I shalll keep Christmas in my heart, if I ever get out of St Anthony’s ICU

It started with the fever, and I battled it back with NyQuil.  It broke on Tuesday, only to be replaced by something more horrible: cellulitis.  Cellulitis is a rather vile infection of the skin, and it usually responds fairly well to treatment.

Or it doesn't, and you end up having to have big parts of your carcass pared away like a Thanksgiving turkey.

So now I have the fever, and this massive infection, which not only hurts, but also requires that I take Levaquin, a drug that rivals NyQuil for intensity of coma-dreams.  Add the fever the NyQuil and the Levaquin together, and I haven't had a sane thought in the past 36 hours. 

Except when I heard the helicopters buzzing my bed.  Turns out that was actually real–they were spraying the mangroves out back. 

Late Thursday night I was walking down one of those grimy dream streets, and the devil-bitch (my ex) was berating me for something, when lo and behold Cap'n Crunch came to my defense.  He gave her a stern talking-to.  She rolled her eyes.  He drew his sword, tapped her with it, and she disappeared with an audible "pop,"

…as the poison released and the swelling in my lower body grew unbearable, and finally, I acquiesced and went to the emergency room.

"What's the matter?"
"Bad cellulitis infection; going septic.  Here's my information form.  I'm going to pass out if I don't sit down."

Lots of people in scrubs take information and fluids from me.  Other people in scrubs put pills and fluids and new information into me. 

I'm taken in to another room.  I just want the hurting to stop, the poison to flush away somehow.

In this last room it's very cold and bright and clean, and I can only see people's eyes.  They put a mask over my face, and the air gets fake fresh & flowery like a used dryer sheet.  I wake up and they've cut away lots of the bad parts, like the burnt part on toast or a charred hamburger pattie.  How do you feel? I feel better, thanks.  Are you sore? Yes, ma'am, could I get a Motrin or something? Push that button if you have pain, and it'll put stuff into that tube in your arm.  What stuff? Dilaudid.  This  button was it? And I push and I feel better, like when I click on one of those websites and give some homeless family 50 lbs of cornmeal or a pig, or a can of dog food to an animal shelter.

A sporadiic parade of people in scrubs and masks come in and introduce themselves to me, as if I can see anything to remember them by.  "Remember me? We met while you were lying in a hospital bed, tripping on Dilaudid? You had a giant open wound, and I was completely covered from head to foot in green cotton." One man comes in and gets angry looking into my giant open wound.  He points out just where the other surgeon should've carved more of the burned spot off the hamburger, more of the mold away from the cheese, more puss-oozing necrotic tissue away from my little hellpit. 

And now, they took away my Dilaudid button, because I wasn't using it enough.  I don't understand.  But I'm sore from Dr McGrumpy poking around my woundpit, so I ask Nurse Dolores to bring me a Motrin or two.  She comes back ten minutes later with two Percocets.  Docter Nice Guy doesn't want you to have any NSAIDS before tomorrow.  Tomorrow? Yeah, tomorrow at noon, remember? That's when they're taking you back up for more surgery.  Christmas Eve knocked out, carved up, then brought back here to my new home in the ICU. 

The night nurse brought me two more Percocets and a ham sandwich.  No food or drink after midnight.  There's a packet of mayo–fat free.  Tomorrow afternoon, I'll have my Dilaudid button back, but they don't want me to have regular mayo? God bless them, anyway.  My eyes are tired after watching Spiderman 2, which I enjoyed more than Carrie tonight.  Then again, she wasn't on Percocet.  The nurse took my sandwich wrapper and left me half a pitcher of water.  "I'll take that at midnight, so make sure you're all done."  After midnight, no more food or water until after…
noon, more fake fresh flowery air and cold, and more abrupt waking from a dreammless sleep.  And then more poking and prodding, just to see whether they got all the really nasty bits.  To see if I might be alive to see New Year's Day.  Melodrama sucks, but the lead surgeon told me that.  "If you'd waited even another 24 to 36 hours before you came in, you wouldn't have been saveable."

Merry Christmas from ICU.  Pulse: 69; Resp 17.  O2 Sat: 98%. BP: 118/65.  Small lighted tree: 1.  Somehow this makes me happier than anything else because my friend Bill brought it up here.  Lots of friends and family have seen my tree today.  It makes me happy, the tree and the people and the idea that hopefully someday next year or two, I will still be around to take a little plastic tree to some poor schlub friend of mine stuck in the hospital on Christmas Eve. 

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11 Responses to “I shalll keep Christmas in my heart, if I ever get out of St Anthony’s ICU”

  1. OMG. Tom… I am there in spirit, all five foot zero inches of me. I'm the one standing in the corner with the stupid smile, praying "casually" that it all turns out for the best. Know that you missed, even in the vox world, and that it's not only the 'real' people in your life that miss you…. Happy, Merry, Christmas Eve. I am personally singing "Oh Christmas Tree" to you right now, in my decrepit sing song voice. I shall even turn on a lighter in your name while I do so. I'll find my camera and record it…

  2. OMG: what a horrible way to go into Christmas Eve. I've spent one Christmas in an ICU and would never wish it on anyone—you never really sleep because they keep waking you up to take your blood pressure and check your body fluids and perform all sorts of unspeakable tortures. The only relief you ever get is from pain killers, which, one hopes, will at least knock you out for a few hours. Ask one of your friends to bring you some eggnog with rum or something a bit more palatable and comforting than Percocet. And hope you feel better soon.Is it too ironic to wish you a Merry Christmas?

  3. Oh my GOD. That is … thoroughly unpleasant. I hope that things begin looking up for you.

  4. TOM! I hope you can get this video. It's for you, specifically. I figured since you don't really have a tree, I could share mine with ya. Please excuse the scritchyscritchy. I don't know how to fix that. :SHang in there. Take care. Merry Christmas, nonetheless. 🙂

  5. Wow. I'm so sorry about how your Christmas is going! Try and have a merry one and take care.

  6. Like I told you before, lo siento. We'll come visit you pronto when we get down there. Big X-mas hugs from me and the boyz.

  7. What were you thinking????

  8. It was either this, or go to the DB's Xmas party, so I figured this would be less painful. 😉 Have a great Christmas w/Ty & your angel troop. Love and tag.

  9. OMG! You were rotting? Is that what was happening? How does that happen? Promise to take better care of yourself in 2008, ok?

  10. O!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I didn't know! OMG! ARe you OK??? this is AWFUL!!! Get Better!!!!!!!!!! Please!!!! dont' be sick or falling ap[art or anything else bad!! NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Acccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk!!!(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((hgus))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))who's watching kitten?

  11. […] I shalll keep Christmas in my heart, if I ever get out of St Anthony’s ICU […]

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