Tuesday, December 14, 2004

blood and guts

Somewhere around my last birthday, I began to feel pretty shitty.

I'd been really dragging myself around for a long time...and never able to get past feeling like I was the walking dead.

Those commercials on t.v. about "leukemia-related anemia," where like people are all gaunt and lifeless---me. And so, I was all wondering if I could score some of that drug on the street, as I don't have leukemia. But, hell, it appeared to DO WONDERS for THOSE FOLKS...

And so...I'm all breathless just making the bed...getting chest pains and palpitations...massive headaches...then...I began to lose my hearing. I explained all that shit to other things. Smoking...caffeine...Rage Against the Machine on the walkman...

Quite a few times I'd get these massive headrushes...and flashing lights. The visual shit was like constant...trippy at first...then annoying. I just shook my head and thought, "brain damage."

And then...one day...my stomach was killing me...I worked for a bit, left for lunch...then...I just dropped. I called in sick the rest of the work day...and fell into this semi-coma on the bed. Hours later, I awoke...went out back to smoke...and just about fell through the deck I was sitting on. Something in my head said DON'T GO BACK TO BED. GET YOUR SHIT TO ANY FUCKING HOSPITAL.

And so I did. Alone I waited. I stared mostly, and sought to hold my head up. But I nodded off quite a bit. I was sooooo out of it. And I remember staring at this group of black people for like ever, until I heard this one big dude say "Shi--- that's the whitest white chick I've ever seen!"

So...after 7 hours of staring and nodding off...they take me into THE SMALLER WAITING ROOM in the ER. Okay...so, what's with the term EMERGENCY here? Man, people were clogging that shit with their shaving cuts and torn cuticles, okay? Here or there some overdose wannabe...but...mostly alot of fatass people sitting, eating, and talking about nothing at fucking all emergency related...

I would have left, but I was like so out of it...it didn't even occur to me to get pissed off at that shit.

So like I tell them that I know I have an ulcer...cause I did...

(You see, I have this nerve deal in my back and I have to take shitloads of Advil to endure it...work related...ah...but whogivesashit, huh? Worker's Comp is a fucking lie. And that's the end of that story.)

...and I simply said that the Tagamet wasn't working anymore. I needed something else to deal with these ulcers...and then just let me fucking go already. So, they like do all these tests...I don't remember very well. But then they bail for another hour or so. It was freezing cold in that room...and at one point I just wanted to get dressed and go home. But first, DAMN, I NEED JUST ONE CIGARETTE!

And so...this little group of lab-coat wearing Asians come sternly, yet softly, walking up. And they're all, "Are you here alone?" And I'm all yes...and they're all, "You need to get someone down here. You need to get your affairs in order, do you have a preference on whether we should resusitate you?" I'm all like FUCKING WHAT? And they're all, "We're keeping you. You are very sick, and, actually you are going into decompensatory hypovolemic shock..." I'm all like FUCKING WHAT? And they're all, "Look. You have an ulcer. And you're losing blood. The fact is, this has been a chronic condition for quite a long time." And I was all, yeah, so? And they were all like, "You have just under a 4 on your hemoglobin." And that was it. I was like, "Look. I don't know what you're trying to say. I feel like shit, yes. I have an ulcer, yes. But, I need to go now. And I want the closest door...as I intend to go smoke." And they were all like, "Okay, listen to me now. You have bled out 3/4 of your blood supply. You will die. We will not let you go. We intend to give you a blood transfusion beginning in about 3 minutes, and you better get it together. You have some very serious decisions to make, and you better get SOMEONE down here to help you deal with this."

So like, I cried. (Mainly 'cause they wouldn't let me smoke.) (Oh, and also, I don't like it when people pull that "listen to me now," shit on me...I have issues with all that kind of attitude.) (And, hey, who are YOU to say I'm GONNA DIE, bitch?) (But, mainly, THEY LOOKED LIKE THEY WERE RIGHT.) (And, that, coupled with not being able to smoke, made me weepy.)

So...they gave me something in my I.V. that made it all keen.

Then...overnight they filled me with 5 units of OTHER PEOPLE'S BLOOD.

Okay...that's just really weird. I mean, hell, I'm all grateful...I really am. But, like from that point until even today, anytime I get a cut, I'm all, "ew...not even my blood...." And, I also had this deal with the stomach surgeon who like tortured me. He like wanted to shove this like hose down my non-sedated throat...allthefuckingway into my stomach. Then, he was just gonna HANG for a bit...as this hose has a camera...and they were lookin to make a video. I was freaking out at the nurse all explaining this procedure that I HAD TO HAVE DONE. She then responded to my utter RUN FOR YOUR LIFE response...and informed me that they have a cool way to help with it all.

This medical professional (the nurse) then went on to tell me that the Hierarchical medical professional (the G.I. guy) would be using "this medication" just before he does the procedure. She further informs me that, it's closely related to "the DATE RAPE DRUG...so YOU WON'T REMEMBER A THING!"

Uh fucking huh. What kind of midevil-back-ass-street-drug-peddling place have we here?

I guess they made out okay...

...found 6 ulcers...various stages of onset and healing...no cancer...and had to pin me down several times...and you know...although Dave (my man) tells me I kept fighting/apologizing...I DON'T REMEMBER A DAMN THING!!!

Eventually they let me out with my tubes and IV and all that shit...to go smoke. It was lovely. And yet I felt a little guilty.

Over that weekend, I incurred $15,000.00 of hospital costs...received blood from 5 different people...and was able to cuss out a gastrointestinal surgeon and never had to apologize for it. (As I don't even really know for certain that it happened...okay?) People make shit up when they know for a FACT that you can't remember JACK SHIT.

I still struggle with the back stuff...blah blah...and now I must take less Advil (yikes, huh?) and I have to spend zillions of dollars on iron and prilosec. But...guess it's worth it...not to die and all.

Hey...I think some of those blood donors were athletes. And musicians. I have overwhelming urges to ski downhill...rockclimb...and I have a really great sense of rhythm now.

So...I'm really thankful to whoever you are, all 5 of you out there. Really nice of you to like help me out of not dying and all. I wish I could just track you 5 guys down and let you know what your blood's been up to, you know?

And yet...in a way...I sense you're all right here with me...

Okay. Enough blood and guts and stupid jokes for one night...

Oddly aware of how grateful I am just to be alive...