Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the strange man i spent two nights with...

whilst in the hospital i did have the luxury of having a private room for the first 2 days. around 2 am on the second night the nurse woke me up to let me know that someone else needed a private room more than i did, so i got moved to a shared room. luckily the rooms are divided by two huge curtains that envelope each patient's bed entirely, so there was a good amount of privacy.

the guy i was with was a 44 year old black man (he looked more like 64), i don't know exactly why he was there, other than the fact that he was clearly out of his mind. but he was a quiet kind of crazy, luckily. he didn't really talk to me at all, which was fine by me. but when he did talk he was really slow, probably due to sedatives he was on. the curtains were hung so they came up about 2 feet from the floor, so when mister crazy would get out of bed i could see his feets moving around... going to the bathroom (where he wouldn't bother to close the door, lift the seat or flush the bowl) or when he would roam out into the hall in his zombie-shuffle type of walk only to be escorted back into our room by a nurse telling him, "THIS is your room sir!". so apparently he was roaming out of our room and into other people's rooms... maybe trying to climb into bed with them, i don't know. and on occasion he would shuffle on over to the sink which was right next to me and he'd just stare at the wall... semi in my direction, close enough for him to pounce on me in one move if he felt so inclined. i would have had to pull out my I.V. and tried to stick him with it if it came down to it.

on the second day with him some psychiatric doctors came to evaluate him, they asked him a bunch of questions but the conversation that got me nervous went like this:

doc: "sir, do you hear voices in your head?"
crazy: "yes, sometimes."
doc: "whose voice is it?"
crazy: "my dead friend"
doc: "does he ever tell you to hurt yourself or others?"
crazy: "NO" (thank god!)
doc: "do you ever feel like signs and symbols on the street are giving you messages?"
crazy: "yes"

that's about all that i remember that was notable... but it was enough to make me sleep ever so lightly.
he did warm up and finally started chatting with me about 3 hours before i left the hospital, just generic stuff like asking how i was feeling and getting my name and junk. he seemed nice enough and a lot more together than when i first met him. i wish i could remember his name, but i guess the morphine and oxycodone i was on made my brain a bit fuzzier than i thought.

the mysterious case of the swollen colon...

for the past few years now i've been having issues with gas and bloating after just about every meal. i decided to start seeing a GI doctor to try and figure out what the hell was wrong with my gut, why it was being such a bitch to me. we did a few stool samples but didn't really get anywhere, so he suggested i get a colonoscopy to see how things looked up there.to prep for a colonoscopy you have to fast the day before, and the evening before you must drink about 2 gallons of a mixture designed to cleanse your system, after a few hours of drinking this nasty drink i was pissing clear liquid out of my arse. and i was HUNGRY!

next day i went in for the colonoscopy around noon and all went smoothly. i got home by around 2 and found it strange that i wasn't really hungry, i just figured it was the sedatives i had taken or maybe my stomach had just shrunken. i ate a few little things, like a bowl of cereal, a granola bar and a slice of bread with pumpkin butter on it (gooooood shit!). soon after my stomach started to hurt... and i had some serious diarrhea. within a few hours i had to lay in the fetal position to ease the pain and started noticing some blood in my rhea. these things aren't that uncommon after a colonoscopy, so i didn't freak out and figured i'd try to sleep it off. the pain was like a roller coaster, when it got really bad i'd waddle over to the pooper and piss some blood out of my ass, this made the pain subside enough for me to fall back asleep until i was woken by the pain again to repeat the process.

saturday morning i called a nurse hotline on my insurance card and was told to hit up the ER, so i did. elisa (roommate) came with me (by taxi) to UCSF where we, of course, waited about 2 hours before any doctor came to see me. then more waiting and then i got admitted to the hospital which lasted for 5 days 4 nights. they did oodles of tests on me, blood, urine, stool and even a CT scan. everything came back fine, except that the CT scan showed that my colon was swollen, but they had no idea why. several teams of doctors came to see me and after 5 days nobody was any closer to having any idea what happened to me. did i mention that the whole time i was in there i wasn't able to eat or drink anything?!? mainly because it hurt more if i did, but also because i had no appetite, and the doctors thought i shouldn't eat anyway. so i went about 7 days without really eating much of anything, except for my last 2 days in the hospital when i ate a little soup and some eggs. i haven't had a chance to weigh myself yet, but i'm sure i had to have lost some weight. i might blow away in a strong breeze.

my doctor spoke to me towards the end of my hospital stay about getting with me after i get out to run a few tests because he thought i might have abnormal blood-flow to my colon. i went and had this procedure done yesterday, which involed me having some dye pumped into my blood, then i had another CT scan of my abdomen, the results came back earlier today, everything looks normal. so i'm back to square one, no idea what the hell happened, which is exactly what my doctor said too. he said he's going to scour through some medical journals and literature to try and find some similar instances... i'm just glad i can eat again in time for thanksgiving! :) i spose i'll be truly thankful this year.