Monday, June 30, 2008

Bad Blog!

Once, long ago, during the bronze age when we had to blog via smacking squirrels against large rocks, this was a decent blog. It’s never been serious or useful, but I think it started as being kinda sorta funny with occasional lapses into accidental insights. Time has not worn away any of my imagination or desire to write, but it has filled my days with other priorities, such as my recent project wherein I strive not to drop dead. My point is that this site was once worth reading, but not anymore. I don’t plan to delete the blog, but I also don’t presage a return to the salad days. I’ll keep posting so the few of you who care for some reason can keep up with the doldrums of my daily life, but don’t expect anything more entertaining than “May 17 – ate a cheeseburger.”

As for my illness, I’ll sum up the last month. I had a tiny sweat rash on the back of my neck which I was treating with an over the counter salve that almost eradicated it when I fell seriously ill with some kind of flu-like virus. I overcame most of the viral symptoms (vomiting, nausea, etc.) but the rash covered the back of my neck and I the virus left me with two symptoms I couldn’t shake – extreme dizziness when I was upright and overall fatigue. Since I was growing weaker every day, I decided to seek medical help for the first time since I broke my ankle in the early 90’s.

I went to the local VA clinic since I’m a vet and don’t have insurance, but they had moved and their phone number was a recording redirecting me to the main VA hospital. I rested for a day and went to the VA hospital after calling and asking what paperwork I needed to bring. I arrived, was told I needed to bring more documentation, and then spent several hours going to various stations filling out paperwork before being told that, beginning this year, the VA no longer treats vets who gross more than $30k annually. That’s right – despite my years of service including combat, I was turned away at the door without being allowed to see a doctor because I’m not indigent. I was too exhausted to generate any righteous indignation so I went home, rested again, and planned my next move.

The only thing I could think to do was to go to an emergency room and pay their exorbitant fees. A friend of mine suggested an urgent care clinic that wouldn’t charge nearly as much, so I went there instead. I discovered that a) I had lost nearly 40 pounds in just under three weeks (don’t ask me how that’s possible), and b) they were more concerned with the rash on my neck than my other symptoms. They said I was too far gone for their limited help and said I needed to get to an emergency room immediately, which I did after a nap. After five hours in the waiting room they said I needed to see a doctor who said the rash had turned into an infection and that it needed to be surgically removed. During the next week I endured three surgeries wherein they removed the infection (it had spread deep and nearly reached my spine at the base of the skull) and the surrounding dead tissue and replaced it with medicated surgical sponges. They also put me through three hyperbaric treatments, two hours each in a high pressure oxygen chamber which still has most of my hearing blocked (imagine a trip in an airplane which has a cruising altitude of Saturn). Worst of all, they fed me. I survived the cutting and atmospheric pressure, but a giant sausage patty left me incontinent and in severe abdominal pain for nearly a day. I reported it to the nurses, but was told they could do nothing. That’s right – the hospital had no remedy for an upset stomach.

I grew weaker in the hospital, so I insisted on being released. I had to wear a hospital gown home since the infection had soaked into my shirt. I was barely able to walk to my car, but I managed to drive home without killing anyone (always a bonus) and, after crawling up the four steps to my apartment door, I slept for most of the next 24 hours.

Now I’m feeling much better. I can walk up the four steps, one at a time and with great effort, but I don’t have to fall or crawl. The incision on my neck is mostly closed (if I flex too much it brings in a little air) and I should be able to have the drain tubes removed this week. I have to wear something that looks like a fanny pack with an IV line running to my arm for the next month, but after I get rid of all the medicines and doctors my stomach should even out and I’ll finally be cured.

I wasn’t sure how to close this, but my IV alarm is sounding. It says I’m out of juice. If you don’t hear from me by the end of this week, assume I am dead and bury me with a Japanese woman to take into the next life.

Bad blogger, out

18 comments:

Monogram Queen said...

Oh lord Grant how bizarre! I am so glad you are on the mend. Please keep up with the blog. Those of us that care don't really care WHAT you write, just THAT you write!

Avitable said...

Jeebus.

What was the actual diagnosis? Yellow fever?

Tracy Lynn said...

If I didn't know you are a total drama queen, I would have been worried.

It is so like you to get a plague.

metalmom said...

Was it the MRSA? I hear that shit is a bitch! OOH! Maybe if you had blogged about it before going to the hospital I coulda told you to put maggots on it to eat the dead flesh. I coulda saved you bunches of money !!!

I hope you feel better. I'll send Nurse Ping Chen over right away!

Grant said...

mq - since you don't care what I write: fleem britbucker narquocker tem flue. Enjoy =)

avitable - I didn't ask them to name the infection and the hospital was not forthcoming with information. Infected neck is all I know. The yellow fever remains.

tracy - you caught me - I'm just doing this for the attention. Next week I'll contract the 24 hour AIDS.

metalmom - unfortunately I ate all the maggots in my place and have none to spare.

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Holeeeee shit, Grant...that's some serious shit you went thru.

And I CANNOT believe since you make more than 30K a year they wouldn't treat you. What the fuck is this country coming to when we won't take care of our own but we'll ship millions to other countries and help them out??? That's just bullshit.

Well, please keep us posted on your recovery...cheeseburgers, miso sooup and all. ;)

Enemy of the Republic said...

Since you are still feeling poorly, I don't blame you for blogging--I go through phases myself as I just think my life is my own business and I use my blog to answer my questions about the universe.

That pisses me off about the VA, but it is no surprise as guys who did three tours over in Iraq aren't getting benefits either and some are losing their homes.

