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Jay Lake
Date: 2009-12-03 11:58
Subject: [cancer] Beginning to blog the experience - the Ninja Moment
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, cancer, funny, health, personal
I crawl ever further out from under the Dilaudid-induced haze here as the days go by. Still rocking the painkillers pretty hard, with all the attendant emotional and mental weirdness (which will be documented as my head clears even more). Thought I'd start with what I've come to call "the ninja moment" as my initial attempt to talk about being in the hospital.

The first night out of surgery, Wednesday the 25th, I was in ICU. I have little memory of that now, though I expect I can extract some if I work at it, and discuss everything with shelly_rae (who was there overnight), calendula_witch and so forth. After that, they had me in a bed in the cardiac ward, where I remained on epidural medication until Saturday night, the 28th. At that point my drain had been removed, and the epidural shut off, though not extracted, and I'd switched to oral pain management via Dilaudid pills.

I woke up around 11 pm with no idea where I was, or who I was. Classic soap opera amnesia. I noticed someone sleeping on a banquette near the foot of my bed (shelly_rae, of course, but I didn't realize it right then), and I could hear people outside in the hall. Also, a light was on behind a curtain to my right.

I spent several minutes trying to figure out what this could mean. Was I in a hospital? (The epidural tubes were kind of a giveaway.) Why? Who was this person sleeping near me? I decided I was being held prisoner, and that I would have to find a way out of the room, quickly and quietly. I also decided I had to pee something awful.

Very carefully I slipped out of the hospital bed. Mind you, until that night this had been a two-person operation due to the Foley catheter, chest tube, epidural and IV lines. At this point, I only had the epidural, which is (annoyingly) mid-back, so I managed to slither over the bedrail and onto my feet with a minimum of fuss. The epidural stand was clumsy and heavy to move, but I managed to slink into the bathroom — the lit space behind the curtain — without attracting undue attention.

At that point I urinated about 1/2 liter into the little jug thoughtfully provided there. (I couldn't remember who I was or what I was doing there, but apparently I could remember to pee in the jug.) I'm here to tell you that a person evacuating 500 ml of urine makes a lot of noise for a long time, not the least bit stealthy. My mighty ninja powers did not extend to silencing Niagara. shelly_rae woke up at that and quite reasonably asked what I was doing.

The sound of her voice brought me back to myself, and I was left with a steaming jug in one hand while I trying to explain my big plan to escape from durance vile under her watch. She laughed, and steered me back to my bed.

I'd experience several episodes of confusion (or frankly, drug-addlement), but this was the most structured and elaborate. By the time I got back to bed, I was laughing at myself. Weird stuff, that post-operative environment. More to come, when brainspace and mental acuity allow.

Post A Comment | 23 Comments | | Flag | Link

User: aprilhenry
Date: 2009-12-03 20:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm writing a book where someone experiences fugue amnesia. Your account is fascinating - but I'm glad it didn't last long.

Keep healing!
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User: saoba
Date: 2009-12-03 20:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's nice to know that your instincts for self-preservation are so high even when you're addled.

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Vylar Kaftan
User: vylar_kaftan
Date: 2009-12-03 20:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
*hug* Hope you feel better soon.

I had a minor procedure a while ago. My first act upon waking from twilight sleep was to prove my memories were intact and that I could hold a complete conversation. They were amazed at my alertness. (it's my superpower--I resist all sedation).

Thinking of you.
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User: fjm
Date: 2009-12-03 20:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
So good to have you back here.
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Rhonda Parrish
User: rhondaparrish
Date: 2009-12-03 20:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That amuses me far too much. I snorted. For real. While drinking coffee. Then I coughed. Good times.

Glad you're improving :)
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User: ygolonac
Date: 2009-12-03 20:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And if it wasn't for those darn kids, your plan would have worked!
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International Bon Vivant and Raconteur
User: nick_kaufmann
Date: 2009-12-03 21:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Wow, that's pretty wild! Still keeping good thoughts for a speedy recovery.
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User: ex_truepenn
Date: 2009-12-03 21:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm glad you're doing well enough to blog, for many many reasons. One of which is that I love this story and am glad for the laugh today.
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User: the_blue_fenix
Date: 2009-12-03 21:42 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You are Corwin of Amber, and I claim my five pounds. (rec.arts.sf.written running gag)

Delighted to 'see' you. Sounds like you're bouncing back very very well.

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russ: lyles constant
User: goulo
Date: 2009-12-03 23:05 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:lyles constant
Yeah, this post immediately made me think of the opening scene of the chronicles of Amber!
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Kari Sperring
User: la_marquise_de_
Date: 2009-12-03 22:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Take care.
For some reason, your medication looks like it ought to be pronounced iWelsh. (Dil-eye-did.) Now I'll have to work out what on earth it might mean.
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Twilight: 6
User: twilight2000
Date: 2009-12-03 23:27 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Watching The Prisoner lately?

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kyle cassidy
User: kylecassidy
Date: 2009-12-03 23:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
good thing you didn't attack her with the ninja-jug.

enjoy the drug-addlement. some fools risk jail for that type of confusion.

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Misty Marshall
User: mistymarshall
Date: 2009-12-03 23:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Why do we always get caught with a warm jug in our hand?

Glad you are feeling better. I was highly entertained. Sounds like a story thread somehow.
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markbourne: pogo
User: markbourne
Date: 2009-12-03 23:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh, you and I should trade stories sometime.
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Jennifer Brozek
User: jennifer_brozek
Date: 2009-12-04 00:29 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That's an awesome post surgery story. When I've come out of surgery, I've always just had a hard time remembering anything. I have no short term memory. Though, I do have a good reflex involving grabbing something to deal with my gag reflex. I'm always sick after surgery.
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User: fledgist
Date: 2009-12-04 00:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Glad to see you're coming back to yourself. That's a very novelistic passage, I have to say.

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Peter Hollo
User: frogworth
Date: 2009-12-04 03:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You are Temudjin Oh from the latest Iain (M) Banks novel, and I claim my 5 pounds.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2009-12-04 04:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Heh. I think they had you on better meds than they gave my hubby for his shoulder surgery! As it was, they had to bring me into the recovery room because his BP wouldn't go down until he had me sitting by his side, holding his hand--and then he steadied, and we got him out of there. I didn't have to spend the night--once he saw me, and spent some time with me, all was well.
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User: jaborwhalky
Date: 2009-12-04 04:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I always told you that you where a Ninja Jay.
This just proves it!
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shelly_rae: Interrobang!!??
User: shelly_rae
Date: 2009-12-04 04:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Jay--you cannot escape my watchful eyes, or ears, or whatever. Also you still had the drain when this happened. So you removed that bag from the bed & put it on the IV pole. But you must have been very sneaky about it all.

I'm glad you didn't decide to use your super powers on me.
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2009-12-04 12:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Your awesome powers of Urination are astounding. Epic pee and all. Mighty flows the...um, never mind. (and it's SO GOOD to see you're writing like yourself again).
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