Getting home to the puppies

Just two seconds after I sat down on my living room couch, Molly jumped onto my lap, licking my face. That puppy had followed me into the house, getting in my way as I tried to enter the back door. I’d never had Molly be that glad to see me before.

I’d just returned from four days in the hospital in Reno after suffering a heart problem. There was a little “maybe” with pneumonia, and this old lady had been feeling poorly for too long a time. They took wonderful care of me here in Fallon, and realizing that, I needed a heart specialist they had sent me to see via an ambulance to Reno where that excellent care continued.

Of course, if you’re ill, they need to check on you every so many hours. Days and nights all melted together into a series of all that needs to be done. You know that routine; all too many shots and blood pressure checks. Now, thankfully, I was home to get some much-needed sleep. Yes, I’m a lot better, but I know now that I’ll never be so healthy as I would like.

Medication and seeing yet other specialists are my future. With this in mind, I told my son Doug that I was going to write “FUN” columns about my hospital stay. I got that look only your kids can give you. We’ve all seen those ads that show fancy new beds that have controls that bend about one-quarter of the upper bed, lifting the head portion up and down. Now try that in a hospital bed!

You push buttons. Finally, the whole top half of that bed — well it feels like half the bed — turns upward and your body slides forward until your feet have hit the bottom of the bed. Doing what everybody does, you push with your elbows and try and get in a more comfortable position. Folks, it just isn’t going to happen. It takes time. But you push those up and down buttons until you seem comfortable.

When you get into a position that’s reasonably comfortable, you find it really isn’t. But you tell your mind to convince your body that it is. Now you find you’re freezing to death! It’s probably about 70 degrees in that room; you know how both doctors’ offices and hospitals keep it darned cold; however, this old lady felt it was 60 degrees or below. Then, I put on a sweater I’d worn in the ambulance.

Ever try pulling a sweater over one of those open down the back contraptions they call a nightgown? Yuk. Now we come to the covers. The top sheet is the size of one for at least a double bed. It hangs down to the floor. I had two blankets the same size, and they both were hanging down to the floor. Those blankets are made of some kind of cotton weave that defies description.

Why do they use anything that heavy, is it to keep you in bed? Here I was, this sick old lady being weighted down with blankets that made being sick that much worse. I don’t know if you’ll understand what I’m about to say. When you’re ill and have to get in and out of bed, the side portion of anything you have over your body weighs a ton.

So, I had them take off one blanket and fold the remaining one in half and cover me. Now the sides weren’t so heavy. Of course, the blanket was still way too long. Even after I pulled it up under my chin, there was enough blanket at my feet to reach into the next room. Because of my condition they were giving me many kind of medications.

Every medication seemed to promote my going to the bathroom about four times an hour, requiring a nurse each time. I really got to know those nurses, and those blankets got in the way every time. I ask, if we can send a man to the moon and know what kind of soil’s on Mars, why can’t someone invent a decent kind of soft, warm comfortable hospital blanket?

There was one good thing about my stay in Reno. My two night nurses were Jim and Travis, terrific young men. When I told one of the other nurses that I thought those “guys” were gorgeous, they laughed. I reminded those girls that although I may be old, I’m not dead. Not yet anyway.

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at


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