Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Post Game Report

Well, now that Q&A Day is out of the way, I can blog a little about my recent hospital incarceration stay. My little three day visit turned into five days for a few medical reasons and with only 7 channels on the 1970s TV fixed to the ceiling with a black pipe used for plumbing, I was a little strung out!

I was going in to be monitored as I started a very potent, almost experimental drug. I should have guessed what was in store for me when my first nurse had no clue why I was there and actually assumed I was in the hospital to have my implanted heart shocking/rhythm maintaining device checked. Uh, here’s the thing Nurse Dixie, I don’t have one. When I told her it was for the meds, she disagreed with me and then confessed to having never heard of Dofetilide, the med I was about to be given. It’s a good thing she had that nice grandmothery thing working because she would be doing something to me or writing something down and then say things like ‘oh wait, that’s not right’ or ‘it’s a good thing I caught myself, you shouldn’t have this.’ Instead of worrying, I just laughed, knowing I would probably die in her care. Fortunately, not long after I arrived, there was a shift change.

My first roommate was something one could only dream up, except I’m telling the truth. He was an older Southern Gentleman, a real dandy. Listening to his voice, I felt like the Confederates were just moments away from stealing my plantation and drinking all my sweet tea…I mean that what the Civil War was like, right? I should probably begin podcasting, because written word will never, ever do justice to my impersonation of him calling his mother’s caretaker. As he was watching an I Love Lucy rerun (as opposed to the new episodes I guess. Did I really need to say it was a rerun), he called his mom’s care taker and this is what I heard (now picture a very, very dignified Southern voice saying this ‘tell mutha, that Vitameatavegimin is on. You can watch your stories lata, Vitameatavegimin is on.’ I was laughing so hard I almost popped my IV out. Moments later his phone rang and in the same dignified voice, I heard ‘I will have to call you back in 90 minutes. Vitiameatavegimin is on and then I need to watch my Judge Hatchett.’ All I could do every time his mouth opened was picture Forrest Gump’s Mama’s house.

Now I believe it is well documented that I can do very little without messing it up. Unfortunately, hospitals stays are apparently no different. Since I was hooked up to a heart monitor that transmitted wirelessly (they can figure that out but not how to get a WiFi connection!!), I was free to take little walks. Part of what I like about walking in the hospital is that I always bring a pair of shorts and a t-shirt to wear, so I let my gown hang open from the rear. It cracks me up watching people turn around as I pass thinking my arse is hanging out (makes me think of the Mike Meyers/Danny Devito SNL sketch – Are you looking at my bum). If they are patients, they usually ask me how I got away with it and I just tell them no one stopped me. It’s a fun game to play and I highly suggest you try it next time you’re hospitalized!

For me, walking was actually encouraged so they could see how my ticker was holding up. I walked as often as I could. My mistake on my first walk was that I went all Energizer Bunny on everybody and just kept going. I saw a window and was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Of course the window was practically on the other side of the floor I was on. About 25 minutes later I realized I might have strayed a little too far so I headed back. It was about half way back, as I approached the elevators, that I thought I heard the faint sounds of my nurse calling my name. So, like any kid in trouble, I stopped to look for a place to hide and could not find one. As my flight or fight reflex took over, I started running towards my ward. I slowed down right before I got to the nurse’s station. She asked if I had been running. Forgetting that she could see every beat I take (with sincere apologies to The Police for butchering that line), I told her no. She then proceeded to tell me that I had gone too far and that she would tell me not to do it again, but since my heartbeat accelerated so rapidly during my ‘little walk,’ I should not walk again until I was shocked back into rhythm. It was at this point that I admitted I had run because I thought I was in trouble. Everyone that heard this just shook their heads. Yep, the trust was gone…no sucker for me.

