Back in December I experienced an unpleasant ordeal after I was blindsided by C. diff while traveling to the University of Iowa for follow up tests ten weeks after the second of my two stem cell transplants. But as those close to me know, there was a comical edge to my experience. Yesterday I discovered the transcript of a post I’d started, highlighting my crazy experience in Iowa City. Here’s an inside look at my “out of my clothes” experience.
Or should I say, “Out of my mind?” Here’s a look back at the unvarnished, hard to believe tale.
I was scheduled to start tests Thursday morning, but I passed out on my connecting flight. I was taken from the gate by wheelchair. Somehow I convinced the helpful aid to take me to the rental car counter; he even fetched and warmed up my rental car. Somehow, someway I made the 18 mile drive from Cedar Rapids to my hotel, located two miles from the University of Iowa. I pulled in and promptly feel asleep in front of the Heartland Inn for almost two hours.
No one came out to check on me. I was so sick I could barely move.
Eventually I was able to drag myself inside to check in. I stumbled to my room and fell backwards onto the bed. The door to the room was open. The car was parked askew out front. No luggage, there I slept, disturbed only by non-stop diarrhea. Since my meds were in the car, there was no relief in site. That’s unfortunate. By the time I finally came to the next morning, it was already past time for my first test; a bone marrow biopsy. I didn’t feel well enough to undergo that and a PET scan anyway. I had no choice but dump all of my clothes into the bathtub. Pants, shirt, socks and undies. I liked those slacks…
I’m not sure what they did with them. Burn ’em? All I know is I locked the door and they were gone six days later after a prolonged hospital stay. No tip is big enough for housekeeping that day!
Kidding aside, this left me with a dilemma. All I was left with was the “CureMyeloma” T shirt from CrowdCare Foundation, my business shoes and a heavy black coat that was just long enough to drop down below my waist. Remember, all of my clothes were still in the rental car.
I was still pretty foggy, but I came up with a plan. I’d sneak out the side door, get into the car, drive around the corner to a quiet spot along the treeline and put on some pants.
Great plan. Except I was so weak, I couldn’t free my bag that was wedged in the back seat.
I was left with nothing else to do but drive to the emergency room. I didn’t take the shuttle because, well, I wasn’t wearing pants. And I was sure I’d be admitted, so I wanted my bag nearby. You know, the one that was wedged closed.
Sick or not, even I had to smile. Missing pants is one thing. But no undies?
I gazed back at the wedged bag, hiked my coat down as far as it would go and carefully made my way across the emergency room parking lot.
It was cold and overcast. I can only imagine what the intake nurse was thinking as I weaved along a groggy, serpentine path sideways, toward the double sliding doors. Fortunately, the coat was just long enough to cover things–I think. Honestly, I didn’t care.
A male nurse tried to grab me and check me in right away. Instead, I stumbled away toward a bathroom; when you’ve got to go you’ve got to go, junk hanging out or not!
When I arrived there was a woman and her son waiting 20 feet away along the windows. Funny, I don’t think they were there when I emerged from the rest room. I think I would have hustled out of there, too.
Having capitulated,the intake nurse checked me in right away; no waiting. They opened the door and in I went. Who can blame them? Would you want me sitting in one of your waiting room chairs?
Lord knows I wish I had pictures. The best I can do is share a picture of my infamous black coat:
Based on kidding among the staff, apparently my coat didn’t cover as much of my behind as I hoped. Days later I learned that the story of my now legendary arrival had made it up to the 7th floor BMT Unit. A snickering BMT team greeted me two days later after I was discharged from intensive care.
Why intensive care? I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was so dehydrated that my resting heart rate was over 150. And the diarrhea was nonstop.
Posted on December 11 2015 by Pat Killingsworth | 1,727 views
I had never stayed in the ICU before. Did you know that there aren’t any bathrooms? I asked why and was told most patients aren’t able to get up and go. All I had was a toilet sitting along the wall in the middle of the room. Despite being hooked up to a dozen different electrodes, bells and whistles, I needed to get up and go every 30 or 40 minutes.
No Imodium until a C. diff test could come back. It did the next morning: positive. So I was stuck (sometimes literally) to the toilet.
Once my resting heart rate dropped down and I was hydrated enough, they wheeled me upstairs. I stayed in the BMT unit for three days until I was strong enough to get to the tests I had originally flown in to take.
They decided to skip the bone marrow biopsy. I would have done the same. No fun using a corkscrew on a guy that can shoot back from his rear end!
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat