Within my blog entries, I prefer to give my opinion rather than delving too deeply into anything personal. Mainly, I believe, because I am cowardly, worthless pile. It is much easier to criticize than to open yourself up to the same criticism. Thus, I tend to avoid topics where I could play a central figure, or would need to personally include myself in the narrative, for this might give the reader ample evidence and all the information they would need to reach the inevitable conclusion that I am a complete loser. This is a fact I try and obscure from people at all costs. So, it is with some trepidation I get into the following account of my recent illness. Indeed, this might turn out to be the most personal blog entry I have ever written.

Now, the reader should be aware that I have several different phobias. Some of these include: flying, spiders, flying spiders, showering, undergarments, and, as it turns out, MRI machines and lumbar punctures. In addition, like many people, I don’t particularly enjoy visits to dentists, doctors or hospitals and will do anything I can to avoid such places and those who work within the profession.

Thus, when I got sick just before Thanksgiving the last thing I wanted to do was to go to the hospital or see a doctor. I thought at the time, surely, I just had a flu. It should be mentioned here antibiotics make me nervous and I have always had this thought, which may or may not be completely irrational, that antibiotics impede the bodies natural defenses against disease or infection. I had made a unspoken pact with myself that only in emergencies would I use antibiotics. I furthermore had a fear of contracting some “super bug” due to frequent antibiotic use. A question now occurs to me: Which is more dangerous, taking antibiotics often when finding yourself ill and risking getting a “super bug”, or never taking them, risking a illnesses progressing from bad to worse, in turn weakening the immune system and perhaps opening oneself up to more forms sickness or disease, which may be potentially as lethal as any “super bug” one may contract. Prior to this experience, I had the opinion perhaps the former was more dangerous, though now I am starting to change my tune a little. Yet, for these very reasons, the phobias and the vow, I may have waited just a little too long to go to the doctor when I probably should have. In fact, the doctors later said given one more day without going to the hospital, I would not be here to ramble on needlessly long, forgoing any form of conciseness in this entry for the mere purpose to entice pity from females (Ladies e-mail me: brandmyhre@gmail.com). The whole experience turned out to be the closest brush with death I have ever had. What started off as a minor cough would, in the end, lead to an ordeal that looked very much like an episode of “House.”

Anyhoo, I believed, again, that I just had a flu. I was sick for a couple days with a temp of 99 to 100, which is common for a light to moderately strong flu. I just sat around, rested, watched some football, while drinking massive amounts of water, Sprite, and Gatorade. To keep my fever down as much as possible, I took plenty of Ibuprofen and Tylenol, which worked for a little while. However, as my fever progressed, the effectiveness of the medications on my fever wanned and my temperature started to build. More symptoms appeared (which I will try and to put as gently as possible) concerning mucus that seemed to originate in my lungs and was of a suspiciously white or grayish pink color. In addition, it was, curiously enough, of a rather solid nature.

I called my folks at their house and asked their advice, though I did downplay the symptoms somewhat so as not to concern them too much about my condition. They immediately brought over some more medication, including Mucinex, some beverages to keep me from being dehydrated, a thermometer, and a little food, for I was way too dizzy to be able to be driving anywhere to shop. My temperature at this point was about 101 and I suspected it would drop immediately. Due to all the sickness fighting weapons I had at my disposal, I reasoned the symptoms would vanish within a few days. The next day was about to prove me wrong.

When I awoke the following morning, I attempted to get up and get motivated, but found myself absolutely freezing cold. The vertigo I was experiencing had seemed to double. The whole house was spinning and I curled up on the couch, quickly turning on some football. This is where things start to get a little hazy. I had taken my meds when I first got up and decided after a while to take my temperature once again. Orally. It had risen to 102 and instead of calling a doctor like any logical, smart person would, I instead fell asleep. Yet, when I awoke once more, I found myself extremely confused. I recall it took me more than a few moments to realize where I was, though I had been living in the same house for about 2 months prior. It was at this time I noticed I had began to urinate blood. Again, because I am a mamma’s boy, I called my folks. It was during the subsequent discussion with my mother where my confusion and state of mind really revealed itself. Not only did I not know where I was during the conversation, the whole of which I don’t remember, but I was also convinced my temperature was 200 degrees. She told me that was impossible and I would be dead. She immediately informed and sent my father to come get me and take me to the hospital (my roommate was on vacation at the time).

