Part two: I look like Nick Nolte
So now I’m out of the ICU and into my own room upstairs (technically, I was in a very large room of my own in ICU, but I only felt and saw the space I occupied at the time).
My good friend Mr. Heparin seems to be doing the trick, and soon the doctor (one of five on my case) will introduce me to Heparin’s wily blood thinner sidekick and replacement, coumadin.
Coumadin, not cumen, because that would just be silly. Like naming your child “Hashtag”.
The next few days will be the transition from heparin to coumadin. Once that’s done, I will be discharged.
It’s Sunday afternoon. With any luck, I will be discharged Wednesday.
Now while in the ICU, the hair that hasn’t been ripped away or shaved has been growing, and when I catch myself in the mirror over the sink, I am reminded of that old police department mug shot of Nick Nolte. Never gonna get that image out of my head now. Thanks, me.
A few days pass, in which I am woken frequently from my drug-enhanced stupor to be poked by what seems to be a neverending assortment of needles. And nurses checking my BP. And needles. And more nurses changing my IV. Oh, and more needles.
In my lifetime, I have never dealt with more pricks in a small space of time like this. Well, maybe except for when I was an actor.
Wednesday. Time to blow this taco stand. Only hold there, cowboy. Doc says you’re not at the appropriate level just yet, so Thursday is now the target date.
I have had it. My arms look like those of a junkie, I am continually in between sleep and awake (no Tinkerbell BTW – Barrie lied his ass off), and nonstop reruns of Friends and Big Bang Theory are taking their toll.
I am never leaving this place.
My parents remind me that it is still the twenty-first century by providing a Nook for me. Learning the damn thing has given me something to focus on. Bliss. I cannot stress this enough. Fucking bliss.
Thursday. Nope, not quite there yet. Eating more solid food, chatting with hospital folk, tackling the Nook, and taking myself on walks and bathroom stops are what keep me sane. The IV in my left arm and having to walk my little IV tree have also given me a purpose. Go too far, and the tree goes boom. My left arm dreams of the day it can sing “Free at Last”.
Friday. A couple more days, one of the many Docs says. I can do this, I tell myself. No chest pains anymore, regular diet, lucidity, and relatively normal brain functions. My body argues that I should have been outta there Wednesday, and I can’t dispute it. But let the docs do what they do, and I will get out soon enough.
Saturday. The level is right. Homeward bound. Really. I experience the long forgotten feel of clothes and shoes on my feet, and the complete use of my left arm once again. Eleven days. Started with excruciating abdominal pain, and ended in a way that none of us would have believed.
Folks, for me, it’s Christmas all over again. The doctors still don’t know what caused the blood clot, but I have my health back. Sure, if subjected to the wrong stimulus, I will now bleed or bruise like a sonuvabitch, but for now, I am home. I have use of both my arms.
I still look like a junkie, though.
That day, I had no idea what was to happen. There was absolutely no warning, no ah ha! moments discovered later by the doctors. It just happened. And then with a lot of help, it was gone.
So folks, don’t sweat the small stuff. Just, don’t. If you take anything from my little philosophical buffet, let it be to live your life.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took care of me, gave me food, and even the ones who drove needles into me incessantly. I really have no idea where I would be now if it wasn’t for all of you.
But please don’t take this personally – I never want to see any of you again.
Well, that about wraps it up for me. This is my second day of being at home, feeling the sunlight, listening to the silence, and pretty much learning to walk again (two weeks in bed, let’s see how you fare).
I am happy for my life. I am grateful for my gift.