By BadDoggie (Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 03:17:45 PM EST) hospitals, ventilation, coma, sufentanil (all tags)
Friday, January 24, 2014.

I have a disabling auto-immune disease which, for three years running now, results in week-long hospital stays in the neuro wing for observation and mild intervention.

Exactly nine weeks ago I was taken into a different (wrong) hospital for unrelated emergency surgery. Apparently Voltaren (diclofenac) does not mix with steroids of any kind; together they Swiss cheese your digestive tract. News to me and my doctors who'd been prescribing both. The hospital used meds completely contraindicated by my condition, then undermedicated me in recovery.

Seven-and-a-half weeks ago I told 'em to stick the opiates, checked out, and went back home to be with my family. Grin & bear it, I'd still make Christmas.

Or so I thought...

Exactly six weeks ago I went to my physician to have the staples removed. Despite the scar from chest to pubes, he told me I looked better than I had since being diagnosed three years ago. Family Christmas was a GO.

Exactly five-and-a-half weeks ago I felt the disease rearing up and went back to "my" hospital. Christmas was still possible. My wife came to visit me every day but I remember nothing because...

Exactly five weeks ago I was crashing. They intubated me, transferred me to ICU, and put me into an induced coma.

Exactly one month ago -- they told my wife that there would probably be an opening on the New Years' guest list.

When she came back the next day, they told her she was now basically married to a potato. That I'd probably die without regaining consiousness and even if they did manage to wake me (glossing over the fact that they were the ones to put out my lights), I'd be prone and on a ventilator until I had the decency to shuffle off anyway. Happy Christmas.

Exactly four weeks ago I woke up. It wasn't my most pleasant day but I had no idea...

Exactly three weeks ago the ventilation tube was removed and I was able to breathe normally almost immediately. I demanded the phone and called home. I heard the tone of her voice as she received another call from the hospital at an unexpected hour.

"I love you," came my rasp.
"You don't know how long I've been waiting to hear that."
"You don't know how long I've been waiting to say it."

Within two hours I'd ditched the oxygen mask; I was able to breathe regular air, unaided.

Exactly two-and-a-half weeks ago I was moved out of ICU and up to a monitoring ward. All but four tubes had been removed.

The next day my 4-year-old daughter was able to visit me. Penny purse in hand, she insisted on buying us both an ice cream. Never has shit ice cream tasted so good. We ate it together in my wheelchair.

Exactly one-and-a-half weeks ago I was transferred to a normal ward for a few days' observation as the last of my tubes were removed and all IV meds were replaced with tablets. Shitty but solid food and release in sight.

I kept walking until I had to sit down, then walked some more. And more. And more. Within two days I could do 140m without a break. The sooner, the better, the less rehab.

Exactly one week ago I was released. Before lunch.

Today I'm back at work, back to doing home tasks, recovering without therapists, and doing pretty much everything that's supposed to be impossible, from picking up my kids to going shopping for groceries.

Tomorrow morning my daughter and I will make pancakes together. When they're done I'll grab the baby and let my wife sleep a little longer.

A couple of hours ago I was at my GP's again. They'd kept him apprised of the goings-on and told him things that hadn't been included in the official notes. I wasn't quite as sly as I'd thought. The ICU people had seen me trying to exercise my arms and legs whenever I thought they weren't around. That alone may have saved me years of physical therapy.

Update since I couldn't finish writing this in time:
We made pancakes together. She remembers all the ingredients, most of the recipe, and did most of the work. It was just the start of a good day.

< I really am a winner. | Free Spin! >
O HAI. I ATEN'T DEAD YET. | 38 comments (38 topical, 0 hidden)
good to hear from you by aphrael (4.00 / 2) #1 Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 03:20:37 PM EST
> "I love you," came my rasp.
> "You don't know how long I've been waiting to hear that."
> "You don't know how long I've been waiting to say it."


I'm glad you're still with us.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

What he said. by ana (4.00 / 2) #2 Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 03:39:11 PM EST
Welcome back to the land of the living. Please to stay a while.

I now know what the noise that is usually spelled "lolwhut" sounds like. --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Dammit! by clock (4.00 / 2) #3 Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 06:07:50 PM EST
Stick around, old man. You have things to do. Like broaden horizons to waffles!

I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

Thanks for making it through. by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 06:39:41 PM EST
I'm glad to hear it.

Welcome back to the living! by infinitera (4.00 / 1) #5 Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 08:12:23 PM EST
Your tales of the medical system and its human errors are quite harrowing.

Congrats on pancakes/chef apprentice!

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

You should write a book about all this... by atreides (4.00 / 1) #6 Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 08:16:17 PM EST
Oh, and happy you're not dead. That would have ruined my year. And that is not sarcasm.

He sails from world to world in a flying tomb, serving gods who eat hope.

Let's hope this year is better than last by BadDoggie (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:55:48 AM EST
Having caught up with goings-on here I'm not sure I'd want to trade positions.


Cock sauce goes with everything! -- Gedvondur

[ Parent ]
ain't dead yet. by gzt (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 08:58:30 PM EST

glad to hear you're holding onto that mortal coil of yours.

