Thursday, November 12, 2009
EDEN - A Near Life Experience
for putting myself in the hospital this weekend, i am forced to award myself weekly magic failure.
everything below is how i remember it. times given loosely correspond to time stamps on text messages sent and received.
saturday, november 7th, 2009.
get out of bed. skip breakfast. meet september at deighton's well. get a ginger ale and the world's smallest portion of potato wedges. they were free. estimate and cut 5 feet of white upholstery thread. do this twice. start threading 32 size 9 sewing needles onto each length. tie needles about 2 inches apart.
finally finish threading and tying one set. other set still unfinished and stuffed hastily into pouch. remember thinking they will get tangled but not caring. september leaves and i leave shortly after. walk along cordova street to granville street. i am shivering uncontrollably. it is not that cold. i cannot stop my teeth from chattering. it is really not that cold.
roll a cigarette. start slowly forming whip cracking motions without cracking them. light my cigarette. start cracking whips for real. trouble with poppers being brand new. start breaking poppers in. not shivering at all any more. gather a crowd. forget to do vanishing cigarette trick. inflate balloon for balloon swallow. crowd starts to cheer. balloon pops. inflate another. swallow balloon. crowd starts to cheer. balloon has a hole. inflate third and final balloon. swallow balloon. crowd does not cheer.
remove nail from pocket. nail is examined and verified to be a real nail. nail is inserted ten centimeters into my nasal cavity. crowd responds in kind. nail is removed from nose. crowd responds. needles are produced and examined. female volunteer with flashlight brought onto stage. she verifies a needle going into my mouth. she checks inside my mouth. she finds nothing. she verifies another needle going into my mouth. she checks inside my mouth again. again, she finds nothing. several needles are shown. she is asked to guess how many there are. she says ten. there are twenty-two. the whole packet is placed into my mouth. one last time, she verifies that she cannot see anything remaining in my mouth. i produce 1500 m of white cotton thread. i estimate and break off a five foot length. i swallow the thread. nothing remains in my mouth. i reproduce the first needle. it is now tied to the thread. and the next needle. it is tied to the thread. and the next needle. and the next. all the needles are coming back tied to the thread. but wait. i had two more than that.
collect the money. hurry. someone asks if i have $45 to make change for a $50. i do not. i empty my hat into my pouch. i jam the needles into my pouch. balloon pump left pocket. sewing thread right pocket. shit. hurry. kneel in the middle of granville street and reach down my throat. nothing. walk to johnny fox's irish snug. say hi to dave. use the restroom. it's occupied. get in. wash my hands. use soap. try to see down my throat in the bathroom mirror. on tiptoes. impossible. lock myself into a stall. reach as far as i can. j hook. nothing. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.
ask dave for closest hospital. st. paul's. tell dave i'll see him later. walk to st. paul's. jay walk. stomach pains along the way. has a needle fallen down? ER entrance. embarrassed to tell reception what happened. tell them anyways. they say: on purpose? no.whips taken by security. fast tracked through ER. check in at fast track waiting room. pushed through to ENT room. have to explain to doctor what i did. doctor looks for specialist. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.
text september with news. use words "retard" and "hilarious dumbassery" to describe self. confident i will be out of hospital in time to grab a beer at johnny foxes. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.
2 x-rays taken to determine location of needles. stomach/abdomen and then throat/jaw. x-rays only show 1 needle. definitely swallowed two. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.
1 more x-ray of stomach/abdomen ordered. no needle. closer examination shows two needles stuck very close together in my throat. try to get copies of the x-ray. they only exist in electronic form now. saddened. back to ENT room. continue texting september. start texting erin. jokingly work out contingency plans in case i die. try to arrange saturday night drinks with erin. use my hospitalization for pity points. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.
whips are returned to me. security guy is done his shift. sent to wait in the fast track waiting room. ENT specialist calls another ENT specialist. watch peachtree TV. movie is about a teenage boy losing his virginity to a much older woman. total milf. TV is on auto timer. TV shuts off by itself. pretend to be interested in my fingernails. notice they need a trim. try to read a waiting room magazine. accidentally choose chatelaine. try to turn the TV back on. cannot find button. continue text messaging. continue examining fingernails. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.