While he was in transit, however, I promptly passed out. So much so that when he arrived he had to bang on all the doors and windows, but still it failed to rouse me. They, my parents, by this time had come to the conclusion something was very wrong, to the degree he forced himself into the house and discovered me passed out on the couch. This, by the way, is the first time I had ever passed out without getting the word “penis” written somewhere on my face. He shook me until I awoke and told me to get dressed (I was just in a tee and pajama bottoms, which have cute little penguins on them by the way) and get shoes on. I, by this time, had become completely delirious and had no understanding of what he was talking about or had no idea where these items may be. Fortunately, he helped me find some clothes proper to wear out in the cold and rain. Yet, I put on my pants completely inside out on top of the pj bottoms and without even noticing, walked out to the car, which was now running with him seated in the drivers seat. He quickly noticed my pants and that I had failed to put shoes on. He led me back inside, found the shoes, for I had no idea where they were. He promptly encouraged me to look like a sane, normal human being and put on the shoes. I was then rushed to the hospital, though, honestly, I don’t remember the ride.

Shortly after we arrived at the hospital and he dropped me off while he parked the car. I walked in and went up to the triage. They asked me what the problem was and what they could do for me. I don’t remember what I said, but I remember it was darn near unintelligible, and I had trouble figuring out exactly why I was there. Immediately, they probably thought I was just a little too strung out and having an anxiety attack, for I don’t recall them even taking my vitals, but telling me just to go sit in the waiting room. I did as I was told without protest and sat down amongst the other patients waiting to be treated. I felt increasingly confused and struggled to hold on to reality, or my form of it, and what was going on, which was a constant battle. It was a battle I was losing. I wasn’t nervous or frightened at all, for I don’t think my mind was in a condition to process even basic concepts like consequence.

I believe my father eventually went up to the triage and talked with or to them. It seemed like immediately after, to me anyway, that a woman appeared with a wheelchair, which I think I was able to get into by myself. They rolled me back into the ER and helped me climb on a gurney. Here they took my temperature, again orally, and by this time it read 103. From here on out it is really blurry, for my mind had completely ran away from me, which on a side note some people wish would happen more often, just so I could shut up every once and a while. The attending doctor tried to ask me several questions, but I had no answer for any of them, which frustrated her greatly. She replied tactfully, “This isn’t rocket science,” but try as I might, I could not mentally formulate an answer for any of her inquiries. By the time my mother arrived, I was asking every 15 seconds where I was and at times didn’t even recognize my own parents. My temperature continued to climb to 104 and I began to hallucinate. I remember looking up at the ceiling and all the tiles disappeared so I only saw the framework of the ceiling upon which those very same tiles rested. I saw the ceiling above the tiles and the bare framework, so it wasn’t as if I was looking at the sky or to another floor. Between the framework and the ceiling proper, pulsated whitish-blue jellyfish, which swam about gracefully in the air. I also recall, small ice crystals falling from the ceiling and covering me from head to toe.

Next thing I remember, I was admitted into the ICCU (Intensive Critical Care Unit) and the doctors and nurses were hastily putting in an IV and throwing ice packs upon me, which was horrifically cold (Because of this and the condition my mind was under. I often wonder if some data got confused and I didn‘t hallucinate the aforementioned falling ice particles at all, but rather it’s a mixed up composite of real sensory data from when these same doctors and nurses threw ice upon me to cool me down). Yet, that horrific feeling didn’t last long, for at this time, they were also in the process of giving me plenty of drugs. Thus, instead of horrid discomfort or fear, it was eventually replaced with a strange, almost euphoria and disconnect of the situation I had found myself in. Once more, I eventually passed out.