Are you familiar with Reiki (serious question)? It is a Japanese form of healing. It is not meant to take the place of Western medicine, but it sends energy your way--a bit hard to explain. I am being trained as one. If you are willing, once I complete my training, I can help you. It works where you need it most; let's say you ask for help with a back problem, but your real problem is intestinal, it will go there first.

It gives me an excuse to go visit the South anyway, and I expect some miso soup!

Spider Girl said...

Last time I was in the hospital it was the food that nearly killed me....toxic jello mainly....

Sounds like a crappy time you've had there, Grant.

*makes fellow blogger cup of tea and bowl of chicken soup*

Joe said...

Can't tell you how sorry I was to learn of your illness. As I told you, I assumed the "out sick" thing was a joke.

Glad to hear that you're recovering from what appears to have been a horrible experience. I, for one, will take fewer posts in exchange for better health for you.

Kerry said...

OMG! I haven't had a chance to read up on my peeps in forever and now I find that you've been sick! I hope you are truly feeling better. What was the diagnosis? Spider bite!???

NYD said...

It doesn't seem all that unusual to me that I should at some point discover your blog. Now since there are still a whole lot of J-gals out there whose picture you still haven't posted here you might be able to do a little better than “May 17 – ate a cheeseburger.

Next time you get an infection pour the pickling juice on it. That ought to be able to eradicate most any germs.

Fun place.

Grant said...

pq - still going through it, but at least I'm recovering, no thanks to the VA.

enemy - reiki sounds interesting. If the real problem is that I need a Japanese girlfriend, do you think it will help?

spider-girl - the worst I felt in the hospital was after a giant sausage patty they served me. I didn't eat any more food cooked there after that (just pre-packaged stuff) and eventually recovered.

joe - sending me Japanese women will do more to improve my health.

kerry - I was out so long I missed Circe's goodbye. The diagnosis was an infection, apparently brought about by a virus I contracted.

nyd - I could always post more pictures of J-hotties. The Internet will never have enough of that.

Enemy of the Republic said...

Grant, I just got your comment. I work for free. If you give me permission, I can start sending you distant healing--I now know how to do that. The energy will go where it is needed.


I got socked with big hospital bills with insurance; I got one for 7 grand and I had to pay it off; my insurance wouldn't cover it. The only time I didn't have insurance woes was when I gave birth--they covered that. But everything else is a hassle. So if you are paying out of pocket, I know that is hell. Is there any way you can either walk up to the VA and slap the bills on them? Are you a consultant so you would have to buy your own insurance separately? That's why I work a straight job because my husband would be paying 600 a month just for himself.

Anyway, let me know--hell, it can't hurt you.It doesn't just work on the physical level either.

Enemy of the Republic said...

I think getting a Japanese girlfriend for you is way out of my league. And I'm glad you met my friend, NYD. He rocks. And he lives in Japan.

Crys said...

got here through avi.

this post just struck me, because a few years ago i went through something similar. i had contracted an infection which the doctors at first did not recognize, and it ultimately landed me in the hospital, in exploratory surgery (where they saw i was in sepsis) and then in a coma. the recovery was long.

i remember having to take a cab to the hospital/doctor and being so weak that i fell out of the cab. this really old guy had to help me up because i couldn't stand on my own. i know how it feels to be that weak; to be knocked on your ass like that.

it took several months for me to fully recover. i lost weight i never knew i even had, but it came back, slowly but surely. as did my regular life. i look back on that year and i can finally be thankful. it was the year i learned about fear properly. how to recognize it, how to sit with it, how to eliminate it from my life. there were a lot of lessons actually, but then, there always are.

i'm going to pray for you. i hope you get well soon. make your food choices extremely nutritional ones. get a lot of rest. drink a lot of fluids -- those antibiotics ravage the body. i worry that you're by yourself, but it sounds like you have friends who are taking care. your strength will come back and soon you'll do for yourself (i see from more recent posts that it is).

peace, brother.

Grant said...

enemy - $7k? HA! My bills total over $50k so far and more are on the way. I win.

enemey again - can you convince nyd to mail me a Japanese woman?

crys - thank you. I'm off the antibiotics now, which I think is essential because I was feeling worse and developing more symptoms like stomach pains. I feel better already and am recovering, although I'm not sure I want the weight back. I've been drinking a lot of green tea and miso soup, so hopefully that will help. If not, feel free to drop by and cook for me. :p

Crys said...

when i was done with my ordeal i could hardly eat. i remember someone coming over and having pizza and i literally began to throw up on the first bite. it's weird how the body has to adjust its way back to eating. even so, i wish i'd have taken the time to really fashion a better eating plan for myself THEN. nowadays i've taken to eating like a tree hugger, the idea of which would have scandalized me back then. i feel a lot better, though. i also think i'm creating a better foundation of health for myself.

when i got ill, i lost weight i didn't even know i had. i gained back most of my weight, but not all. at least not for about a year. i was pretty skinny.

miso is so good for the tummy. green tea too. eat rice with furikaki! drink juices.

i'll stop preaching. ;)

(thanks for stopping by my blog)

About Me: said...

Oh, yuck. I had the infamous "Flesh Eating Bacteria", but was lucky lucky lucky that it was caught within the first 24 hours. Otherwise, I would probably be missing body parts right now...

I feel for you in your recovery. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but it's a lot of hard work.

My best advice is to eat as few processed foods as possible (eat lots of fresh!), and lots of good yogurt to combat all the antibiotics you've been on.

Good luck in your recovery.