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My week in hell

I started getting sick last week.

These days, when I get sick, it's more than regular sick.
They call me a "special needs" patient, and they have good reason.

Last time I got really sick, I asked Doc what to do to prevent it from getting worse.
He told me the obvious - rest, lots of fluids - mostly Gatorade, use Tylenol to keep
the fever in check and go crazy on the Vitamin C.  I did all that but it backfired.

I made it thru the weekend without having to go to the Emergency Room.
Monday, I called for a doctor's appointment but they said they were more booked up
than the horse executioner in Blazing Saddles, so could I come in Tuesday?

Could you tell I was crazy sick on last Monday's issue?

Tuesday was travel day, but the plane left at 2 so we snagged a morning appointment.
When we finally got in, I told Doc this was different from most  flu-like tortures I endure
in that I had the super-persistent cough, but no fever and no chills.  That was a mistake.

Doc fixed me up with the usual, a Z-pac and some heavy-duty hydrocodone cough syrup.

We make the plane OK and now we're in the foreign, semi-hostile country of Tejas.
When we arrived, she explained I was "feeling puny" and things seemed to level off.

Wednesday morning I made it thru breakfast - and then all hell broke loose.
It came on like a tidal wave, the shakes, the shivers, the fever and the congestion.
It got so bad all I could do was stay in bed and wish there was a God I could pray to.

This is where the torture started.
I'm sweating and shivering and shaking, which could be worse, but then I'd
get up to pee and when I came back, the bed was colder and wetter.

So I pile up the covers and about the time I start shivering, of course, I'd get hot.
I get hot, I'd start sweating again and then, of course, I'd have to pee again.

That cycle went on for about 24 hours.

Thursday evening I felt a small rally coming on, so I tried to eat.
Nothing too heavy, maybe a half a turkey sandwich, which was pretty good
until I realized I was chewing on something crunchy - is turkey supposed to be crunchy?

No, that was my broken toof I was crunching on - perfect.
No telling yet if this was merely a $350 turkey sandwich or was it one of those fancy,
De-lux $2800 turkey sandwiches to go with that $2800 ice cream sandwich I had 2 years ago.

I won't know until I get well enough to see the dentist - isn't life fun?
Geez, for $2800 I should get the best turkey sandwich in f-ing history plus sex with the
last three Playmates of the Year, but life just doesn't work the way you think it should.

But I had no idea the worst was still to come.

Thursday night I was shivering so bad I felt the only way I could get relief was to draw
a hot bath and plunge in - anything would be better than shivering in a wet bed, right?

Well, not sure if it was the fancy turkey sandwich or the flu but I suddenly felt super-nauseous.
So I hop out of the tub and, shivering my balls off, spent the next several minutes calling Ralph.

Ain't nothing like spending the holiday with your relatives, right?

I made it back to my wet bed and had there been a God, I would've asked Him to take me.
Had this been a poker hand, I would've folded faster than you can say "Obama."

Friday morning wasn't much better, but at least it was a travel day.
Like a moron, I figured I'd get better if we could just get home, so we lurched our way back to
Love Field and we discovered semi-late that our 11:45 flight was actually an 11 AM flight so
we had to hustle and that's hard to do when you're sicker than Santorum's ideas about sex.

If this was a disaster movie, it would be time to put on the third reel.

It's about 30 minutes till take-off - our plane was unloading - when the trifecta got me.
I was in such bad shape, I didn't know if I was going to pass out first or puke.

Mrs. Bart was worried because I was ashen gray and sweating.
I had to get on a plane in 20 minutes or so and I was as unstable as Michelle Bachmann.
I was too sick to sit in a chair, so how was I going to board a plane?

Remember when President Weak & Stupid claimed he passed out while choking on a pretzel?

I knew that was a lie and I said so at the time because anyone with half a brain
(wait, maybe that's the answer?) knows that when you know you're going to pass out,
you can save yourself by getting on the ground BEFORE you lose consciousness, but
I always knew I was smarter than Der Monkey Fuhrer.

But where do you lay down at an airport gate?
I knew I only had a minute or so left so I just picked a wall and laid down.
Mrs. Bart, always the trooper, sat down next to me and watched me shake.

