When my family arrives and gathers around my hospital bed, they are all wearing yellow paper scrubs. I don't really take notice until they bring it up. I am just happy to see them. They tell me that no one is allowed to visit without wearing some kind of protective gear.
Apparently, alcoholism is airborne now. I thought Dr. Prick said that this was all my fault when I "chose" to do this to myself. I now have self-inflicted sickness, and humiliation that has mutated into a contagion.
They say that I either have some kind of infection, or that I am a carrier for something. I doubt it would have anything to do with the staph infection about a year and a half ago. Whatever, I'm really not too concerned because my brain is short circuiting again. I'm really trying to focus and hold a conversation, but its beyond my ability.
I guess I dozed off because I don't remember them leaving.
When I come around its time for the usual vitals check, and blood sample. While the crew is attending to their checklists, I suddenly realize that I have to pee. I don't have the catheter, and my body gives me little heads-up when it comes to expelling waste from my body. Bladder, colon, or esophagus, I have the barest minimum of control.
"Uh, oh. I have to go", I announce.
When they inquire, I tell them number one. "Like, right now", I emphasize.
The nurse is kind, but she doesn't realize the state of emergency I'm in. I don't want to get another catheter.
"Can you hold it for just a couple more minutes? We'll help you out, then."
My answer is no. Too, late. When the pressure is released there is no stopping the flow. I have to stay put, and while the nurses complete their scheduled tasks, my sheets turn from warm and humiliating to cold and disgusting.
Once the staff has spot-cleaned me and put me back into dry sheets, it time to face the music.
"You have to give me another catheter, don't you?" I ask.
"Unfortunately. We'll attach a non-invasive one this time."
Non-invasive? "I'm all ears", I reply.
My maintenance crew tells me that we will be using a device called a condom catheter. It is exactly what it sounds like. It slides over the package, and a hose runs down to the bag on the floor. This contraption is held on with double-sided adhesive, or held on by a jockey-like strap.
However, I am still very sick and I have almost nothing to work with. I stare at the ceiling when I lie on my back. I don't wish for any eye-contact in this moment. The two nurses approach my bed on my left and to my right. There will be no strap, we're going with the adhesive.
The technician on my left pinches me to try to grab hold while my hygienist on the right goes in for the kill. They are struggling more than I would like. The one applying the attachment has to repeatedly detach and reattach to make sure the fit is proper. The adhesive irritates my sensitive skin every time it is peeled off. I feel like there is nothing that can humiliate me anymore.
A party here and a party there.
Drinks to celebrate good times.
Drinks to forget about the bad.
Drinks hanging out with a new girl.
Drinks when it ends.
Drinks because there is big event.
Drinks to kill boredom.
Drinks to deal with the customers at work.
Working to have money for drinks.
And, here I am.
A grown man being handled by two grown women.
All of these thoughts are running through my head, and without notice these could be my last.
I may have tread too far into the woods to get back out.
I can't take it back, and experiencing anything at all right now is a bonus.
I could still be in a coma, or worse.
I will get better. I refuse defeat.
About These Stories
About These Stories