I learned a few hospital stays back that if you know a visitor is coming, give them directions to the hospital that will take them past all the local eateries and say something to them like ‘I will tell the nurses not to let you in if you don’t bring me a burger and fries.’ This devious method of getting decent food has not failed me yet. But it did lead me to my second straight run-in with the nursing staff. My new nurse walked in as I was polishing off my Whopper (that’s what she said…sorry, that was SO easy) from lunch and gave me the lecture that I was not allowed to have outside food. I shoved the rest in my mouth and apologized for the misunderstanding. What I neglected to tell her was that my parents were on their way with tacos for dinner. Fearing the return of Nazi Nurse, I have never eaten tacos that fast in my life. Little tip here: don’t quickly gobble down spicy tacos. It is not gastronomically worth it!

Finally, after my shock back into normal rhythm and with plenty of my new medicine in my system, it was time to come home. That was until I tried to fill the prescription they gave me for my new med. The pharmacy told me they didn’t have anymore and had no idea how they were going to get any. I wanted to commend them for their excellent customer service skills, but figured it wasn’t worth it. My nurse stepped in to help and was able to get the pharmacy to give me a 14-day supply. When the pharmacist said that’s all they had, I made a joke about cleaning them out of Dofetilide. She said not to worry and that she was assuming I was the ONE person in the hospital who they had been supplying it to for the last 5 days. Now there’s a comforting thought…One of the biggest hospitals in LA and I was the ONLY person on this drug? Who the heck am I supposed to call if I get sweats, diarrhea, chronic fatigue, chills, blurred vision, liver failure, I start receiving AM radio signals in my head or get anything that lasts more than 4 hours? OK, I’ll admit, I probably would not call the same person for that last concern as I would for the rest of them, but you get the point…

Lastly, I must mention that 30 years ago today, Elvis Presley went into the bathroom and never came out. I am a huge Elvis fan and one of the only destinations I hope to get to before I die (hopefully not in the bathroom) is Graceland. In honor of this solemn day, I am going to turn on some of his music and make myself a Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich. You are all free to join me, thank you very much!!

34 comments:

Heart Of Darkness said...

Okay, now tell us all about that hot EKG-nurse! ;)

Michael C said...

Heart: Uh, crap...that was said in confidence ;-)

The Exception said...

Now, that sounds like quite the adventure - a trip back in time to old television shows, few from which to select, southern gentlemen (do they even exist anymore) and nurses with attitude!

Did you smuggle in more food after the tacos?

It is nly fitting that you are the only one on that drug as you are one of a kind!

Michael C said...

The Exception: It was quite the adventure. Perhaps I need to be hospitalized to get over my hospitalization?? ;-)

Patti said...

This is sooooo funny, Michael. You really should submit this for publication. It's great. ;- )

Michael C said...

Patti: Thanks! How was your interview??

ARM said...

What an adventure! I am totally picturing the running to the nurses station and then lying about not running. Just like a 5 year old. I love it. And the shoving the rest of the food in your mouth after she told you not to have outside food. Damn...you're awesome.

You really can't have outside food in a hospital? Or just that hospital? because when my niece was born in April, we kind of had a pizza party in the room.

I think a fried PBB is in order tonight for me, too, while listening to my Elvis collection. Minus the banana though, because...ew. But fried PB? YUM!

Ralph said...

For food smuggling, you mean nobody brought you a cake with a hacksaw in it to cut through the bars?

Are you sure it wasn't a placebo anyway?

The Elvis song that best fits your incarceration here is Jailhouse Rock

Michael C said...

Arm: None of the other nurses had trouble with me bringing in food. I mean I even offered to get them something too. Of course it was my guests that were paying for the meals ;-)

Have you ever had the fried Peanut Butters? It's really good. I actually got the recipe from a book about Elvis...I think it was written by his housemaid that actually cooked them for him.
Mmmmmmmmm, fried Peanut Butter and Banana.......

Ralph: That is very appropriate! His version of 'My Way' was kinda suitable, too ;-)

katherine. said...

your experimental...cool.

I don't do so well as a hospital visitor, but when the cub was in for a while last year...I was the Queen of Sneaking In Food...(and getting in trouble with the nursing staff...for phone useage)

Good to know you are doing so well..

Erica AP said...

