If you got bad news, you wanna kick them blues; morphine..or morphine is bueno bueno..

Actual conversation at Baptist Hospital between my wife and the charge nurse after i was moved from ICU* to a regular room:

Wife: My husband is in 7625 …could he have a cup of water?

Nurse: He’s not there yet.

Wife: yes, they brought him down a few minutes ago

Nurse: no, he’s not there yet.

I had been there for over 1/2 hour at this point.

Needless to say, they also forgot my lunch, which in retrospect was probably a blessing. I eventually got a snack at 3:30, three and 1/2 hours after I was moved to the room. Within minutes after the remains of the snack were cleared, supper was delivered. Is there some late night infomercial that features a device that positively drains any possible taste remaining from over-cooked broccoli? I’m pretty sure that Baptist Hospital got a really good deal on said device.

*Oh yeah, I guess I’ve been blessed with a stomach lining that enjoys the holi-ness of the occasional ulcer. I was feeling less than chipper last Saturday, loitering around even more than usual on a couch near the new TV. As long as I just laid there, equilibrium was at least a distant cousin. At one point after an extended phone conversation, I got up to go to the bathroom and realized that something was really wrong. You really do see star-like apparitions when you are about to black out! I achieved a familiar prone position on the hardwood floor and asked my wife to call for an ambulance. Sadly, I’ve been in such a state before and realized fairly quickly that blood was not circulating normally through the old framework, and instead had chosen a small aperture to spill willy-nilly into passages not intended for circulation.

I made it to the hospital where the nice folks filled me back up with blood and stuck a camera downward (believe me, the downward spiral is much preferable to the upward method). A small geyser was quickly noted and patched. Ironically for the next 24 hours much blood was taken back for testing, usually moments after I had fallen asleep. A stay in the hospital is not for anyone who really needs rest.

I’m also convinced that the insurance companies have conspired with the chefs behind the hospital ‘cuisine’ in the hopes that said foodstuff would encourage the patient to quickly vacate the premises in hopes for victuals with more than a passing acquaintance with a spice or even taste. At one point a breakfast tray contained a bowl of gruel that even David Copperfield would have refused.

My stomach really wasn’t that happy about very much – cuisine, unwanted apertures and general invasion. The pain became quite intense at times and I was offered morphine as a palliative. Not one to turn down my host’s offerings, I nodded intensely and before you could say Pacman Jones, the warmth of the blessed Code3 pharmaceutical was channeling through the bloodstream so recently off-course. I don’t know how most people react to morphine, but I saw things. I saw real food. I saw the Knucklehead with a side of ribs. I saw more nurses than actually exist in Baptist Hospital. I saw Drew Barrymore and I did wonder what she was doing there. And cruelly, I saw my daughter with her best friend sitting at the foot of my bed. They seemed as real as the heart monitor wires attached to various parts of my body. I actually conversed with them, even knowing that it was pretty amazing that Erin had actually made it all the way from Peru.

It was both a wonderful and mean Father’s Day trick of the drug. I never actually teared up from all the pain and the frustration of my utter helplessness, but I can tell you that I did cry when I realized she wasn’t there. But, I can also tell you that my cell phone rang late Sunday afternoon and miraculously enough I did hear her voice, and it wasn’t an illusion. The heart monitor wires were singing.

Visits from good friends and number one son were also quite the curative.

After two and 1/2 days of blood re-fueling and blood-letting with occasional side-trips on morphine, I was sent home, a weak, but blood-levelled man. I ‘get’ to sit around for a day or so here at home recovering. The blessed taste of real food and the unbelievably good fortune of being married to the most wonderful woman I’ve ever known and three kids I love more than life itself all pushes up against that tendency for me to feel sorry for myself and my stupid stomach lining. I’m luckier than I ever deserved.



Filed under acute discomfort, food, friends and family, poor poor me

42 responses to “If you got bad news, you wanna kick them blues; morphine..or morphine is bueno bueno..

  1. Pingback: Nashville is Talking » Back In The Saddle

  2. Good to hear you’re doing better.

  3. Well said – I’m a blessed man to know you and that family photo up top says it all. Glad to have you back home.

  4. a person sure has it rough when the body starts working in ways they were not meant to work.

    glad you are on the mend.

  5. Glad you’re home, keep taking good care of yourself!

  6. yay! I’m glad you’re home!