After a few minutes I started getting more blood to my brain which helped but then
the nausea started up again so there I am, looking for a bathroom to call Ralph.

I finally found a tiny Mens Room - with one stall.
Maybe there is a God because it was empty.

I'll spare you the details, but somehow I managed to get myself  in a position to where
I could board the plane and we started the one-hour flight back to K-Drag.

We made it back home and I was back to shaking like the icicles on Cheney's heart.
I made it to the bed without much consequence, but I was so cold I asked Mrs. Bart
to draw me a warm bath - why can't I learn?  Is it because I'm a Democrat?

The warm bath felt good until the wave of nausea returned.

Skipping ahead once again - it's Friday night about 9 PM -  I could tell my fever was spiking
and that's not a good thing.  Last time I had a fever it went to 103 and my epoxia (sp?)  dropped
to 89  but my major objective, after staying alive, was to avoid my third visit to the ER in four years.

The ER visits aren't that bad, in themselves, but they're expensive and the worst part is they refuse
to admit you until you've answered all 1200 questions and I barely had the strength to f-ing talk.

So, we're trying to keep my fever at non-ER levels and that involved ice packs.
I tried aspirin and Tylenol but they wouldn't stay down, so my only option was the ice packs.

Mrs. Bart filled two quart-sized ziplocks full of ice and water.
I put one on my forehead and one on my neck.
When does your brain start frying, is it 105 or 106?

I was so hot, the ice was melting every 15 minutes or so,  so Mrs. Bart was tethered to
an alarm clock so she could check my temperature and vital signs every 15 minutes.

It was Mrs Bart's birfday.
She was hoping to have a few drinks, maybe enjoy some flowers and a fine meal, but nooo.
She spent her entire birfday night checking to see if my brain was frying.

Flash forward:
When it was all over, I asked her if this was her worst birthday lately, or was her 50th birthday
even worse?  That time, we were in Colorado Springs at a wet-carpet Days Inn and she was sick.
She surprised me and said her birthday of 2008 was the worst - that was the day she had to pull
Uncle Bill from his moldy mansion and have him committed as a ward of the state of Arkansas.

So gradually we got my fever down to a managable 101 so she only had to interrupt
her evening every 30 minutes to check on me instead of every 15.  Then it was hourly.

Saturday morning arrived after an eternity so we headed to the Doctor's office.
We didn't have an appointment - I was afraid to call ahead because I figured they'd say,
"We're full, either wait until Monday or go the to ER" and that wouldn't work
because they'd probably want to keep me for a day or two and the Survivor finale was
Sunday night and she DID NOT want to watch her favorite show conclude in the hospital
and I owed her BIG-time for all she'd been thru the last few days.

We got in to see the substitute doctor who stuck a flu-testing Q-Tip a foot up my nose.
Blood work followed, then an oxygen test and he gave me some kind of bronchial treatment,
a chest x-ray and two shots in the ass. He also gave me two more prescriptions and a third inhaler. 

My blood work confused the hell out of him but then I gave him a rundown of
my diseases and conditions and he said, "So that explains those strange readings."

Apparently the job of the Saturday doctor is to be sure the patient doesn't die until Monday
so the 'unearned runs' would go on my regular doctor's pitching record, not his.

Miraculously, by Saturday night I was able to sit in a chair.

I'm writing this Sunday night - we're home for the Survivor finale and the Homeland finale.
Have you been watching Homeland?   This show is brain drama for adults.  
Trust me, it's Sopranos-quality TV, catch the reruns or you'll miss out.

They set my next doctor's appointment at 8AM Monday, (The third in a week) so by the time
you read this I will have gotten the good news - that I'm not as close to death as it once seemed.

In all seriousness, I realize I'm lucky to live a in a country where the doctors have
at least a passing acqauaintence with medical science - most of the world does not.

I also realize there are millions of people out there, surely some of you readers, who are
in a lot worse shape than I am, but Friday before boarding that plane, I sure felt like I was
close to going home to meet sweet Baby Jesus - kidding, of course.

I WILL have a page up Monday.
With some luck, it might even be a full page.

It's Monday and I'm back from the regular doctor.
He said Saturday Doc gave me some real strong medicine and that I should be OK by Christmas.

But, as bad as the last week was, I still feel a lot better than Kim Jung Il.


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