Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The stars look very different, today...

Some of you may remember, in past posts, me talking about the sense of connectedness I had with the earth and all my friends during these times of debilitating illness. Attached back to earth I was, by an imaginary cord like spiderweb or silk. You know how silks are said to be stronger, yet more elastic, than steel that's been spun out into a thread like that silk is? Fragile as it also was, that thread kept me connected to ground, to home, to the people of my life. It held my will to live.

And every time I got bad sick again, the illness would be worse than the time before, and that thread tying me to home would have to stretch farther and farther. And it always did; it stretched to hold me fast but it never broke. It always held me, connected me, attached me, safe.

Wondering, though - I mean, who wouldn't? - if one day - Surely, surely, some day it would stretch too far and have to snap. Wouldn't it? And what would happen then? Would I keep drifting off farther away into outer space, spinning and floating and all *can't breathe but that's okay really, it'll-all-be-over-quicker-that-way...*

And this time that strong and fragile silk snapped.

And I made it back anyway.

I think...

So yes,
I'm at home now. I spent most of the last year in the hospital or nursing homes - some 12 or 15 hospital admissions alone, I'll have to go back and tot 'em up to know for sure. The insurance company appears to be contemplating their ever-rising bills and considering treatment alternatives. (Let's hope they aren't getting skittish on us, huh?) They took me off IV, back on oral super-antibiotics, and made up a sort of hospital room at home. House-call doctors and everything!

The last time they did that they nearly killed me. I wouldn't like that
treatment alternative one bit, although it certainly would be cheaper, especially in the long run. heh! But their dastardly schemes haven't worked not even once, so I agreed to give it another try, and so far so good. I am alive.

The last admission with any drama attached was November 13, 2009 - yup, Friday the 13th - through Thanksgiving Day. I woke up in a Level 1 Trauma Center/ICU, across the room from the helipad. I couldn't talk, or put a coherent sentence together in my mind the way we call "thinking;" couldn't write and had to *x* my name on some papers. All can be symptoms of a stroke; but I knew that wasn't it, it wasn't what happened to me.

But what did?

Next to my space-age triple-computerized ICU bed stood a great bear of a man created from an ex-20 year Marine midstate Louisiana Cajun, a military haircut, brilliant intelligence, and 260 pounds of solid muscle - a nice safe-feeling thing, considering the maybe 1800 cops and shot-up (ex-) fugitives and pissed-off (presumably innocent) (presumably unarmed) bystanders roaming about. This was one of the two - yes, only two - nurses I had in the 3 or 4 days I spent up there.

Luckily, we communicated extremely well without talking.
He saw my great frustration in trying to string 2 - 3 words together in a way that made sense; he waited just a bit - checking, assessing, you know? - then told me, "ssshhhhhh, quiet, you don't need to talk just now..."

He was very direct. Forthright. Didn't feed me platitudes or try to placate me. Notice how he didn't say "You're going to be juuust fiiine!" to try to make me feel better? Because how can anyone really know? And ordinary practical realities aside, I was now in a 24-bed ICU with a 50% survival rate.

That's it. What ICU is all about. Half the beds they wheeled back out the door had dead people in them. I mean, come on... Okay. Every one's different. But me, I really appreciated his style; I always would have anyway, but it was exactly what I needed just then..

Later I learned I'd been in full-blown sepsis from a type of mycobacteria - rare enough to cause quite a stir in the Trauma Center - and pneumonia. The nurse was feeding my IV from a huge bag of dopamine, and doing all sorts of other exotic things with my oxygen and lung or breathing measurements and such. When they brought me in, my blood pressure was in the 70's over 30's.

Yeah. Dead level.

Hmmm. Enough on that episode for now.

Well. Enough on this post for now, too. Writing is exhausting me and I'm still so very, very tired; but I had to check in, I just had to, gathering up all my great strength, oh huge it is, I bet it's almost as big as a new-born kitten's by now. I've missed everyone so much, and your comments and emails kept me attached here in their own way after all, so hugs and kisses to each and every one.

And maybe an extra one or two out of my real and powerful gratitude to the still-anonymous Mystery Person who decided, for mysterious reasons of their own, to send me this beautiful - and working - Mystery Computer I'm typing on. Perhaps they were indulging a hope it would kick a post out of me? --ah, vanity...


It was probably just Bane.