My next memory is of being on the phone with my mom. There is an odd thing about the timing of this whole incident that I need to quickly mention. For months prior my mother was scheduled for knee replacement surgery on the very next day after I went into the hospital. So a while after her operation, she called me to check up on my condition, which was getting worse. Yet, I wasn’t aware of my real condition because, I was either not told this at the time or I simply couldn’t process the information. I don’t recall what we talked about and neither does she. I have nothing more than a vague recollection of talking to her. I do recall, however, that I believed that I would be out in two to three days.

This is where my memory completely ceases. Thus, any details given from here on, until I regain consciousness (I hope I didn‘t give away the ending, but the very fact you are reading something I wrote and the title of this particular blog entry hopefully gave you some sort of clue to the eventual outcome) are written based on the recollections of others, who were nice enough to give me an account of my missing two weeks. My family and friends must have got sick of me asking questions, but if anyone else has been in a similar situation, you know its just something you need to have revealed to you in a very detailed way, for what memories you do have are so broken and vague that there is no understanding of the chorological order behind the memories at all. Due to this, you are filled with a great need to collect the data in order to make sense of that which you don’t remember, that of which you do, and how it fits together in the context of time. If you haven’t experienced this due to being horribly sick, and I hope you haven’t, perhaps there has been a time you have had to much to drink, blacked out, and felt the need to call your friends the next day in order to find out what happened or if you had done anything completely stupid during the evenings/early mornings festivities. Not that I would know what that’s like . . . (Turns out I usually ended up doing something really stupid.)

It appears shortly after this my lungs were X-rayed and only small spot of infection appeared on one. Yet, daily it spread, eventually spreading to both lungs until I was having trouble breathing on my own. It seems during this whole time I was awake, yet as I got worse I was eventually given the drug Propofol, which promotes both sedation and amnesia so that after an ordeal such as this, one will not recall the suffering or treatment they may have experienced, which could lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Propofol is the same drug which has been in the news recently concerning the death of the “Quee…,” errr…, “King of Pop.” I don’t even know if I would have remembered anyway, for my brain was by this time in the process of overheating. This does bring up an interesting question in my mind however, to what degree suffering relies or relates to recollection? That’s a question for another blog entry though.

Eventually, as my lungs were inundated with this infection or disease, I began having immense trouble breathing on my own and despite being supplied oxygen, the oxygen saturation within my blood began to drop. The doctors surmised if they didn’t take action, I would suffocate. It was at this point they came to me and we began to discuss my options. I can’t remember any of the conversation, but it concerned whether or not I would give consent to the doctors to put me in a drug induced coma. Apparently, I agreed and they found me of sound enough mind, which I still can’t believe, to be able to make the right, logical decision. I suspect if I said “no” to the advised treatment, they would have said I wasn’t of sound mind and circumvented me to do it anyway. I did sign a HIPPA form, so I am a little surprised my next of kin wasn’t notified about the conclusion me and the doctors reached, due to my decreased mental capacity. Yet, I do believe I made the right decision, and in retrospect, after talking to some of the doctors, it was the best choice I could have made. Not only would this help to keep me alive for the time being, but the doctors themselves could control the expansion of my lungs (called the “peep”) and the percentage of the oxygen that filled them. Once the decision was made, I was given the injection and put under. They pushed a breathing tube down my airway, into my lungs, and hooked up the ventilator, which began to breath for me.

Despite all the efforts and in some cases the amazing dedication of doctors, they still could not find out precisely what was wrong with me. Plenty of cultures were taken, but they could get nothing to grow in the petri dish, or whatever it is they use to grow cultures. Apparently, it seems, that this method helps them better determine what antibiotic to use, or indeed, if one would be effective at all. Yet, once more, they could get nothing to grow. It was eventually determined from symptoms that I was suffering from not only pneumonia, which can be dangerous enough, but also ARDS (Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome) . As it turns out the latter is the most dangerous. Much more so. In fact, I was told out of all those who contract ARDS, 80-90% of people tragically don’t make it. Course, I was told this after my eventual recovery.

