Sunday, November 28, 2010
This helicopter ride I DO remember and I began thinking as the paramedics worked methodically on me that maybe this wasn’t going to be so much fun after all. Janice was sitting up front with the pilot and bouncing from window to window like a puppy on its first ride in the car. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see out the window since I was lying on a gurney with an oxygen mask over my face and I was shivering because the IV needle solution was making my arm so cold. Everything was so much colder now…now that I was quadriplegic. The nice firm muscle I used to have has by now almost wasted away. The muscle wasting, poor circulation and a tendency toward low blood pressure was what made me feel cold all the time. The thumping noise from helicopter blades beating off the winds lulled me into a fitful sleep and when I awoken again, it was by the gentle voice of paramedic calling Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh with my E.T.A. Now I really WAS nervous. I didn’t want to be in the hospital. Why didn’t I just go home after my Doctor appointment and let Eric and Janice nurse me back to health?
The hospital stay itself was a just one nightmarish image after another. My first memory of the six week stay in that place I had been dreaming that I was in some sort of cult where all the women had to comb their hair several times a day and I was very distraught because my hair getting was so thin from all the combing. Also, in the dream Eric had another woman and I was sobbing in despair and broken-heartedness. Meanwhile, out in the real world, Eric’s mother was sitting beside the head of my hospital bed patiently trying to comb the neurologist’s techs’ glue out of my long red hair. I’m told I was in a coma having massive brain seizures for 9 days due to overdosing error by a nurse complicated by an intern’s bright idea to DX (discontinue) ALL my meds while in the coma which probably caused the seizures because of withdrawal! I drifted between dreaming, hallucination, reality, delusion and back again. I have huge holes in memory, long and short term memory loss to this very day.
The nurses had put me on a gurney and moved me to very end of the ward back into the private break room area which was adjacent to the cleaning closet. Three of nurses stayed in the back and donned black robes over their scrubs. Past and behind rows of lockers there was a small black staging area. One of the nurses took off my dirty hospital pajamas, gave me sponge bath and then redressed me in fresh hospital garb. The other two were mixing a strong solution of acid from the cleaning supplies. All three wore strange and unique crystals around their necks and I listened intently as talked about how they were going to kill me since I was the most problematic patient they’d ever encountered. Of course, they didn’t use such gentle language. Finally they transferred me from the gurney and placed me on a large pillow of yellow foam which was sat on the stage. Before they all left for the shift a small nurse whose name was Vicky poured the acid solution over my chest, stomach, and legs. I could feel it burning my skin and as the night wore on pieces of foam melted out from under me. Gratefully, after praying for Christ to save my soul, I lost consciousness. (to be continued)