sight or smell of food. I was bedridden for eight days while doctors and nurses treated me for the infection. Since I enjoy hiking and other outdoor activities, being tied to a hospital bed with tubes was torture.

During my experience in the Phoenix hospital, I gained a new perspective of the medical profession. Most of the doctors, nurses, aides and therapists I encountered were friendly and dedicated, despite the negative treatment they received from some patients.

In another room, maybe next door, was a man who complained loudly. The staff must have used enormous self-control to offer him as much care as they did to other patients who appreciated the medical care.

Few, if any, patients want to be in hospital, but the loud and angry man was unhappy. Maybe he was in pain. Maybe he was lonely.

Dedication, despite criticism

A nurse told me she enjoys helping others, despite the occasional negative treatment from patients. Another nurse echoed her colleague’s comments. A therapist said that no matter now many unkind words she hears from patients, she knows she is appreciated. She added quickly that she still enjoys hearing that she is appreciated.

All the medical professionals who talked with me were believable. They took my vital signs, brought my medicine several times a day, emptied my commode, helped me get back on my feet and offered only kindly comments about the loud man.

Surgery for the infection in my leg was an experience. One minute, I was being prepped. The next thing I remember, I was in recovery. Whatever happened in between, my gray cells failed to record.

One thing I learned quickly while in hospital is humility. When one leg is benched with bandages and medical equipment, one is forced to ask for help to use the commode.

A nurse brightened the situation, as I was checking out, when she offered some kind advice. To paraphrase her, she said everyone looks alike when they’re naked. I had tried to keep myself covered, though that is a challenge with the open-backed hospital gowns.

Alike, we are

The nurse, in a way, is correct. No matter how much cash or clout we carry, or whether we’re on the street asking for bus fare or dodging bullets in a war zone, we are alike.

The nurse, wise beyond her years, has a good heart and a terrific attitude. She led the challenging effort in removing my leg dressing the first time after surgery. She hesitated, aware of the pain.

Do it, I encouraged her. Go. Don’t stop.

“Sorry,” she said. “Sorry.”

Removing the first adhesive pulled out all the leg hair.

She kept at it, carefully removing the dressing packed into my wound during surgery. She tugged the embedded sponge dressing one way; I pulled my leg the other.

Keep going, I said. Don’t stop. When she finished, another nurse gave me more painkiller. The worst was over. The nurses said future dressing changes won’t be as painful.

I am home now, immersed in my favorite books, the Internet and my collection of power rock ‘n’ roll. I’m also looking forward to experimenting with a new camera lens that arrived during my medical adventure.

Always will I remember the doctors, nurses, medical aides, physical therapists, dietary staff and housekeepers at John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital. They made my first medical adventure tolerable.

I will especially remember the support I received from my Best Friend during my hospital stay. She was with me every day.

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Aug 8th, 2010

2 Comments to 'Of Odd Dreams, a Leg Infection and Dedication to Medical Careers'

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  1. Helen said,

    Of Odd Dreams, a Leg Infection and Dedication to Medical Careers is an interesting view into a medical crisis and the aftermath. Sounds like you’re on your way to recovery. Great staff at John C Lincoln Hospital.

  2. Carol Romley said,

    Hi Mike, hope things are going ok now.
    Sorry to hear about your leg.
    I just read this morning the story on MSNBC about the lady with the flesh eating bacteria. I will send it to you. In this day and time there are so many bugs out there just waiting for us…..take care.

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