The odds were already stacked against me, both with an undetermined type of pneumonia and ARDS. Yet, there was more to come. After a few days of getting worse, my kidneys completely shut down. I am obviously no doctor and don’t pretend to be, but I do find medicine to be a fascinating subject. I would say, to me, the human body is infinitely more interesting then the depths of the deepest ocean or the farthest reaches of the cosmos. So, though I don’t subscribe to any medical journals, I do like reading up on the subject somewhat, if I can understand the words contained within the article, website, or book. Though this isn’t a real medical conclusion, but it does seem, by my novice reading, that the human body almost has a systematic way of shutting down when confronted with a serious illness. When the body is in danger of dying, systems begin to turn off. Often some of the first organs to shut down are the kidneys or liver.

The kidneys help regulate creatinine, which is a chemical waste product produced from muscle metabolism. The kidneys filter out this creatinine and are responsible for flushing it out of the body. Creatinine can be found in your blood and determining how much one has in the blood, a doctor can from this infer how your kidneys are functioning. I don’t know the canon which they use to measure it, but a person with a normal functioning kidney will have a creatinine level of 1. Another thing I don’t know, besides why grapes seem to be the standard unit of measurement when determining the strength of paper towels in TV commercials, is how they determine “1,” if its parts per billion or what, but I do know my level was 7.3. So my kidneys weren’t functioning at all.

My whole body was taking it a hit from the illness. My bone marrow was eventually affected and my platelets dropped severely, so that if I were to get a cut, it would not be able to clot as quickly as it would a person with a normal platelet count. It became so low that I needed a few blood transfusions to replenish the supply. I began to build up fluid, for my kidneys were unable to cleanse my blood of excess liquid and impurities. At one time I didn’t urinate a drop for 3-4 days, though by this time I had already urinated 2 pints of blood. I began to swell and not just my body, like hands and feet, but also some internal organs and, most creepily, my eyes. My eyes apparently got so bad that all the blood vessels burst, and my eyes wouldn’t close all the way, even though I was unconscious. My extremities began to swell as well, so much so that if you chopped off a finger, painted my hands white and drew a few vertical lines upon them, I would look like I just walked straight out of an old Disney cartoon.

To do the work of my now defunct kidneys I was put on dialysis. From looking in the mirror now, they did it by apparently drilling holes in my neck and running tubes into a dialysis machine, which looks like, given a few adjustments, could dispense delicious soft serve frozen yogurt in a quickness. As much as the scars bother me now, with all these people so excited about “Twilight” and vampires, perhaps the scared holes in my neck won’t be such a bad deal after all and attract some gothic women. Yet, the five holes, instead of two or four, might be hard to explain. Perhaps, I will just say I got attacked by two “regular” vampires and a vampire hillbilly. (A “vambilly?”)

It wasn’t looking good for me, and my folks were told that I, “could go at anytime.” My peep was up the highest it could go, they were giving me 100% oxygen and still I would not stabilize. I would seem to get better, then I would get worse. I was in very critical condition. My temperature would spike, then go down. My bloods oxygen saturation would at times rise, then plummet. They had me on dialysis and had two IV stands full of bags with several different tubes running into me, including a feeding tube, which I am skeptical of its efficiency due to the fact that when I eventually came to I was hungry as hell. I had so many tubes running in and out of me I must have looked like something out of an H.R. Giger piece. They even had me on a bed that slowly rocked back and forth, which supposedly helped in some way by shifting the lungs. They also had tubes down into my lungs that would induce my gagging reflex and then siphon out the ick that was building up. Furthermore, they were unable to use narrow spectrum antibiotics, which is preferable, due to the fact they couldn’t identify the exact strain of whatever was attacking me. Thus, they had to result to broad spectrum antibiotics, which at times seems like a medical, “hail Mary pass,” for doctors are discouraged from using this tactic, unless confronted with no other option.

