the ordeal

Here’s a fuller version of the story.  There’s been a lot going on for me lately, good stress (a reading, a wonderful book party) and bad stress (I don’t think I need to spell that out), plus finals and the confusions of doing something every night and talking to many new guys as a distraction from this tenacious brooding and anger.  On Wednesday, I went to my therapists’, and we talked about how I needed to slow down and take some deep breaths and not be in such a hurry to “solve” everything.  After my appointment I stopped to buy cat food and groceries at the bodega. By the time I got home it must have been after 8… I spent some time e-mailing and cleaning up… I was very keyed up, very wired… and by the time I looked at the clock again, it seemed too late to make dinner… I had some almonds, some oat bran pretzels, and then I took my customary bedtime pills (magnesium, 5htp, progesterone, and a Remeron… a whole dose rather then my usual half because I really needed to unspool, and besides I’d taken a whole one the night before)… and then… sitting on the toilet… I found myself feeling nauseated…and dizzy…. I remember thinking, I’m going to pass out… if I can just get to the bed, I’ll be OK, so I got up, and that’s the last thing I remember

because I didn’t make it to the bed… I came to lying prone next to the bed… there was blood around me… I wondered, did I get my period, after six months? so I went into the bathroom… and looked in the mirror… a gash on my chin like a flap… about two inches wide, and pretty deep, and I started to freak… held a towel to it as compress, and called 911… shaky… somehow managed to get jeans and a sweatshirt on over my slip… and unlock the door… and buzz in the EMTs… they came quickly… they got my coat and a few things… my phone… my wallet… my keys… swaddled me in a sheet… took me in the ambulance to Lutheran Hospital in Sunset Park… went through triage .. interviewed by a woman with amazing tattoos… they asked me what day it was, where I was… I knew… then they brought me to a cubicle in the emergency room… where I lay for almost 24 hours… many doctors came to see me… to ask many questions… over and over again I gave my history… a surgeon came to stitch up my chin…

I could barely sleep with all the monitors beeping and the constant activity outside… I remember telling myself to just pretend I was at some avant garde music experience… the beeping in waves… people’s hearts, doctors’ conferences, busy floor staff conversations, and sick people moaning miserably… I think there was someone with Tourettes… there was nothing to read… not even a magazine… I had no paper or pen to write with… I just lay there until the next round of doctors came by with questions… I had blood under my nails, blood in my hair, blood on my ankles and shins, blood on my slip… they didn’t clean me up… I tried to sleep, must have slept… a little… they brought me a muffin… I had to take tiny pieces of it off and let them moisten in my mouth because I couldn’t chew… so then while Thomas was visiting they brought me some puréed stuff… it tasted like meatloaf & mashed potatoes and candied yams… it was gray and orange… and I was so hungry it was the most delicious thing I’d ever eaten… also the Greek yogurt Thomas brought me… and apple juice… many tests… I mentioned them earlier…

and finally finally the next day they gave me a room, a miserable little room on the cardiac floor… and gave me more and more and more tests… I had to scrub off all the little glue marks from the nodes and tape from the tests and IV bandages… riding about in a stretcher… one transport guy actually tried to pick up on me… I had never looked worse in my life I’ll bet… we were in the elevator… I said are you working the night shift?  he said, just so I could be with you… I gave him my phone number… I must have still been in shock as that is not my normal behavior… the MRIs I treated as an extension of the avant-garde music concert… but I was getting so sore from lying around on that awful bed… the nurses coming in to bark at me… and for some reason they put me on a “liquid” diet… pudding and jello… and I was so bored, and achy, and unclean… I didn’t know if I could take a shower with all those stitches… I tried to wash myself…

I kept hoping they would let me go… and Friday evening Marianne and Jim came over with bags of groceries and a change of clothes… panties!  new panties!… and they entertained me… I sang them The Frozen Logger… my hair matted at the roots with the gel they use for EEGs … and I’d had a cardiogram… seen my heart beating like some undersea creature… and I saw my brain scan!… like beautiful cauliflower florets… oh, I have the most beautiful brain… and the next day, I so hoped SO HOPED they would let me go…  and I started to put up a fight… because I’d been there since Wed. night and it was now SATURDAY…. and finally finally at 4:30… Mitch was visiting… they let me go home… never was my apartment so exquisite, never a bubble bath so adored… I made soup… took possession of my life again…cuddled with Nemo and Dante, and slept in my regal bed…

trying to push out the thoughts of anger and betrayal… that if I had not been so overwrought… so very sad… and trying to fight it… and if I had not been alone here… this would not have happened…

and the fearful thoughts, too… of how much worse it could have been, if, say… I had not come to… or if I had hit my head and got a concussion instead of “merely” a split chin and a jaw fracture… so OK, I can’t eat solid food for a few weeks, but I’m here… my friends are incredible, really incredible…. and I…will… heal.

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