Folsom Prison Blues

OK, so, first off, no update on “The Lion, the Witch, and the Werewolf” this week. I’ve been stuck in the hospital since Tuesday and haven’t gotten around to it. Hopefully I’ll be able to wrap it up by Halloween in some fashion.

Second, the hospital. Fuck this place. The short version is this: They’re treating me for mild rejection, which is not nearly as scary as it sounds. The vast majority of transplant patients get some kind of rejection at some point, so mild and early is kind of the best case scenario. I’m feeling good — and have been — I’m just waiting to get paroled.

That said, seriously, fuck this fucking hospital.

Here’s the shenanigan- and bodily fluid-laden rundown:

Thursday, Oct. 9: Went in for a routine bronchoscopy, wherein they sedated me and stuck a camera down my throat to look around at my lungs and take a couple biopsy samples. That in and of itself went fine, but they were slightly concerned about some excess fluid outside of my lungs. It had been there for a while and they were just kind of hoping it would go away. Since it hadn’t, they decided they would drain it. This involved being admitted overnight and scheduling a chest tube placement the next day. I was not allowed to eat after midnight. This will be important later.

Friday, Oct. 10: Chest tube placement was scheduled for 2 p.m. with The Department That Shall Not Be Named (henceforth: The Dept.). They kept delaying and delaying and I kept getting hungrier and hungrier. Given my issues with keeping on weight (and the fact that I had to fast for the bronch the day before), this was not to be taken lightly. Around 6 p.m., after being told several times someone was en route to taking me down for the procedure, my nurse was told by The Dept. that the whole fucking thing was postponed until after the weekend. Annoyed but not surprised, I ordered dinner and feasted on lukewarm hospital quesadillas. At around 7 p.m. someone from The Dept. showed up in my room in surgical scrubs and started giving me sass for eating and ruining everything. I explained what we were told, he and the nurse had words, and then my doctor was called. She, like myself and the nurse, had had quite enough of The Dept. and sent me home for the weekend. I was to come back on Monday for the chest tube placement.

Monday, Oct. 13: Doctor’s office called and said the procedure was now scheduled for Tuesday and would be outpatient so The Dept. couldn’t ignore me.

Tuesday, Oct. 14: Right side chest tube placement was successful and I was admitted to the hospital to drain out the excess fluid, as well as receive a complimentary three-day round of super-steroids and antibiotics. Standard procedure and something I was prepared for.

Wednesday, Oct. 15: Waiting and draining. Doc said things were looking good, with a Thursday or Friday discharge likely. Hot damn.

Thursday, Oct. 16: Waiting and draining. Doc said, oh, by the way, there’s some more fluid on the left side too. They thought it would drain out the right side, but it didn’t, so they were now recommending a second tube. Since it was a smaller amount, they posited that it could just be sucked up with a giant needle (not the technical description). This, however, would be up to The Dept.

Friday, Oct. 17: Waiting and draining. Doc said the giant needle option was looking good, and they might even pull the other tube. I could be home that night. I go down to The Dept. They have no intention of doing the giant needle and a second chest tube is placed on the left side. I’m moved back to my room to drain overnight. I am told Saturday discharge is imminent.

Saturday, Oct. 18: Waiting and draining and suffering from diarrhea and tremors. Thanks, IV antibiotics and steroids! Doc came in and said things looked good. He just needed to get The Dept. to come up, give the OK, and pull the tubes. I would be leaving soon. The Dept. came in and said, no, not a chance in hell. You still got fluid, we ain’t pulling anything. I settled back in for another night.

Sunday, Oct. 19: Waiting and draining and pooping. Tremors have mostly stopped, as have the IV steroids. Doc came in and said I drained too much on Saturday so now I can’t leave. He immediately left. This was not up for debate or explanation apparently. An hour late The Dept. came in and said they could totally pull the tubes, everything was fine. He even showed me the x-ray and the lack of fluid therein. Sadly, though, he also explained this was not his call and if Doc said I have to stay, I have to stay.

So here I am. Sore and bruised from steroids and IVs and constant injections of heparin and insulin, with tubes flailing out of my sides like an impotent Doctor Octopus. I no longer have any idea what metric they’re using to quantify when or if I can leave, and obviously I don’t know how to help that goal.

Honestly, it wouldn’t bother me if they’d just give me a straight God damn answer. As it is, after being wrong for a week, no one’s saying anything at all anymore. So I don’t know. I think I’m leaving tomorrow — the x-ray is clear, the fluids draining out of me seem to be in the appropriate amounts — but who the fuck knows.