Monday, March 20, 2017

600 Minutes

I just got out of a hospital stay. It was the first time I was admitted as a patient into a facility like that. It was a test of patience. It was a test of family. It was a test of faith.

Nearly a month ago, I had a cough. Rather simplistic and plain. I thought it would run the course and I would be buffeted but none the worse for wear.

This was not the path I was supposed to take, apparently.

Congestion, cough, chills, fever, and night sweats all came and went. Hacking mucus, constant nose blowing, and heavy sighs were companions. Sleep deprivation, annoyance, shortness of breath, and worry also came.

After several OTC solutions and an Urgent Care visit, my wife insisted upon my visiting the Emergency Room to see what was going on.

It took 10 hours from my walking into the ER until I was admitted into a room. The struggle was in the form of a seemingly endless cycle of being called upon to enter the magical double doors to answer questions, raise hopes, only to be sent back to our seats in the waiting area. It was my own personal Bardo.

Finally, I was selected to be examined. Again I was called up to the wooden gateway and allowed to pass through. The attendant was in azure. Darker hallways fanned out before me. Muted lights, grey walls, and painted floors revealed a different caliber of hospitalers buzzing about like moths gathered into cones of light.

Ushered into a small room, I was asked to repeat my story again with an almost jovial, “Well, what brings you here today?” I recited in detail what had happened. I had failed two rounds of antibiotics, spent time and money fighting whatever was inside of me, and finally came to a place of healing to get more expert advice and care.

Fast-Forward through a breathing treatment, a series of intravenous fluids, antibiotics, and a significant wait, and the attending physician agreed to admit me into hospital care. I was wheeled off into another holding unit until they got a bed ready for me.

Admission questions came next, medication lists were verified, and yet another retelling of my story to yet another physician started my stint in this purgatory. The long room used to be for Physical Therapy. Remnants and equipment were scattered throughout the space. It felt of remembered pain.

My bed was ready before my admission questions were completed. Still, I waited for ‘transport’ to my bed. I waited through the rest of my Antibiotic IV to be finished. I waited through being disconnected from the pump and having my vitals taken for what seemed like the hundredth time for the night. I waited until I had to get up to go to the restroom and come back to my gurney.

Depleted, I sat at the end of the gurney and attempted not to be irritated. I was tired and hungry. I was fatigued and had a headache. The wall was coming up fast. The attending nurse took pity upon me.

In an act of defiance to the order of things, she moved me herself. Somehow, ancient stars were becoming into alignment and freeing me from this prison of clinical lighting and sterile scents.

Finally, in a bed, I relaxed. It was a mistake, but the respite from feeling like I was on display was wiped away. Other invasive atrocities took place, but those are perhaps fodder for another story.

Today, I am back to work as an #officehero. There are things to be done.

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