For three days, I barely hung on (at this point it was beyond the doctors, my family and even me, everyone had did everything they could) and as I found out later, in two instances, I died almost completely. My pulse and oxygen levels had sunk to such a low level the doctors and nurses believed they were going to need a crash cart. Some flu.

Yet, despite being in the very palm of death, gradually my vitals began to improve. Not enough to negate any nervousness, but enough to give some signs of hope. As it got better though, they eventually took me off some of the drugs, but I remained unresponsive for some time, though everyone would try and talk with me. They say you can hear in a coma, but I honestly can’t remember a thing, but they did have me under that amnesia medicine as well. The nurses, as it turns out, always spoke to me though, telling me what they were doing and keeping me posted on any progress. My family, friends, and nurses, who visited often, God bless them, would try to talk to me or make requests, such as to squeeze their hand or raise my eyebrows. Yet, again, for a while I remained unresponsive.

On a quick side note, I would just like to share how much this experience has affected my respect level for those in the nursing profession. These people are truly the salt of the earth and in my case, I feel, they went above and beyond. They seemed to genuinely care, in fact, as going as far as checking on me or coming in and talking with me after they got off work. That is shocking to me, because when I used to get off work, I would sprint out of the facility as fast as I could and run to the nearest tavern or dance club to shake my tail feather. Course, now employed on a fishing boat, that has kind of limited my ability to run off and party, though in my down time I still occasionally work on the shaking of my ba-donk-a-donk. Back to nurses though, their skill far exceeded just medical care, in fact, it can get rather lonely in a hospital, but due to their friendliness, they helped to keep me sane. In addition, they attempted to preserve my dignity as much as possible. There is only so much dignity you can keep intact when somebody is wiping your ass for you. Regardless, it could have been a lot more humiliating and they did everything they could, even when I was unconscious and wouldn’t know the difference. Thus, all those who work as nurses get a well deserved shout out from me, and really, is there any better reward?

When I eventually started responding, it happened rather suddenly. I had nurses working with me everyday asking me to move, open my eyes, or whatever. With them it was at first a no go. My vitals were still down, but somehow I kept improving. My mother came in and asked me to move my eyebrows, which I did, and which there was a big hubbub made over it apparently. Next I squeezed my friend Amber’s hand and actually raised my hand to greet my friend Jill. Again, all this happened suddenly within a few days. Soon, I opened my eyes and right when I was able to see came to the conclusion I must have been sleeping for a couple days or so. I didn’t realize at the time, but it had been just over two weeks. I found it tough to see though for some reason. Everything looked like I was viewing it from under water. Turns out this was from some sort of goo they rub in your eyes to prevent them from drying out or being damaged. At first I believed that this substance was applied because my eyes were open for so long, but the goo will also prevent the eyes from being damaged when closed, for if your eyes remain closed for an extended period of time it can actually cause harm.

Yet, despite the blurry vision, one of the first things I saw was a collage and banner. The collage is pictured below. Thanks to Kara and Brittney for organizing it and everyone who contributed to it.

Now this may seem a little morbid, but I couldn’t help looking at the collage and realizing it looked awfully like a memorial. This and the banner were the first clue that something horrible had happened while I had been sleeping. I also found myself surrounded by stuffed animals, most of which were signed by friends and hospital staff. Two teddy bears even played music, Pink Floyd’s, “Comfortably Numb,” and Chicago’s, “Feelin’ Stronger Everyday.” My throat felt extremely uncomfortable and I found I couldn’t speak. After some contemplation I understood that I had tubes running down my throat. Clue number two. Finally, when I tried to move my arms, I realized I couldn’t and saw that they were strapped to the bed in such a manner that any of those nurses could have had their way with me. I did ask later thinking pity might score me some points, but once again I was shot down. The nurses must have loved me. Maybe I should have remained unresponsive a couple more days (Those was jokes). At any rate, I was strapped down because apparently some people awake in a panic and try and pull the tubes out on their own, in which situation the patient can cause serious harm to himself. This was clue number three.