Wooo! by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #9 Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:39:20 AM EST
Life. Generally better than the alternative.
It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
O HAI. I GLAD YOU ATEN'T DEAD. by hulver (4.00 / 2) #10 Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 09:00:23 AM EST
Cheese is not a hat. - clock
Jesus, dude. by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #11 Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:01:37 AM EST
I am so happy that you are back home and feeling better.

Heh, the poll question struck a nerve with me..I wasn't able to eat or drink for a month either. :-)

I caught myself dreaming about buying many fancy bottles of spring water, chilling them perfectly, and then sipping them from small cordial glasses like they were fine brandy.

Glad you are feeling better, bud.

" isn't like I dug up her great-grandmother and fucked her in the eye socket." - clock
Yep, water. by BadDoggie (4.00 / 1) #13 Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 03:00:40 PM EST
I was watching TV and thinking about how fucking good it would be. And then I was able to get the nurse assistants (via one main one) to let me have a big syringe with plain water to rinse my mouth, but I had to use suction to clear it.

Actually drinking was fucking awesome. I drank some plain but got them to bring carbonated. Had to mix 50-50 at first. My wife snuck me in a Coke. There is some serious cardamom in that stuff, but also a fuckton of carbonation. I got my tongue wet and had to wait 30 seconds for the fizz to die down. In the end I got through  maybe a capful of it, and it was also pretty awesome. I'm back to normal and it's still mostly water, but I have a rediscovered appreciation for Coke.


Cock sauce goes with everything! -- Gedvondur

[ Parent ]
Coke by FlightTest (4.00 / 1) #14 Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 03:45:42 PM EST
Is your Coke Americanized with HFSC or is it the good stuff with cane sugar?

More and more, "Mexican Coke" is starting to mean something you drink, not something you snort.

[ Parent ]
HFCS is due to price fixing by BadDoggie (4.00 / 2) #16 Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:37:04 PM EST
The US is still supporting Big Sugar (Florida politics) and "punishing" Cuba with sugar tariffs. Soviet Europa has sugar at reasonable prices which we mostly get from sugar beets, retail is €0.65-0.95/kg (about 40-59¢/lb.).

The only thing I ever see from Mexico is LiveLeak videos of the latest Zeta insanity.


Cock sauce goes with everything! -- Gedvondur

[ Parent ]
Actually I was aware of the politics by FlightTest (2.00 / 0) #21 Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:45:36 PM EST
and have railed against them from time to time, mostly to people whose eyes just glaze over.

i was really just wondering if Coke was mandating the formulation, every so often there's a rumour that coke will make the Mexican bottlers switch to HFSC to make the taste consistent, and/or stop competing with U.S. bottlers.  Mexican Coke seems to be a noticeable % of coke sales here, most every place is carrying it.  Certainly not in anywhere near the quantities of HFCS coke, but still, the demand is high enough to justify the shelf space.

[ Parent ]
Coke mandates everything by BadDoggie (2.00 / 0) #26 Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 03:10:18 PM EST
It was off the shelves in discount giant Lidl for a few weeks due to squabbles over pricing. Coke controls everything from manufacturing to pricing to shelf space and display. They love being able to traffic across the North American borders but don't like certain aspects like the sugar issue. If Mexican bottlers are affecting the gringos, you can be certain corp will step in, but I can't see them requiring any bottler to use more expensive ingredients. I'd figure they would simply demand tighter control over distribution.


Cock sauce goes with everything! -- Gedvondur

[ Parent ]
Dublin Dr Pepper! by StackyMcRacky (4.00 / 1) #20 Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 12:49:14 PM EST

[ Parent ]
(Comment Deleted) by FlightTest (2.00 / 0) #22 Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:50:45 PM EST

This comment has been deleted by FlightTest

[ Parent ]
Dublin Dr. Pepper hasn't existed for a year. by FlightTest (4.00 / 1) #23 Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:54:06 PM EST
s/a year/2 years by FlightTest (2.00 / 0) #24 Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 01:55:03 PM EST

[ Parent ]
LA LA LA by StackyMcRacky (2.00 / 0) #29 Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 04:52:20 PM EST

also, Dr. Pepper sells non-HFCS 8oz bottles in Texas to compete with Dublin.  Well, to not compete any more, but the point is you can buy it at many grocery stores.  Not that I'm in Texas.  I MISS HEB!

[ Parent ]
Heh by Gedvondur (4.00 / 1) #19 Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 11:50:24 AM EST
They would let me suck on ice chips occasionally, especially after the surgeries.  Little known fact, anesthesia can kill your ability to make saliva.  I woke up one morning with my mouth perfectly dry.  I even felt my tongue with my fingers because I was sure it would be unlikely to happen again.  Feels like crushed velor.

When I'd brush my teeth there was nothing better than that mouth-full of cold rinse water, even if I had to spit it out.  Because of my particular issues, I have only been able to drink carbonated anything for about a month and a half now.  I'm enjoying the occasional soda and the occasional beer now.