2nd ENT specialist shows up. this is my third doctor. i still do not think the problem is serious. back to ENT room. new doctor is suitably amused with my situation. promises to try get me x-rays to show my friends. machine is produced with which to look into my throat through my nose. numbing spray is determined necessary for me. i protest. they insist. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.
numbing spray is found. seriously. that is the actual time it took. disgusting numbing spray applied to both nostrils. i gag. instrument inserted into my nostril. both needles are visually verified. i figure we are almost done. i text erin to start heading downtown. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.
we walk to the ENT clinic. i text erin and apologize for misjudging the time. hospitals are creepy at night. a third ENT specialist in consulted and will actually remove the needles. this is my fourth doctor. i am still not aware of the potential danger of my situation. new doctor hears my story. new doctor makes me promise to never do it again. i promise. they look for instruments to use. various scary metallic objects in sterile, vacuum sealed bags are produced. a similar instrument as before is used to look into my mouth, but this time hooked up to a TV screen. a mirror feed is behind the surgeon so i can see as well. i try not to swallow, cough, or gag.
the procedure is described to me. i have to hold my tongue out of the way and control my gag reflex while the surgeon removes the needles. erin arrives downtown. i tell her to grab a coffee and that i will be right out. i grab my own tongue with gauze and pull down as hard as i can. it hurts. i have to pull harder. large tongs and the camera go down my throat. i am told to breathe through my nose. i cannot. i stop breathing. i gag. it hurts. numbing spray is produced. disgusting numbing spray is applied directly to my throat. i gag. it hurts. we try again. i grab my tongue. instruments go in. i gag. it hurts. the disgusting vomiting spray is applied to my throat ten times in rapid succession. i dry heave, but there is no food in my belly. it hurts. we try again to grab the needles. i gag. we try. i gag.
we take a break. i try to reach my zen place. we try. the surgeon has the needles in his forceps. he works them side to side to free them. they are nearly out.
i gag, i gag, i gag. it hurts, it hurts, it hurts. the needles are stuck in my throat sideways. i am asked if i am okay. i am not okay. i am coughing up blood. a lot of blood. i am gasping . the needles are still sideways. i have tears running down my face from the instruments in my throat and i have snot coming out of my nose and i have saliva and phlegm and blood in my mouth and i am scared. i finally realize i am in big trouble. miraculously, one of my convulsions loosens the needles and sets them how they were stuck before. i text erin and tell her to go home because i will be a while.
Sunday, November 8th, 2009
i am going into surgery to have the needles removed. there is no one in the OR. lucky me. erin comes to the hospital to see me. she hates hospitals. another surgeon shows up. this one is dressed in a tux. i am embarrassed for pulling him away from an engagement and apologize. he waves it off. i leave my effects with erin and she goes home. i have to strip naked and put on hospital clothes. i think how one of the gowns is like a snuggie. i try not to cough or gag.
i get placed onto a hospital bed. i get wheeled around. luxurious. no allergies, no previous medications, otherwise healthy, no family history of complications. i sign forms. they start to stick things to me and in me. a mask goes over my mouth.
i wake up. i am in another room. i am asked if i want to leave now or in the morning. i choose morning. i get wheeled to on overnight room. i try to sleep. i call erin and thank her for showing up. my phone is running out of batteries. i turn it off.
my throat hurts. a lot. worse than it did with needles in. i do not dare make a noise with my throat. i do not remember being told how to summon a nurse. i panic and look at instruments around me. i find an unlabelled button. i am paranoid pushing it will kill me. tell myself this is unlikely. i am still afraid to push the button. i try to trace the cord back to the wall. it gets lost in a tangle. my throat still hurts. i close my eyes and jam on the button. i hear ringing in the hallway. a nurse appears. i whisper for painkillers. he comes back with ice water and two dosages of liquid T3s. ice water stings my throat but i have to try for it. i shoot the T3s down. they are surprisingly tasty. i drink some more of the water. does not hurt as much as before. i am told to pee in a bucket.
turn my phone back on.
i overhear nurses talking about my case in the hallway. they sound mildly amused. i'll be discharged after breakfast.
cell phone dies.
erin shows up and i get to leave.