Even though at this point I was conscious, my consciousness didn’t last, and I lapsed in and out of now what was more of a heavily sedated state than a coma. Yet, again here my memory becomes a little choppy. Let the reader be aware that even though I use words like, “thus” or, “then,” realize that this is for the purposes of narration and to create some order out of the experience. I have tried to put the pieces together best I can, but chances are I have things utterly and completely messed up.

I recall a nurse coming to my bedside and checking the ECG, fluids and the other random beeping machines. She seemed thrilled I was awake and informed me what had happened. Not in detail of course, but that I had been out for two weeks. I was shocked, even though I felt sedated and high as a kite. Yet, when you hear something like that and have not actually experienced it, the ordeal is extremely difficult to identify with. I am still having issues actually. Everyone around me seems overly paranoid to me, which I find frustrating. I logically understand it, but I cannot connect with the emotions my family and friends went through during that time. It could almost be said that I was better off then they were.

I tried to speak to her, but couldn’t. It didn’t stop me from trying though. I really now can identify with those dogs who never really grasp the boundaries of their yard despite an invisible fence that gives them an electric jolt every time they try to breach their imperceptible enclosure, leading inevitably to a multitude of daily shocks. When family or friends would show up, I would never cease to attempt to speak, which served to only piss me off in the process. These moments of consciousness were semi-rare and most the time I still slept. I don’t know how long it was, but eventually a doctor and a few nurses came in and roused me. Not aroused me, but roused me.

I awoke and they informed me that they were going to remove the tubes from my throat. I was excited to hear that, and I am glad they chose to, because I found out later, given a couple more days, they would have had to do a tracheotomy. No thanks. I have seen “House” and that doesn’t look to pleasant. They told me it was to be a little uncomfortable, but still I was happy, because me without blabbing my mouth off and annoying people is much like being a fish out of water. Sure, they told me it would be uncomfortable, but they didn’t tell me it was going to really hurt. It hurt. I thought maybe he actually tore out a vocal cord, which would really stink because I am planning on going out for “American Idol” next season.

On a positive note, that was one tube out of an orifice, but I still had a couple more to go. The odd thing was, they would still strap me down, apparently afraid I would rip out some of the catheters, but I was so not going there. I wanted to talk almost immediately and I was asked by one of the nurses if she could do anything else for me, to which I responded, “Yeah, can you take this tube out of my ass.” She replied in the affirmative, but did not do so at that moment. As my vitals began to improve the doctors insisted I move around more, having me sit up and such, which was extremely unpleasant. As was the fact that they would encourage me to cough to clear some of the left over nastiness in my lungs. Now, I don’t know if anyone else has went through the experience of hacking when having a catheter in, but its really painful. The doctors and nurses wanted me to do it every twenty minutes and needless to say I eventually came to a point where I dreaded their visits. Sometimes, however, I would cough uncontrollably and without me initiating it, which was also quite the hardship, for at times I would be strapped down and be forced to, I believe the term is, “blow raspberries,” until a nurse or doctor would walk by and offer me some assistance, which they did frequently. Thus, I never had to wait very long, but its not a dignified situation to be in and as my consciousness and thought process increased so did my humiliation.

One day, as I lay there my dear friend Kara visited me in the hospital. Though I remember my spirits being lifted and I was continuing to be more and more conscious over that period of time, still my basic problem solving skills were a little encumbered. As she visited, I must not have realized my hands were actually unstrapped, but my mind concluded they were still hindered from moving. My nose began to itch and I began to fuss about, trying desperately to reach my nose, which I never did. It was interesting because though I had the ability to, my mind was convinced it was unable, and thus my hand stopped short a full foot from my nose and could not go any further. Obviously, much to the confusion of my friend, who then offered to scratch my nose for me. I quickly replied in the affirmative and was relieved of my distress. Now, she finds this incident to be rather funny, but I find it rather embarrassing.