  7. I’m so glad you’re okay!

  8. We’re all lucky you’re back home to share this story of love and challenge. So happy you’re better.

  9. OK, you’ve convinced me. I was going to boycott the Red Cross for awhile for screwing up and giving me that false positive syph test last year and then still barring me for a year after I gave them the clean retest results. But once I’m eligible again on August 3, I’m going to head back that day and lay down a pint in reserve for you, buddy!

    I hope you never need it. Stay well.

  10. I am SO glad you are better.

    …and you’re sure you don’t want me to kick some appropriate Baptist Hospital ass??? 🙂

    Oh, and how unfortunate that you only had male nurses…no sponge bath for you!

  11. The things some people will do for a little attention. Sheesh.

    Glad you’re better, Pally.

  12. Hurray! I’m so glad you’re feeling better. Let us know if you need anything.

  13. “I saw the Knucklehead with a side of ribs. I saw more nurses than actually exist in Baptist Hospital.”

    I’m picturing me giving you the ribs and chatting up one or two of the faux nurses. I don’t know if they were hot in your delusion, but they are in mine.

  14. Mine too.

    Glad you’re feelin better..

  15. Glad you’re home and feeling better. I’m sending good vibes from Memphis.

  16. Whew! We was worried! Glad to hear you’re on the mend and what a beautiful tribute to your family!

  17. nm

    Glad you’re doing better.

  18. Thinking of you and your poor, unfortunate stomach lining. Be well…

  19. I’m just glad you’re safe, home, and better. That scared me half to death when I learned what happened and my world is a LOT better place knowing you are home and okay, my friend. Hope you keep improving and feeling better as the week goes on.

  20. Glad you’re home and well.


  21. Glad to hear you’re doing better, man.

    I’ll keep you on the prayer list for the next couple of days.

    If there’s anything you need, please let me know.

  22. Yay!!!!
    John I’m so glad you are home.
    I thought my sis was making copies in my hospital room when I was on morphine after the Ednaectomy. She was just moving the tray.
    Good times (Not.)
    Sending love from Hooterville.

  23. You’re a good man, Charlie Brown.

    Glad you’re better.

  24. saraclark

    I am glad that you are feeling better. What a scare! You seemed fine on Thursday. Wait until you get your first colon polyp!

    Get Well Soon!

  25. Clearly, you are not ingesting enough tequila or tamales. I’ll be over later.

  26. Germs are afraid to get around Mack for fear they will die from tequila exposure.

  27. I have never liked my own ulcer as much as I do now, because at least it does not bleed. It does, however, limit my diet frequently.

    Glad you’re back home and online.

  28. Glad you’re back. The ‘hood wasn’t the same without you.

  29. I was worried about you! So glad you’re home.

  30. Donna Locke

    May you have easy cruisin’ ahead.

  31. Mr. Mack’s comments are fun. Tamales and Tequila!
    How can one lose?

  32. Glad you are feeling better!!

  33. Glad you are better and out of the hospital! Sounds like you had quite an adventure.

  34. I don’t care how great this experience was as fodder for the blog (and this WAS a beautiful post), I need you to never do it again.

  35. This was the most fabulous writing about stomach ulcers ever. But I agree with Holly: May you never need to post on this topic again.

    Welcome home!!

  36. Pingback: Notes from the Black Hole of the Blogosphere « The Lynnster Zone

  37. Glad you’re home. Is it wrong that I secretly like hospital food? 🙂

  38. So sorry to hear of your illness. But it’s good to hear the last sentence of your post 🙂 Good family is truly a blessing. Love them with all your heart, as I am sure you do. Peace.

  39. Pingback: Things Change « Newscoma

  40. Pingback: If I Were Queen of Bloggyland… « GingerSnaps

  41. Well, I cant agree more.

  42. Lynn Lala

    Know this is way late but just came across your blog.
    I had exactly what you had but my doc finally had enough of my losing blood. Especially when the last time was in Nigeria (there on an oil project). Got my on a Lear jet to Belgium where I ate mashed potatoes for a month while stomach healed. Then to states (New Orleans) where Dr Charlie Brown took out my entire stomach and fashioned me a new one he calls a pouch. No end of problems however. Anyway, morphine did to me what it did to you. It helped, but wow!!! Let me know how you are coming along. Regards, Lynn

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