I haven’t made a new post in quite some time, over a month now I think. As some of you know, part of the reason for this is I recently spent three and a half weeks in the hospital.
On December 14th (a Friday) I started not feeling well and ended up going to bed early. Saturday I was vomiting and just feeling, over all, like shit. We were thinking that I had a stomach flu that had been going around. I got so bad that at some point I asked what time it was and freaked out at how late it was and then got even more confused when my wife told me it was Sunday. I was throwing up so much and not eating that, out of desperation to feel better, I was gagging myself just to try and get something to come up.
During the course of all of this I wasn’t taking my insulin (I’m a diabetic too, just in case you didn’t know) because I wasn’t eating and was afraid of my blood sugar bottoming out. My wife tried to get me to eat crackers and such but, I just couldn’t. I was drinking lot’s of water and throwing up in turn.
Eventually, I got to where I couldn’t even walk. I would get up to hurry to the bathroom and would just stumble around bouncing off of walls until I reached the toilet. I started to notice that my vision was washed out, for a lack of a better way to describe it. Looking around in a room full of light, everything just seemed way to bright and I couldn’t make anything out.
At this point my vomit was basically almost black. My wife and daughter got me together and drove me to the ER. They didn’t fuck around either, they took me straight in, not making me wait. Now, this is the point where I start to not really remember things.
I was eventually transferred via ambulance to a bigger hospital about an hour away.
At this point, I remember nothing. I spent pretty much the next two weeks stuck in my head. I don’t remember anything at all (that happened in the real world) during that two week span that they had me doped up. Everything I know at this point about what was going on comes from my wife and our friend J.
I guess they eventually sedated me and gave me a paralytic. I was restrained and constantly struggling against it. I would still occasionally kick or look fucking crazy in the eyes I guess. I even kicked a nurse in the booby. (Not something I’m proud of but, it was out of my hands.)
I, in my head, was having a much different experience. I am not going to go into huge details here because I plan to chronicle that in comic form down the line.
I will say I apparently had a conspiracy against me involving the government, was accused of murdering a kid back when I was a kid and the parents finally found me because I was in the hospital and put me on trial in India. That one also involved a giant fire golem. I was given a chance to heal and make up for my misdeeds as a child in a HALO type program on a secret moon base and there was a nurse (my nemesis) that was trying to kill me (even succeeded at some point). That’s just the simple run down… it get’s crazier.
During that time, my poor wife and daughter were dealing with the real world problems I and my body were facing. Like finding out that, as it turned out, I didn’t have a stomach flu, but in fact had pancreatitis. Pancreatitis that it appears was brought on by my unfortunate beer drinking habits. Unfortunately, this was just to be the starting line for what would turn into a roller coaster other complications.
So much happened and it seems like it could be easy to get carried away with the details. I’m going to give a quick run down from here and save the more detailed explanations for the eventual comic story.
After a few days of being in critical condition and then improving slightly, I began to develop fluid on my lungs. This put me back into “deathly critical” condition. They had to intubate me, shoving a giant breathing tube down my throat. At this point our friend J from Seattle had flown out to help out however he could. He and my wife then had to go through a bunch of little complications on a pretty much daily basis. Our daughter was at home with the cats and dogs. She was home from college for her winter break. I got to spend maybe four days with her out of the month that she was home.
The day after Christmas I began to kind of come out of it and become somewhat coherent. I still had some confusion between what was going on real world style and what was going on in the sci-fi fantasy opera in my head. This led to a little frustration as I would write questions on a dry erase board that made sense to me but no one else.
I woke up to my wife, J, and my dad, who also flew out from Washington when he heard what happened.
I was tired and weak and couldn’t really do anything but stare out a window and try and put everything together in my head. Not being able to draw or anything didn’t help the frustration levels either…
After over a week they removed the breathing tube. This was almost panic inducing because no one really explained how this was going to work to me. They just grabbed parts and said things like “Ok, hold your breath” and pulled shit off. Eventually the nurse got it down to the main tube and said “Now, really big cough.” then grabbed ahold of the breathing tube and yanked. I got a little cough out as I felt all air cut off and watched as this slimy, alien tube that seemed like it was 10 feet long came out of my mouth. It felt good to breathe.
Then I dealt with a day or so of physical therapy that consisted of me simply sitting up in a chair. I thought this was odd until I actually went to stand up for the first time in two weeks. I had no muscle, I was super weak. Sitting in that chair just trying to breathe through the oxygen mask they had me on was tough.