As I had mentioned before, the doctors were continually encouraging me to sit up and they even brought in a seat, which quite honestly, looked like they had just ripped a back seat out of an Astro van and rolled it into my room in the ICCU. In fact, I am almost certain I checked for seat belts. I had to sit completely upright in this thing and it was one of the most painful, uncomfortable parts about the whole experience, due simply to the couple catheters I had violating me. I let the nurse and doctors know that I couldn’t really stand it anymore. Something had to be done and they agreed.

I was seriously hoping they would sedate me or something for the removal of these obtrusive, but medically necessary, tubes. They didn’t. Instead, they told me to count to three and exhale, and I am here to tell you, it didn’t help a damn bit. They should have just gave me a bit to chomp down on. I don’t know who came up with that strategy and it may have something to do with providing a distraction, but I would have preferred if they just clamped down on my nipples real hard or something. It would have been much more affective in my book. Despite this, I felt relieved. To liken and borrow an allegory from C.S. Lewis, it was much like ripping off a scab, though it may hurt like nothing else at the time, you are alleviated by its removal alone. This was certainly the case. Yet, it didn’t take me long to realize that I, as of yet, couldn’t walk. Thus, I couldn’t go into the restroom. This presented an even more embarrassing issue. When the urge eventually occurred, I informed the nurses and instead of bringing a wheelchair and wheeling me to a restroom, which I would have preferred, they rolled in a chamber pot and brought it next to my bed.

Though it may sound like I was completely impatient with the hospital staff, I really wasn’t. In fact, they said for as sick as I was, I was extremely pleasant and polite, even giving props to my parents for doing such a good job, and by props I mean commendation, not props as utilized by the likes of Carrot Top. I know there were medical reasons for all their decisions and medical methodology which governed my care. Yet, despite being fully aware of this, I was also still extremely embarrassed throughout the whole ordeal of asking for help out of bed and, well, then doing my business without the benefit of modern plumbing. This all culminated in a further realization and discovery that a body being immobile for a long period of time exhausts it. My muscles would hardly work at all. I couldn’t walk on my own and even eat on my own. I was fed by nurses, friends, and family for a while after I came to. Though I picked it up quickly, its almost as if I had to learn all these things all over again. It occurred to me as I lie there thinking about nonsense, how ridiculous it is in movies and TV when a person can get up from a coma after several weeks, months or years, jump out of bed on sheer will power alone, and quickly recover. I was told recovery would be long and difficult, but I had the same feeling, that my will power would enable my muscles, stamina or dexterity and I would be instantly back to normal. Again, ridiculous idea.

I still have a little numbness in my limbs from being in a coma. When a person falls asleep or lays down, he will naturally move his/her body into a comfortable position. Not so in a coma. It is up to the doctors and nurses to move the body so it is in a position where no damage can take place. This sounds easier then it is. It is common for a person in a coma, despite all precautions and care, to be placed in a position where a nerve may be pinched. A person who is not in a coma, would shift due to the uncomfortable feeling it produces, yet it is impossible to tell in a coma patient. Thus, some numbness is a result which fades in time.

After some more daily recovery and improvement, I was able to leave the ICCU and move to another floor. This was a touching moment for me, for I got a standing ovation when I left. Chiefly, I am sure, because I’m such a great guy, and because for two weeks I was the sickest person in the hospital. In the medical profession the term “miracle” is frowned upon, but I heard it several times as I recovered and eventually left the ICCU. The nurses requested that I return upon my recovery. It seemed almost a victorious moment for them, and why shouldn’t it be? They had brought me back from the brink of death and they should feel happy about all the effort they put into my care and the eventual result. Some of my friends showed up just by chance that very evening and they gathered in my new room. It was nice to have a kind of pseudo-celebration with them, that I was now in the recovery ward. Unfortunately, some unforeseen setbacks were to eventually take place that would require me to be transferred to another hospital, get an MRI, and a barrage of all new tests and humiliations. I will continue with that account in my following entry, but here I think an intermission is in order. Thanks to everyone for all your prayers and support.