Dec232013

Oh What A Night!

Real estate news coverage is suspended from December 21 through December 31.

Tony’s sense of humor regarding his condition was irrepressible. He could have written in serious and somber tones about waking in the middle of the night in need of immediate medical treatment, but in his own jocular way, he brings this frightening tale to life. He even composed a funny poem to his pain. [Tony put no graphics in this post, so I helped him out.]

Oh What A Night!

By Tony Bliss

I’m not referring to late September back in ’63, because I wasn’t even alive yet. No, I’m referring to this morning, or ‘last night’ by the time I get this posted. I’ve been awake ever since then, so it feels like “this morning” to me. Here’s what happened!

Ok, I would probably characterize this as a “dramatization,” to be honest, so keep that in mind. Also, I wrote the whole thing on my iphone while having a substantial fever. :-)

This morning around 2:30am I woke up suddenly. I thought for a second Houston was experiencing a slight earthquake, because the bed was noticeably shaking.

I was a little slow figuring it out it was an earthquake, and it’s time here to give due praise to the pharmaceutical industry – to paraphrase a Rick James quote from a Dave Chapelle Show skit: “Sleeping pills are a wonderful thing!”

Unfortunately there are implications to waking up before your sleeping pill wears off, so, groggy from my ‘wonderful thing’, my mind slow-motion panicked initially: “Huh…I wonder…this shaking is somebody’s fault. Yessiree, there is fault to be assigned here, and it’s my job to do it! I have to draw a line in the sand, a fault line, and….EARTHQUAKE!”

My mind immediately came awake and started racing to prioritize the few things I’d have time to grab on the way out to safety:

1) New guitar
2) New iPad
3) Deborah
4) Nacho Cheese Doritos

I was pretty sure i could get all those in one load, so I quickly jumped out of bed…only, nothing much happened, except that I continued to shake, rattle, and roll on my side of the bed without any noticeable increase in vertical attitude. Hmm…

I vibrated onto my side and flicked on the weak bedside lamp, and then I saw the problem – I was the only one moving!

The walls were straight and sturdy, the drywall intact. The ceiling didn’t shed a single mote of dust, which in and of itself was noteworthy, because…well let’s just say we’re not staying at The Ritz, and while the hotel staff has routinely gone above and beyond the call of duty, it wouldn’t have been the first mote of dust to cross our lodging path.

Most importantly, Deborah had not moved a muscle. The dee-luxe queen bed we have at the hotel was big enough to absorb my ‘good vibrations’ and not wake her.

Of course, these vibrations weren’t really of the good variety. If Brian Wilson had been a cancer doctor that song would have had a totally different feel! That’s just a guess, of course.

No, what these rather extreme chills and fever meant was that it was time to repair to that local hotbed (fever, hot bed…? I apologize in advance, but my 102 degree fever thinks that’s clever and can’t bring itself to remove it) of medical emergency activity, the MD Anderson EMERGENCY CENTER!**

Yes, medical behavior of that magnitude in a person with CLL is considered life threatening unless IMMEDIATELY treated. So we jumped in our Batmobile so we could achieve the shortest delivery time (our Batmobile being a 2005 Toyota Highlander – the actual Batmobile got really poor gas mileage, and didn’t have heated seats, so we got rid of it) and sped to the EMERGENCY CENTER post haste.

We arrived between 3:30 and 4:00am, sans guitar and Nacho Cheese Doritos (dern!), and were immediately checked in, seated in a completely empty waiting room, and proceeded to wait 15-20 minutes to be seen. Fortunately I was occupied with violent chills, so I was not at all aggravated.

Once we were called back, the usual questioning began. Some of the questions make sense, and some of them seem a little irrelevant:

1) Some people call me the space cowboy, some people call me the gangster of love – but at MDA they refer to you by your Medical Record Number, so that was the first question: “Medical Record Number?” That was easy, next question!

2) “Give me your entire medical history, beginning with Genome Project DNA maps of both your parents, and then continue from conception on.” Er…”

I improvised on the DNA, I confess. “My Dad recently became part pig when he got a pig heart valve replacement. He wanted to be part cow, but his neighbors have been known to “get a little Western” with their branding iron, and he didn’t want to tempt the fates. Then I kind of skipped ahead to the start of my cancer history, and the nurse seemed satisfied.

3) “Are you still taking all the drugs listed on this printout?” I scanned the sheet – “You mean this printout of all the drugs that have been prescribed to me by MDA in the last 4 weeks? This printout that was updated yesterday when we were in the hospital?” “Yes.” “Well…in fact, yes.”

On it went, until we were all good buddies in the EMERGENCY CENTER and we had exchanged phone numbers and already sent this year’s family Christmas cards to each other, and then I got a room in the EMERGENCY CENTER.

From there it became truly routine – temp, blood pressure, pulse oxygen count, take this cup with you when you go to the bathroom, take blood cultures, take X-rays, and alternate between freezing and sweating through your clothes. Lather, rinse, repeat until you finally get admitted to a room in the real hospital, where they poke and prod you every 4 hours for the next week to ensure you’re not currently dead. As of this writing at 10:00am, we’re still in our EMERGENCY CENTER room and awaiting a room upstairs in the real hospital. In other words – business as usual!

Such an adventurous night calls for some sort of commemorative art work, in my opinion, so I have elected to write an homage to all my EMERGENCY CENTER visits in the style of Dr. Seuss. Enjoy…

Lung Infection, Foot Infection, Mouth Infection, Sores
By Tony Bliss

Lung infection, foot infection, mouth infection, sores.
All my visits to ERs have revealed these and more!
Climbing temps and failing strength are pretty much the norm.
I’m renowned through all the land for my projectile vomit form!

The doctors make their rounds and their prognoses they do give.
Despite their ministrations I continue now to live!
If I get better or I get worse, to me it’s all the same.
I’ve got a lawyer for a wife, she’ll find someone to blame!

Have a great day!

**This was written to entertain people, by which I mostly mean to entertain me through a dreary night in the ER. I cant stress enough that the good people at MD Anderson have exhibited nothing but the highest standards of professionalism and quality medical care, and any fun I poke at them is purely fictional. MDA is the BOMB!! :-)