Friday, December 31, 2010
Early that morning, Eric tried to wake and barely got a response from me being as overly medicated as I was but he noticed my cup was empty and thought perhaps I’d had a bad night. So he went ahead and rolled me onto my left side, inserted a suppository into my bum, and began my bowel routine. He left the room for a little while to give the Biscevac time to work. Upon Eric’s return, I was having what he described as massive diarrhea and also discovered to his dismay that I was not breathing well. Thank God we had Dale there to help out; he called the paramedics while Eric cleaned me up and used my cough assist machine to fill my lungs between jagged exhales. It must have been just enough first aid until the EMI’s arrived because Eric was able to change my catheter as well, with the help of our good friend, before the ambulance arrived.
The first hospital I went to was Latrobe where they immediately put me on a ventilator for a collapsed lung. I was probably already having brain seizures but no one knew for sure because an MRI could not be taken with their machines since the vent had one tiny part made of metal. The staff at Latrobe wanted to life flight me back to Presbyterian but Eric refused to let them after what happened last time and feared I might go into shock if I woke there again. He’s absolutely correct; I would have lost my mind if I would have opened my eyes and the first thing I thing saw their ward or regained consciousness and to the sound of those eerie bells ringing all the time (or was that at Mercy?). All I’ve got to go on up to this point is how Eric’s recollection of events played out. According to him, they finally found an ambulance that would support a ventilator to take me to Pittsburgh. I was rushed to the South Side Hospital as per my wishes should this type of situation ever arise again. Once more, I could not have the MRI I so critically needed. The head neurologist there was vehement about getting me into a facility where I could have that test done IMMEDIATELY. Fortuitously, this doctor also practiced at another hospital nearby but all the rooms in the ICU unit were full. Now, the problem was finding a hospital with an open bed AND a ventilator acceptable MRI. Finally Eric just threatened to take me out of the UPMC network and put me in Allegheny General. Of course, it was a hollow threat but it worked and a room in the ICU mysteriously and miraculously opened up at Mercy Hospital who’s intake people had said only hours earlier that there was a waiting list.
Meanwhile, I was having the strangest dreams; they were different parts of the same story that seemed to go on for weeks … even months. First I was standing on a grassy plain and off in the distance I saw giant polygon shaped ball bouncing and rolling its way toward me. As it clumsily maneuvered ever closer I realized it was composed entirely of what resembled massive bubble wrap. It landed gently in front of me and a hidden door opened up, out and down almost forming a sort of ramp. Standing at the top was man who told me to climb up and take his hand. “I’m the head doctor of this hospital.”He said, tanned face smiling down at me and a high noon sun shining on his silver hair.”Don’t be afraid, we will take care of you.” I usually still dreamt that I was able bodied and I tried without much success to crawl up the slippery, bumpy, and squishy material the structure was made of. Eventually, I got close enough to grasp the doctor’s outstretched hand and he pulled me the rest of the way inside. I don’t remember much about the inside of rolling hospital because the dream sequence changed and I was seeing the bouncing, rolling, and flying hospital from the outside. The door closed perfectly and we started to roll, then bounce, then soar through the air over the grass, then sand, then water and eventually I could see continents and finally we landed with bounce and roll on an island. (To be continued)