The next step was to get me out of the MICU and into a regular room. I spent a couple restless nights in the MICU as some crazy shit was coming and going from the unit. Once I got a room it allowed my wife and J to move in with me. When I got to the room a couple other friends and our daughter were there. I was able to sit up and talk and had a little bit of energy. My throat didn’t even hurt like all the doctors and nurses had expected. There was a t.v. for watching the horrible shit that is on t.v. I am not sad to be back home where I have no cable.
I didn’t have much of an appetite and it didn’t help that at this hospital they didn’t seem to know what to do with a vegetarian. How did they end up handling it you ask? They served me potatoes every meal for a week and a half. No joke.
My wife stayed in the room with me and J until after New Years, then she had to go back to work. Even then, she would stay the night in the room with me and get up early and drive an hour to work, then drive an hour back after work and stay the night. I still didn’t feel great, but being able to interact with them helped me feel better. J spent every day and night in that room with me. They would leave and go get something to eat or just to get out for a bit, but I was never alone for long.
I had started to cough a little and had just stopped using an oxygen tube when the cardiologist came around saying he wanted to do a “stress test’ before I was released. I was beginning to start to get to that point where I wanted people to talk about releasing me so I said “Whenever you’re ready”. He set it up for the next day. I had to let them monitor my heart relaxed, then get on a treadmill that got progressively faster and steeper, then they rush you over and monitor your heart like that. I told them I had been coughing and that it might effect things, they blew it off and then I was running. Weak legs, coughing and sweating like I had been running for two hours. It had been about four minutes.
I started coughing uncontrollably. They laid me on my side and the doctor kept saying “hold your breath!” I coughed at him and managed to crackle out “I fucking can’t”.
Once I got to my room I spent the next 24 hours coughing non stop. The next morning a nurse finally listened to me about it and they came and looked at me and it was off to SICU. Yep… I was heading back to ICU. This time they got x rays of my lungs thinking I might have a blood clot in my lungs. Why? Because I’m a lucky duck. Turned out I didn’t have a blood clot, but I did have pneumonia. So I spent another 2 or 3 days in the SICU.
During this time I began to actually feel slightly normal. My appetite started coming back, I was able to sit up and read or listen to music if I wanted. I felt a lot better. This is also the point that I started getting a little depressed because I hadn’t heard anything about being released.
After a couple days I was moved back to another room and it was back to sitting and waiting. To make it quick, lot’s of poking and prodding, more tests, more nurses that seemed to not know what the hell was going on in the middle of the night, more telling me my kidneys were still not quite where they should be functionality wise, more vague answers to when I was going home.
Finally on January 9th I was released. The doctor still acted amazed that I had overcome so much. To better illustrate, here is a list of the major things. These weren’t even all at once, just one after the other, not necessarily in the correct order. (the items marked with a red “X” are ones that came close to snuffin’ me out apparently.)
Since being home I’ve been getting better by the day. My appetite is back with a vengeance, I have more energy and I’m getting around well. I’m finally getting the drawing hand back into the fray. Overall things are going very well. I’m still weak and sore from trying to be active after laying in a hospital bed for almost a month. My wrists still hurt from all the needles and such and I’m taking a shit ton of pills for the next month or so. Over all, things are on the up and up.
I have to put a HUGE thank you out there to all of our friends, family and any of you who followed, showed support and just cared. It means a lot. A lot of people sent care packages and cards, thank you so much! Just the words of encouragement and well wishes were more than anybody could ask for!
A huge thank you to everyone I’m working with on something, too! You guys were all very understanding and supportive. I’m happy to call you friends.
I do have to especially thank Corey Flowers for being a champ and driving all that way to collect J from the airport and driving him all the way to the hospital (it was A LOT of driving). It meant a lot and I wish I could have seen you while you were there!
I guess I should say thank you to J Kreska too. He came and was there for my wife while they all dealt with this mess. Then he stayed in that shitty hospital with me the entire time. This kid is so devoted he’s STILL here. Which is pretty great, it’s made getting better more fun.
Obviously, my wife. I know how it feels to go through this a little. It was only a year ago that she was in the hospital and I was the one waiting to hear even the slightest good news. I still don’t think I can begin to comprehend what it was like for her waiting to find out what would happen to me.
She stayed with me and has done everything and taken care of me since getting home. It just seems like soooo much. She’s a great lady and I love her tons.
My daughter, Luna, did a great job handling everything we needed from her and held it together expertly. I hate I missed spending Xmas and New Years with her, but we have many years for that now.
On an ending note, this whole thing forced me to postpone, yet again, my move to Seattle by a couple months. I’m now looking at the end of March. Money is a thing I need to make so I will probably be doing commissions again soon and will probably add new drawings to my online shops. I encourage you to buy things from me. For now, there are still some drawings in my Etsy and Big Cartel shops if you’re interested! (there isn’t much at the moment, fixing that soon)