I walk to the industrial clothes dryer, open the door and crawl into it. Then, the monkey sitting on top pushes the buttons. On and off. Hot, warm, cool. He mixes it up. And I tumble round and round in the metal bin, bruising, trying to catch my breath. The monkey likes to mess with me. He enjoys it. It’s fun.
Friday night, I stepped off the bed and slipped in a puddle. Water? No. Zosyn. The nurse punctured the bag and it leaked out onto the floor.
Welcome to my weekend in the dryer.
Saturday gave me a CT scan of the gut. I was surprised I have any left.
My wife and daughter visited. I forget how I have to keep my head down to survive the week until they arrive on weekends. I felt better.
Sunday arrived with the news my appendix was dilated and ready to give birth to three stones. Time to come out, as that was why I had the flank pain, they thought. No food or liquids Sunday. And I went outside for the first time in six days.
My wife told me my daughter had cried last night and said, “daddy, doesn’t ever complain. I have such special parents.” She will be in for a surprise when she reads this blog years from now and says, “all my dad ever did was complain.” At least, I didn’t complain to her.
It’s funny our little nine year old noticed. And though I am convinced the experience of having a dad with CF will make her a stronger person with unique insight into life and its fragile, sandy nature, it will still have its pain for her. But in the end, she will be special for it, and appreciate every minute. That is the gift we will give her.
Sunday also gave me a defective mid-line. The nurse flushed it hard three times in the morning. I did not know you can flush a line that fast. But you can. And he did. Then the Meds started leaking out the bottom onto my dressing. A new cover and it started holding, until the night when it drained again. Out of order. No PICC line nurse on call. Time for a new shiny IV line to the hand.
Press tumble dry, on and off, 50 times, please, monkey.
If there was a highlight, the benadryl injection blasted my rocket into space and I am convinced they gave me some narcotic out of sympathy. 45 minutes of super buzz. I thanked the nurse over and over, and she couldn’t stop laughing at the stuff I said but don’t remember today.
My captive stand-up audience of one. The monkey clapped, too, then pressed “on.”
So, today was “exorcise the appendix” day. The surgeon came in, rubbed a chicken claw down my chest, and made love to my belly with his hands. He told me I didn’t need the surgery and left for Tahiti.
Stop the cycle. Bang, my head hits the metal ridge and the monkey snickers.
Jackpot, no surgery. Bummer, because I had watched the surgery on YouTube the night before and was looking forward to it. I could have done it myself.
Cut, cauterize, cut, snip, snag and bag. Extract the evil spirit.
Now comes the best part of my four-day dryer romp. Rejected for surgery with a dilated, three stone appendix, the monkey needed to inflict more pain. Making his monkey sounds, he spit into the dryer and voila, two blood clots in my right arm, one svt and one dvt. Damn, good one.
Now last week, when I received the midline, I asked them to use heparin to flush the lines. They do for a PICC, but balked at the midline for reasons I am still unclear about. Something about bleeding, which makes no sense, as I flushed it with heparin in November six or seven times a day. No bleeding.
But there is debate about the DVT and its age. Of course there is.
Does the monkey just make up its own story as needed?
I met with vascular surgery. Too risky to extract. Hello, heparin. Then back to the Lovenox shots to the gut, which I did a year of, and sent me to the sink coughing up huge amounts of blood. Looking forward to that joy again.
I wish I had a happy ending to this post – something special if you’ve read this far. But I don’t.
I do, however, know this: the hospital is a living breathing life form. A spirit. I can feel its presence. It moves, expands, contracts. I have spoken to it at night, in the quiet dark. I understand its language, its innocence.
It loves me, and says, “you will never leave me again. We were meant to be together, forever.”