Being Stuck in the Hospital
my first weekend of the New Year was spent in the hospital. just another chapter in the story of "I Don't Know What's Wrong With My Lungs." i have asthma, but lately, it's been out of control. last week was pretty bad. i decided enough was enough, and checked myself into CMC, in Scranton.
i arrived on Friday afternoon, around 1 o'clock. i won't relate every thing i witnessed; all i can say is, you shoulda been there. it was almost like being back in NYC, and watching the drama unfold in big-city ERs. two obese women fighting over a man. some guy looking for the girlfriend he just beat up, to stop her from telling the police he beat her, by beating her up. some drunk guy, trying out for the National Long Distance Urinating Team, trying to pee on hospital security from his room while cuffed to a bed. two of Scranton's finest tackling some drugged out football player. all this, with an unarmed security team, and a conveniently placed "No Guns" sign for our benefit.
i was finally admitted, and was taken to a room upstairs, around 11:30 pm. i settled in, put on the hospital jammies, slipped the 1911 under the pillow, and a pocket folder, a Gerber (i'm unsure of the model), on the nightstand beside me. i closed the door, and balanced an empty can of Pepsi on the door latch, to wake me if someone entered the room.
the next day was pretty uneventful. i sat around in a bed, breathing in endless amounts of vaporized albuterol and ipratropium, steroids being fed through an IV, while entertaining the parade of women in scrubs who made their way to my room to check my pulse, look in my ears, and listen to my lung function. straight pimpin'.
albuterol does have a tendency to make me irritable, in high doses. spending the weekend in a hospital does nothing to improve that. i knew i was in a bad way when i found myself snapping at a reasonably attractive young woman from food services.
"hi! how are you?"
"i'm here, aren't i?"
i instantly felt like a huge jerk. she looked up at me, and smiled anyway, but it was one of those pitying smiles. i hate pitying smiles. i looked away, out of the window, and let her collect my dishes from lunch.
i decided to take a walk, in an attempt to find something unhealthy to eat. put my pants on, a t shirt on, and my sweater on. put the 1911 in my waistband, Mexican style. i've always wondered where that phrase came from. i've never seen a Mexican with a gun. is that how they do it down there? i think i'm going to start calling it Plaxico-style.
later on that evening, a younger nurse came by to give me another steroid treatment. she commented on my tattoos, asking me where i got them, then asked about this accent i supposedly have. "what borough are you from?"
"i knew it! what part?"
"get out! i'm from Castle Hill!"
we spoke for nearly 30 minutes, about moving from NYC to Scranton, the similarity in accents, tattoos, and crime. another nurse came looking for her, and noticed the folder sitting on the night stand.
"oh, wow, that's a big knife."
"uh, it's just a 4" blade."
"uh, can you put that in the drawer there? just to be safe?"
i looked at the other nurse, who was giving her the same mental facepalm that i was. "sure," i said. "for safety."
an hour later, she returned with security. "we're just gonna take that, to be safe. you can get it back when you leave."
"whatever." i still had my EDC knife, a Spyderco Chinook II, in my waistband, and my extra special secret 1911 under the pillow.
as they turned to leave, i called after them. "oh, for safety, can i have a security guard posted outside my room?"
"you know, for safety. there's no lock on the door, and people can just wander around up here."
they both gave me a puzzled look, and walked away.
Sunday morning, my doctor came in to yell at me. he's always yelling at me, for various reasons: i don't eat enough, i eat too much, why don't i ever see you but once a year, i don't care if you're not insured, if you're sick you need to come in! he decided i was healthy enough to go home, finally, and wrote me a billion presriptions i'll never fill out, because i'm broke.
i called for a ride, got dressed, and went to go collect my knife. the security guard on duty brought it out to me, and a double layered plastic bag, with my name and phone # written on it. "these bags are thick, it might be a pain in the ass to open," he warned.
"no problem." i opened up the Spydie, and sliced the bag open. the security guard stood there, slightly surprised.
"can i ask a question?"
"if some guy walked in here, with a machete, or a baseball bat, and started to swing it at people, what are you supposed to do?"
"call the police!"
"and what are we supposed to do?"
"yeah, the people who aren't security guards. people like me."
"i guess, just do what you gotta do."
"hmm." i said nothing else, except to thank him, and walked out of the door. i looked back at the sign on the entrance, and shook my head. i guess doing what i gotta do doesn't involve defending myself. it pissed me off just a little.
normally, those signs don't perturb me in the slightest, because i ignore them, and conceal my dirty little heart away. this time, it irritated me, and not because of the albuterol. there i was, sick, tired, and not at 100% physically. in fact, it's safe to say that if you're hospitalized, you're more vulnerable than normal. hospitals, it seems to me now, are buildings full of victims, waiting to happen.
not me, man. not me.