Monday, October 6, 2014

A Taste of Life

Of all the unique qualities I have, I believe my taste for a random substance may be my most bizarre traits. I rarely think of it except for when I need to go to the Emergency Room. This past Saturday, my blessed body was dehydrated and needing an IV, so to the ER I went. After 15 years with my pancreatic condition, my veins are shot. My skin has toughened, my veins have scarred over and are tiny and curvy, making it very hard to thread an IV catheter. 

It's gotten so bad that there is a note in my chart from my primary physician saying that the Doppler must be used to place my IVs.  Even so, most nurses insist on trying to place one without the Doppler first. Who am I to irritate my nurse by requesting she fetch a machine to do something she spent her training and nursing career perfecting?  Especially when she is the one in charge of hanging my saline and administering your meds. She is not a lady to piss off!

Per usual, my dehydration made Saturday's IV placement more difficult. The nurse claimed she didn't know where the Doppler was. So she tried on my right arm, and the vein rolled. She went to my other arm and looked up and down my pin-dotted, scarred skin. By looks alone, I probably look like I've been shooting heroin up and down my arms. The nurse found a deep vein, and she told me to prepare for a big stick.

Here is a side-bar of sorts: I have had IVs placed in my neck, in my inner thigh, in my feet. There is no pleasant IV stick. I learned early on that making noise and moving around only prolongs the procedure. I've taught myself to close myself off from the environment around me, and I elevate my soul up above the pain. I find a safe nook on the ceiling where my angels flutter in place and look over me. When you take your mind away from the pain, it can no longer hurt you. It's just a physical hiccup. It's over soon enough.

I could hear the snap of the IV needle and catheter disconnecting. The nurse flushed the IV with saline. Here is my magical moment, one that I doubt many, if any, share with me, but it deserves gratitude for sure. I can taste the saline in my mouth, and that is the precious sign that my body is going to get the fluids. Whichever parent I have with me always laughs at the moment I can taste it, because they can see the relief and joy on my face. I told my nurse how much I love the taste of saline, and like most I have told, she said she'd never heard that and that it's pretty odd. And it is, for a reason.

This is my routine explanation of WHY I love the taste of saline:
We all have different paths in life. If you are a chef, you probably love the smell of even the most exotic spices and can pick them out with one whiff. If you are a swimmer, you probably love the smell of chlorine. If you are a fisherman, you probably love the smell of the water upon which your boat dances. Much of my life over the past fifteen years has taken place in the hospital. That's been my journey. My body is my vessel and when it is low on fluids, it can't do anything right. So while it may be weird, tasting saline is a sign that I'm on my way back to life.

I can't think of anything better than that.