Thursday, May 24, 2012

32- How much?

Autumn 2011


In Charleston, South Carolina, we do not have basements.  Much of today's peninsula use to be marsh.  Yet, somehow this particular hospital room feels subterranean.  The doctor is using what might be the longest needle in his arsenal to suction displaced fluid out of my corporation of guts.  The nurse is still in action, while she is sliding the cold ultrasound wand on my skin.  The medical CGI monitor is ever-changing with scenes of creepiness.

Two liter sized beakers are already filled, and the third isn't far behind.  As the procedure goes on, I have to roll from side to side more frequently.  All the while, the doctor is manipulating the wand that sucks up the interstitial ponds.  

The third beaker is full, and the stream doesn't slow at all.  Finally, when the glass is about 3/4s full, it comes to a squeaky halt.  "Oh, oh", the doctor says.
I wish he would stop saying that when I ask, "What?  What, now?"
He asks the nurse to hold the vacuum, and places eight fingertips on my side.
"This is going to be uncomfortable.  Just a little pressure, OK"?

He pushes his fingers into my gut hard.  The pain is nearly unbearable, but fluid shoots out, again.
Now, he rolls me over, all of my intestines shift, and mashes in my pliable mass.  
 "OK.  I think we can get some more.  We'll start one more bottle", he tells the nurse.

This is really not going to be pleasant at all.  The nurse starts the fourth container, and the doctor begins to massage my potbelly like pizza dough.  He is kneading my midriff with intent.  Finally, he calls it off.
 We're finished. 

While cleaning off my tummy, they sit me upright.  Immediately, I become light headed, and I fall right back on the mattress.  This will do just fine.  The earth was moving on me, just then.  The doctor counts "Three and a half liters.  I bet you feel better.

"Its all relative, doc.  Thank you, though."

The nurse finishes me up, and calls a ride for me.  A very young black man arrives with a smile.  I think how he looks like he might be fit enough for sports, but I can't tell how tall he is from my perspective.  He could be five-six for all I know.  Whatever, he can drive a gurney, and listen to me ramble.

When we return to my room it looks different to me again.  I am like a dog that doesn't know if her owner has been gone for a minute or for a full day.  The difference however, is that I am not excited.  I am just confused again.

The nurses get me settled back down into bed, and tell me dinner will be in 45 minutes.  Great news, but I have made a mistake.  I closed my eyes for a "second", and I missed dinner.  Again.  When I rustle between the sheets to try to get comfortable, I notice the sheet is wet.

"Sorry, but I think I peed in my bed again", I say to my assistant in shame.  When she comes to check it out, we both notice that its not just the sheet that's wet.  The mattress is pretty well soaked, too.  It is all on the side of the bed, and not underneath my rear.

I rub my side, and it is wet, too.  I try to wipe off the mess, and my fingers hook a piece of skin leaking more water.  Its the extra holes. The misdirected pokes from that gigantic needle that didn't make the grade are responsible for this. They split and formed together to make one big hole.  Its about an inch long slit.  I push on it, and that confirms my water source.

Not a day goes by without me seeing something new.  Things that I would not have ever thought about happening to me.  Well, at least its a clean cut, and its draining fluid.

Best of all, I know that its not a mind trick.
This one is real.




In the photo is a three and a half liter
mixture of water and beer.  Just to get a visual.
As late as October, I would be drinking that beer, 
not making a project with household items.


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