" isn't like I dug up her great-grandmother and fucked her in the eye socket." - clock
[ Parent ]
Brush teeth, rinse with syringe, 10ga suction tube by BadDoggie (4.00 / 1) #27 Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 03:17:13 PM EST
No ice chips because no ice. Ventilator down the throat left an opening directly to the stomach so in theory (quoth a nurse) I could swallow the water without any risk at all. Except that it would always trigger a choking response, but you can't cough when intubated, so you're lying there with your body convulsing trying to cough because a drop of water went down the correct path.

I was persistent. But it was still water that went through sterile plastic which imparts a very peculiar taste on everything, noticed by a tongue with heightened sensation due to deprivation.

While most of the drugs do dry you up, my primary medicine Mestinon increases salivation so drastically that I made a bull mastiff convention look as dry as the fucking Sea of Tranquility.


Cock sauce goes with everything! -- Gedvondur

[ Parent ]
Sucking ice is the best when nil by mouth by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #31 Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 06:53:20 PM EST

[ Parent ]
Welcome back! by georgeha (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:24:05 AM EST

Thanks for not dying on your family by FlightTest (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:03:47 PM EST
That would have been rather rude of you.  :P

Wouldn't want them to get bored now... by BadDoggie (2.00 / 0) #17 Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:40:41 PM EST
Actually, boring would be nice. Is nice. We all know I'll be back there in a few months, but probably only in the boring ward without monitors and tubes and anything more than a single cannula (SOP for safety and visually demonstrating you're an in-patient).


Cock sauce goes with everything! -- Gedvondur

[ Parent ]
Welcome back! by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #18 Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 10:21:35 AM EST
Why the aversion to PT? No good providers in your area?

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

*Can't* PT. by BadDoggie (4.00 / 1) #25 Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 03:04:57 PM EST
Exercising is nearly impossible and exacerbates the problems caused by the disease. This made getting off the ventilator difficult since the gradual taking over of the work of breathing is complicated, something one nurse's assistant didn't comprehend as she basically shut off the forced inhale pressure, insisting I'd been up for a few days and needed to get off the ventilator which wasn't going to happen as long as it was doing all the work. Luckily I was able to bang shit loud enough to get the doctors who hadn't left the floor yet to come running.


Cock sauce goes with everything! -- Gedvondur

[ Parent ]
Also, by BadDoggie (4.00 / 1) #28 Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 03:28:40 PM EST
If I'd gone with their program, I'd probably be leaving the hospital in another week or two. In a wheelchair. I'd be allowed to stand up twice a day (aided) and maybe hobble to the bathroom if supervised.

In short, entry into therapy would be so long that damage through atrophy would continue during the time it was supposedly being countered. My way is straightforward: lots more pain meds so that I can concentrate on what's important and keep the hurt in the background and get through this shit. It's why I had 100% usage & ~90% strength in my left shoulder in under a year instead of the expected max. 60% after 2-3 years.

My wife knows I'm right about this. She's seen it before and also knows that the situation is self-limiting. I could load up on the heaviest of opiates; once I hit the limit, my body will sit itself down, leaving me only the choice of how gracefully it does this. At the hospital I could feel the onset and would take a seat for a couple of minutes before continuing.


Cock sauce goes with everything! -- Gedvondur

[ Parent ]
I hope you'll be one of those examples... by theboz (4.00 / 1) #30 Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 06:07:09 PM EST
Long after the salad eating bike riding HuSites have long bit the dust, you'll probably be that lone exception that our children will all be like, "What?!?! My daddy died twenty-six years ago and you tell me that BadDoggie guy is still alive?!?!"
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
You know the REALLY fucked-up thing? by BadDoggie (4.00 / 1) #35 Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 05:34:15 PM EST
When I was living hard, everything was fine. It was when I stopped doing all that to myself that the bottom fell out.


Cock sauce goes with everything! -- Gedvondur

[ Parent ]
Jesus bleep by johnny (2.00 / 0) #32 Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 09:03:59 PM EST
Holy cow best wishes to you and yours. What an astounding, if horrible experience. What gift you've given us in writing it up here.

Now go away, back to your family, and life. Come back and see us in a few days or so.

She has effectively checked out. She's an un-person of her own making. So it falls to me.--ad hoc (in the hole)

Glad to have you back by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #33 Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 08:53:37 AM EST

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
holy crap. by technician (2.00 / 0) #34 Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 11:38:45 AM EST
Wow, man. Glad you're back. Also, excellent writeup. Also, holy crap.

Bloody hell by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #36 Mon Feb 03, 2014 at 05:47:01 PM EST
Please to be keeping up with the ent ded yet kthxbai.

thats quite a by flowergrrl (2.00 / 0) #37 Tue Feb 04, 2014 at 01:50:30 PM EST
holiday illness tale! I am very glad that you're here and able to re-tell this story. :) 

I'm so glad you have a lovely wife by muchagecko (2.00 / 0) #38 Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 11:22:10 PM EST
 who kept us updated.

You have always been a lucky man.

I kept thinking of you at your best - giving hell to us idiots on the intarwebs. I like to think that our positive thoughts helped.

A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
My Name is Earl

O HAI. I ATEN'T DEAD YET. | 38 comments (38 topical, 0 hidden)