Another blogger wrote about this weird way to die and now I'm scared to go to the bathroom because I think my heart will stop if I hold my breath... Haha... Glad you are back and doing ok. :)

FRIGGA said...

I love how you turn everything into an adventure. I've never had to stay in a hospital, but I don't do so well with rules. Besides, the way I figure it, if they're expirimenting on you with possible fatal side effects you should be allowed all the whoppers and tacos you want.


Okay, I've magically just made it possible for you to completely heal your heart and never have problems with it again - only catch is you have to saw off your left arm. What do you choose?

AndreAnna said...

I must have been reading too fast because at first I swore it said you almost pooped out your IV. Which cracked me up almost as much as imagining Forrest talking about Vitameatavegamin.

Michael C said...

Katherine: I did sneak a few secret cell phone calls in ;-)

Erica: Yeah, that could quickly become a major thing to worry about. Now I'm going to worry about it.

Frigga: But I like my left arm. I stick it out the window when I drive ;-)

AA: Don't worry, I actually accidentally typed that! Whenever we get together for fondue (or fundue), I will do Southern Gentleman's impersonation for you guys!

brandy said...

Ahh, you are a good man. I've always tried to get people to sneak in food. I've found that my nurses always get smart by the 3-4th day. I know stick to milkshakes, and things that can be hidden under the blanket without a lot of mess. And yes, I have given this a ridiculous amount of thought.

brandy said...

I'm pretty sure I could have slipped a 'that's what she said' in there somewhere, but I just don't have it in me today (whoa. that's a perfec that's what she said') yes!

AndreAnna said...

You did NOT just say "fundue"!!!

Oh. Em. Gee.

I am not sure we can be friends anymore.

AndreAnna said...

P.S. This is for you.

AndreAnna said...

Oh, dangit, it didn't show up.

Tina

Michael C said...

Bran: Sadly, the whole 'things that could be hidden' idea never occurred to me!! And I knew you could come up with a TWSS ;-)

AA: And here I was giving myself 'creativity' points' Oooops...
;-)

Michael C said...

AA: That SO makes up for you breaking my heart with not liking the Fundue reference ;-(

Odat said...

Sorry you had to stay five days!! damn!!! I just hate hospitals! But I suppose one must keep their sense of humor in tact in all situations, as you always do...
Peace

Michael C said...

Odat: heavy medication helps brighten one's outlook during a hospital stay, I say.

Ralph said...

The King singing 'My Way' is sadly appropriate on August 16. I'd have enjoyed it if he was still a part-time Vegas act. Such a talent, he was a better actor than his films after the Army. The movie 'King Creole' still plays well..

Terri said...

Great story Michael and glad to have you back and healthy; hope this new med works wonders for you. I love the reference to "are you looking at my bum!" I love that skit!

phishez_rule said...

I have no idea what the southern gentleman was saying, but it cracked me up all the same.

Glad to see you're back and at least alive.

Patti said...

Michael, I actually had a dream about an old Southern gentleman with a mustache.
Your story stuck with me through the night, apparently.

did he have a mustache?

Heart Of Darkness said...

Um...oups?


he he ;)

Jenny! said...

Damn boy! That sounds like 5 jam packed days of fun! I don't like Elvis...but can appreciate that other do enjoy him!

Michael C said...

Terri: That is a great sketch!!

Phishez: It was part of an old I Love Lucy episode. Apparently a very big part, according to Southern Gentleman ;-)

Patti: I don't remember a mustache, sorry.

Heart: Here's a surprise....I forgive you...

Jenny!: Jam packed, but not fun! ;-)

meleah rebeccah said...

Welcome Home!

I will forever have images of you stuffing your face with Tacos and Burger King, (which by the way you consider to be DECENT FOOD) That unto itself is funny.

Michael C said...

Meleah: Thanks! Yeah, it's better than hospital food, but let's be honest...it's no steak or lobster ;-)

kat said...

Only you could make a hospital stay sound fun. I like the hospital gown trick. Very funny.

kat said...

PS... Glad the medicine (or Nurse Dixie) didn't accidentally terminate you.