by Turtle Jones
So it's Monday, or Tuesday depending where you live in the world. This is the problem with having writers in like 20 time zones. All I know is it's "Hungry Man" time so that must mean it's time for LNT! Actually it's even a little late for us to do this, but what the hell.
Something happened today that inspired us to think of this topic. I mean no one likes hospitals and really, they don't like you either. Do you really think they wanna see you? No. They don't. But, sometimes interesting things happen. We have many stories about them. So here is tonight’s topic.
turtle gets fingered
I have been in the hospital many times. I know the drill. If you are in the ER you need to bang your wound to get it to bleed more or pretend like you can see Jesus and you are coming home. That's how you get in faster. "Jesus is coming for me! I feel so warm! Take me Jesus! Take me!"
I guarantee they'll scoop you inside faster then Richard Pryor did lines of cocaine. But, one time, that started a whole string of tales, something was wrong with me. I had no clue. It was a pain. Just a small one in my side. Kind of like where an appendix is. But, it was just a throb. Something was wrong. I didn't know what it was thou. I went to bed that night not really worrying about it, just kinda wondering.
The next day, it hurt a little more. Like a cramp. I called the doctor and explained everything. Told them where it hurt and everything. They wanted to see me. Well, crap. OK. I had to go in two days later. I can wait. I'm patient. I can take this.
The next day it was still there. Just a throb that was killing me. I called the doctors again describing how it throbs every time my heart beats. Pain hit me like a knife every time I moved. Nothing incredible. I mean I can take a lot, but it just kinda sucked.
When you have that kind of "always there" pain, it's just annoying. Annoying as hell. When I was in a car wreck earlier this year, I was smashed up. None of that pain hurt me as much as the ingrown hair on my testicle that had nothing to do with the wreck. It's that always there pain. I hate it.
But, this one wasn't going away. I just keep throbbing.
So I went into the hospital nearly out of breath. Gasping as I sat down in the chair. Something was wrong. I went into the office and was examined. He checked me out and looked me up and down I told him this must be my appendix. It has to be. He calmly told me that an appendix will burst and they wouldn't last four days.
Then he asked me to take of my pants. Pulling on rubber gloves, he winked at me. He rammed his finger deep in my ass and looked at me with a smile in his face asking me if I felt this or that.
Well, all I could feel was my ass be invaded by Dr. Anus so I really wasn't in the best mode to make any decisions of what hurt or what didn't hurt. I was too busy thinking how bad it must suck to get raped in jail.
"You are fine. Go home."
He pulled his finger out and winked at me. Handing me his business card, he told me to call him "anytime". I threw the card down and walked out. I'm not a doctor and I will never be one but my stomach was now killing me. I was covered in sweat wondering if I was just raped by a doctor. I made it out the door and lit a cigarette, still having trouble breathing. I climbed back into my car and drove home. Climbed into bed. No covers. Nothing. Totally naked as I lit one cigarette. I watched it burn down just wondering if this was it was like to die. Sure, years later I did find out that dying is really not that painful but hey, I was a kid then, I didn't know.
Finally someone found me and took me back to the hospital. I was down. Shivering and sweaty. Throwing up and cold. They pulled me in right away. No "I see Jesus" yelling here. I was going down fast. They took tests on me. Asked me if I knew my first name. I really couldn't talk. I was shot up and sent into surgery.
The next day, I was in a hospital bed. My appendix had burst earlier in the day. I was hours away from dying. But, I was in the hospital earlier in the day? What the hell? The other doctor asked me what for. Why was I there earlier? I told him that I thought it was my appendix. He asked me what the other doctor did. I told him he stuck his finger up my ass.
He asked why.
To check if my appendix was ok.
He said they didn't do that here. Are you sure he did that?
I stared at the ground.
I usually get a Coke before I get fucked. - T
michele dials 911
Until last year.
I was sitting at the computer, uploading vacation photos. We just got back from a few days upstate. Quite, serene, Roscoe, New York. A vacation that’s supposed to calm your nerves, relax your mind, soothe your soul. Except those things rarely happen to me. Instead, I ended up having some powerful panic attacks in the middle of the night while we were up there. I think it was all that quiet. The complete darkness. Kind of suffocating.
Anyhow. Cut to being home. I’m staring at picture number 200 or so when the first wave of dizziness hits. It wasn’t just my head spinning. It was everything around me. The floor shifted. The room spun. I saw stars instead of the computer screen.
Ok, I thought. My eyes have had enough of these photos and Photoshop and flickr. Let’s get up and get some fresh air. I stood up and the floor shifted again. Room spun. Whoa. I plopped right back down in the chair. Then my hands went all tingly. This is not good, I’m thinking. Something is definitely not right. I take a deep breath. Well, try to. I feel like I can’t fill my lungs.
Breathe, Michele. Breathe.
Ok, I’m breathing. In with the good, out with the bad. Breathe in through the nostrils, out through the mouth. I’m doing this, but the floor is still wavering and there are still little stars and planets and whole fucking solar systems in front of my eyes. I’ve never passed out in my life before, but I imagine this is what the start of a fainting spell feels like.
I look up. My daughter is staring at me. She senses something is really wrong and does what any level headed person would do in the situation. She gets me a glass of water. Good thinking. Cold water cures everything. That’s not sarcasm. I mean it. Panicky? Have a glass of water. Tired? Feeling dizzy? Have a glass of water. Bad dream? Ulcer? Involuntary tic? Have a glass of water.
