Friday night’s all right for fighting.
I’ve been unable to write lately because I’ve been in the hospital. Several hospitals. My liver and kidneys got sick of my crap and spontaneously agreed to stage a coup and attempt to abdicate; I had no idea they felt so strongly about disliking mashups, but I’ve promised to consider their opinions in the future. Looking back, it seems like such a silly thing to argue over. I think they feel the same. Anyway, I was jammed out to San Francisco for a bit, where the nicest cabal you can possibly imagine of highly intellectual medical overlords who are so smart and powerful that they get to swap people’s body parts around actually met up and voted to toss me a new liver so I could continue to be the body that rocks the party.
Preparations began for the transplant to ensue, but it all went on unbeknownst to me since I was mainly out like a trout for quite a couple days there and was pretty much wholly at the mercy of a luckily kind system — things went well for me, what with me spending my life being a good citizen E and paying in to this health care system and all. I do not know how it would have gone otherwise, but I thank God, truly, that from the moment I finally checked myself in to the hospital two weeks ago, until today at 1:30 when they released me, I’ve been taken care of with world-class speed, compassion, and totality.
See, I’d just thought I had flu or food poisoning or something for a few days at the beginning so I had been woefully barfing it out and collapsing in exhaustion at home and figuring on waiting until the weekend’s end to go see my regular doc; when I couldn’t stop throwing up and finally threw in the towel and agreed to go to a quasi-emergency room several Sundays ago, they all freaked out when I got there and said my liver was failing, which I knew must be true when I couldn’t really wake up for about three or four days and came around in SF and realized I’d basically almost died. I mean, I know that with Lost having ended, I would have at least died with my curiosity satisfied on that front, but I was kind of hoping to see how the mysteries of the rest of life shook out, watch my kid grow up; you know, sentimental shit like that.
Right about the time I woke up in the City and started trying to piece shit together, my own organs rethought throwing the doors open to a stranger and began to make a slow, halting comeback over the last 14-15 days. The cabal agreed that this was great news and I would rock the party much better and perhaps longer with my O.G. body parts in tact, as long as they promised to stay put and eat their vegetables this time. They took me off their too-cool-to-quit-school list, but it did remind me to harangue everyone I know about becoming an organ donor. I’ve been one since 2001. (Blows on fingernails.) No big deal. Be a hero, dudes. Anyway, Promoetheus, your liver is safe again — for now. See you after breakfast. Yeah, I just called myself a harpy. The analogy got away from me in a hurry.
I was bounced back to a hospital in my home town as things improved, which is when the deep boredom set in, but my friends and family were incredible and visited with me for hours every day. Their support in both San Francisco, which for a lot of my stay I was mainly unaware, and back here at home played a huge part in my being able to cheerfully and ably plow through the bizarre obstacle course I’ve been running this past half-month. Also, I’ve never thought hospital food was that bad. I kind of dug it and knew all the servers’ names.
Every morning, I woke up early, put on mascara and lipstick, and pinned flowers from my bouquets in my hair. I joked with the phlebotomists and the transporters and the nurses, and walked all over the hospital, getting off at floors and halls in which I did not belong and striding around confidently in my gown like I had every reason to be doing what I was. Once, in an elevator, an old man and his wife told me if I was trying to break out, I needed to change clothes. I agreed I was pretty conspicuous. I would wear one gown the proper way and use a second gown as a sort of robe. They gave me non-skid hospital socks but Panda Eraser collects those so I stashed those in my bag to take home and sported my busted-ass flip-flops all over the place. The trick in the hospital, like anywhere, was to act as though you were completely authorized to be doing everything you did at all times.
Don’t take this to mean I was a rebel. I actually went out of my way to be the best little patient ever. I did everything they told me and more, smiled and thanked everyone by name, and assured nurse after nurse repeatedly that I was a “tough stick” and they were doing a great job trying to lay that IV line. From a glance at my arms, I am afraid I look just like the lifelong chasers I was puzzling over in discussing Mr. Burroughs two weeks ago. Tough stick means I apparently have dodgy veins. To say a lot of people took a stab at me is to put it lightly. My track marks are freaky. I ended up with some IVs in some really weird places because every time they placed one in a usual spot, something would happen and my body would duck and dive out of it and chaos would ensue. My bruises pose a puzzle to anyone who looks at me. See? I’m so not cut out to be a heroin addict.
All in all, I got pretty in to the swing of things, hospital-routine-wise, and I actually don’t know what I’ll do when I wake up tomorrow at 5 a.m. and there is no one there to weigh me and suck my blood and count my heartbeats. It’s like, it’s cool to send me home and all, but it’s my blood, dudes, remember? That stuff you have positively not been able to get enough of for two weeks now? You’re turning your back on it now, after all that obsession? You loved that shit. Is this how it ends? No takers? I bet people around here aren’t even going to get excited when I pee. No applause, no saving my urine in cups, no measuring it, no nothing — seriously? I’m just not sure how I’ll feel special.
I guess what I’m saying is, if there are any vampires out there who like watersports and don’t mind a love object who needs a lot of rest, holla.
I was finally sprung this afternoon. I have a lot of catching up to do, but the experience — as genuinely grueling, unexpected, and unwelcome as it was — certainly gave me a lot to contemplate. I’d been considering shutting things down around here because my original plan had been a yearlong self-audit and that’s been up for a few weeks now, but my incredibly long amounts of time to do nothing but think in a hospital bed made me realize my audit will never end and I have so much more left to think about that I couldn’t possibly quit now.
I look forward to a continuing future of malarkey, shenanigans, tomfoolery, jacknapery and maybe even a little monkey shines. Inexpressibly glad to be back and please join me!
addendum: Right before I signed the paperwork to go, one of my many, many doctors was chatting with me and handed me a stack of reports from my many, many blood draws and urine cultures, and casually commented, “Oh, and you have e. coli.” Now, I overlooked this at the time in favor of being outside for more than 30 seconds in a row as soon as possible and not even strapped to a gurney to boot, but it’s beginning to, you might say, “nag” at me. Isn’t e. coli kind of … pretty bad? I don’t pretend to be a medical expert but I seem to remember everything I’ve ever heard about e. coli being pretty bad. I’ll be looking that up now.