Anything I tell you here I know only because CF (my partner) has told it to me repeated times after I got home. Repeatedly repeated times. I can’t remember or believe it. In fact, those days in the hospital are still Rip Van Winkle-ish. Except no beard.
Things didn’t go that well at the hospital, at least for the first 13 days. Those were the days I spent in intensive care, with a tube jammed down my throat breathing for me, with a Medusa-spider costume adorning the rest of my body.
The doctors tried three times over those 13 days to take that tube out, since a major goal of theirs was for me to breathe on my own. But every time they pulled it out, Medusa shrieked and the spider crawled up the water spout.
Puzzlement ensued. I had had seizures, you see, and, as I understand it, you seize and then it’s over. Intense, then done. If this was Gray’s Anatomy, Callie and Arizona would be poking each other and saying that I was kinda cute now that the spider suit was coming off, and I would be smiling back at them.
I wasn’t seizing anymore, but I was developing nasty infections and they weren’t “responding,” as good infections do. And they were shutting down my kidneys, which is a major faux pas if you’re trying to get out of intensive care, as I unconsciously was.
CF kept telling everyone about how I hadn’t been “myself” lately. In fact, she’d been so concerned that she had convinced me to make an appointment with my neurologist for an MRI, which was scheduled for a few days from now. I had started recently on a new disease-modifying therapy (as they’re called) for MS, and CF was convinced the drug was affecting me negatively.
This new drug—let’s call it BrainScar—was known to lower resistance to infection. That’s why I was falling victim to all sorts of weird stuff floating around the hospital and why the doctors had to keep giving me more and more antibiotics.
Fortunately they were also giving me pain killers and some drug that paralyzed me, because I really hated that tube and kept trying to rip it out, evidently, whenever it wore off.
The doctors kept preparing CF for the possibility that I might die. The infections were very severe, and I kept going into respiratory arrest. Our 13-year-old son went to stay with friends of his, and one of CF’s sisters flew in from out of town (giving her three out of her four sisters close by; my sister and mother would come later).
She hadn’t told any of our out-of-town friends, except for Amy, who found out when CF accidently sent her a text message, thinking she was texting our son. Amy was on the next flight out from Massachusetts.