I go to take the glass of water from her but my hand is shaking too hard.
Breathe, Michele, Breathe.
My son, staring at me with that “oh my god is mom gonna die right now?” look on his face.
I’ll be ok, I tell them.
And with that, I feel the color drain from my face. I can’t breathe. Really, really can’t breathe. I’ve had zillions of panic attacks before. I know what they feel like. I know how to get myself breathing again. I know how to stop them from becoming worse than they need to be. But this. This was different. I really couldn’t breathe. We’re talking life and death here. Which, of course, makes me panic. So now I’ve got a panic attack going on top of some very real fainting/breathing problems. Everything in my peripheral vision is black. The stars are now giant comets headed for my face. I swear, I see the Millennium Falcon floating around in these stars.
Breathe, Michele, breathe.
I gasp. Air. I need air. Kids look terrified. I point to the phone. My daughter calls my father, who calls the ambulance.
Oh, great. This is just what I need.
My father, who lives just blocks away shows up. Now, he’s been a fireman for oh, about 40 years. He knows the drill here. He’s seen this before. He’ll help.
He stares at me. Has that look on his face like, what now? Why is everything a drama with you?
Tingly hands and toes. Floor moving. Lungs not filling.
I am going to die. Right here. Right now. In my living room with the unpacked suitcases on the floor and who is going to take my kids in and who wants my car and please, no funeral, just cremate me and spread my ashes over Yankee Stadium and........the sound of sirens fills the night. Oh jesus fuck. Sirens and everything? I mean, my dad knows these guys. I know these guys. Do they have to do the siren thing?
The door opens and my neighbor Larry marches in. Larry is an EMT. Larry is going to help me breathe.
It dawns on me that I’m not wearing a bra. All these firemen are about to burst into my house and my neighbors are out on their lawns staring and Larry is holding up a very sharp looking needle and I’m not wearing a bra.
Larry sticks an IV in my arm. Sticks these electrode pad things all over me.
Excuse me, I say. I need to go to the bathroom.
I run in my room and get a bra and go into the bathroom and somehow, with the IV sticking out of me, manage to take off my shirt, put on the bra and put the shirt back on.
I go back in the living room. Everything is still spinny and part of my vision is still black and my hands are still tingling, but I can breathe. Hey, I can breathe! I suck in my breath. Lungs fill. I’m not going to die! Get away from my CDs, damn you, I’m not going to die!
Larry sits me down. Explains to me something about dehydration and exhaustion. But I can see through people. I look in Larry’s eyes and I know what he’s saying. “You damn wack job, it’s all in your head. Yea, you’re tired and thirsty but you might want to, you know, talk to someone.....” I can practically see the finger going up to his head in that circular “cuckoo” motion.
Whatever. I can breathe. That’s all that matters. Bring me some water, a pillow and blanket and let me just lie down here on my couch and I’ll be all better and thank you for coming, I’ll be sure to give to the fund drive and....what? You want me to what? Get on the stretcher? Into the ambulance?
No. Fucking. Way.
Well, I have to, they say. Something about protocol. I have to go get checked out. Oh god. This is embarrassing. My neighbors are gathered across the street, staring hard at us. What the hell will I tell them later? Oh yea, I couldn’t breathe, thought I was dying. Turns out I just forgot to sleep and drink fluids and oh yea, I’m a little bit crazy in the head. No, that won’t do. I tell my kids, make up something about zombies. Tell them I single handedly fought off a horde of zombies and saved you all from certain death and I’ll be just fine. Just a flesh wound.
I see my son make that circular motion at his head to my neighbors. Thanks, bud.
So there I am on a stretcher, being lifted into an ambulance. Wooo. Wooo. The sirens go off and we are on our way to the hospital. I look at the ambulance guys. They smile. That kind of smile that says “you tore me away from the tv for this?” Not a nice smile. I close my eyes. Listen to the siren, feel the turn as we pull into the hospital, wait for them to lift me out and wheel me in. The shove me into a corner of the room and draw a thick curtain around me. I start singing Pink Floyd’s Brain Damage to myself.
The next hour is a blur of pin pricks and vein stabbing and blood. Lots of questions. No, I don’t drink a lot. No, I don’t do drugs. No, I am not prone to psychotic episodes. The nice doctor with the unintelligible accent asks me things I’m not sure I’m giving the correct answer to. For all I know, I just told him that yes, I harbor resentment toward my mother and I would like to stab her after I drink six pints of gin and set my dog on fire. They’re gonna take me up to the fabled 6th floor, where the crazies go. I’ll never see my family again.
My mother appears through the curtain like the Wizard of Oz. I click my heels together three times, but I’m still there. I want to go home, I tell her.
Ok. You’re done here. Let’s go.
What? Just like that? No sixth floor? No medication? No daisy chains and laughs?
She smiles. "You’re fine. Dehydrated, tired and maybe you should see someone about those panic attacks." We get in her car and she hits CD 3 on her player. Hits the forward button a few times. Brain Damage. Yea, mom is a Pink Floyd fan. And is making fun of me.
That’s ok. I’m going home.
First thing I’m gonna do is take my bra off. -M
Michele and Turtle write Late Night Typing late at night. There's a revelation for ya.