Oh, do I have stories…
When I returned to San Antonio in late 2015, I decided to finally have my colostomy reversed (“a colostomy takedown”).
It was actually scheduled to be done in February 2015, about 4 months after they performed the original procedure, but then I tore up my right knee, had a bad case of gout & couldn’t (didn’t) control my diabetes, so I had to continually postpone reversal surgery.
I finally had it done in late February 2016 at Stone Oak Methodist Hospital in San Antonio by Dr. Mario Alcantara. It turned out to be the first of MANY visits to that facility over the next few years, none of which involving my going there just to visit with an ol’ buddy!
But I did get a Loyal Customer card & enjoy some great discounts in the cafeteria & gift shop!
Apparently, there were some complications during surgery & I was in pretty bad shape when I finally came to in recovery.
I had the takedown surgery on Tuesday morning…finally got rid of that damned bag!!!…and everything seemed to improve as the week went by.
But when Friday rolled around, I started to “feel a little funny”.
No, I wasn’t involved romantically with an extremely-short comedienne.
*waits for everyone to catch up*
It was hard to describe & while I couldn’t put my finger on it, I knew something was wrong.
The doctor & nurses checked my charts, made sure I was getting all my meds (plus the appropriate painkillers), examined me physically.
I was eating well & my kidneys (and related plumbing) were now doing well…after causing some, er, excitement immediately following surgery a few days earlier.
That evening, I had a really-weird dream as I must’ve fallen asleep watching TV (it was a program on ESPN about Indy car racing circuit in Japan).
Very weird, I thought.
The following day, Saturday, was not a good one. I was feeling incredibly anxious & nervous.
I started panicking.
I remember calling Heather who was preparing to head to Austin for the day. I asked her not to leave me alone, but she insisted everything was all right & that I probably just needed some more rest.
As the day passed into night, this whole “strange feeling” really intensified! I clearly remember screaming out for someone to help me, but no one would.
I could swear that I saw/heard two young aides chatting outside my door…but they were giggling & laughing at me!
And then suddenly, I was in this limosuine going to dinner at this Japanese restaurant somewhere in Connecticut. There was a TV in the corner of the restaurant & all the walls were completely covered in these white sheets.
I waited & waited & waited, for what seemed like forever, for someone to come out & serve me some food. There I am, alone in this restaurant, but nothing.
I kept calling out for a waitress…nothing.
Lemme tell ya, this seemed to have gone on for hours & hours on end!
Screaming for someone to help me!
I wasn’t getting my food. Where were the other people in the restaurant? Why doesn’t the waitress help me?
The next thing I knew…
…I woke up in the hospital bed the next morning.
My nurse looked at me “kinda strangely” & asked me if I felt all right.
Then, a short while later, Heather came into my room. It was Sunday morning.
That alone was pretty unusual as she normally would visit in the late afternoon (if she was off from work) or in the evening (after her EMT shift was over).
Then, she, too, asked me if I felt all right.
And then she told me what happened.
The hospital called her at about 2:30 AM & asked her to immediately come up to my room. She had just gotten back home from her trip to Austin & was pretty exhausted, but naturally, she rushed right over!
We lived only ~10 minutes away.
When she arrived on my floor, the nurses & aides were gathered outside my room.
Apparently, I was standing up in my bed, screaming my head off at everyone!
I had already pulled out my IV and some other monitoring devices as well! A few of the surgical staples they used were missing from my belly and I looked like “a complete raging lunatic!!!”
Heather said that the nurses & staff were terrified of me & so afraid to re-enter my room as I had already threatened to kill the entire staff.
That didn’t stop Heather, though.
She came charging right in, yelled at me & told me to lie down & shut the hell up!
And I did.
I don’t remember anything after arriving at the Japanese restaurant!
Apparently, the “walls with the white sheets covering everything” were just my hospital room walls.
That ESPN racing program from Japan I watched the previous evening must’ve somehow triggered the restaurant scene.
No, I don’t know why it supposedly was in Connecticut. And worst of all, I never even got the chance to order as the damned waitress never showed up!!!
I don’t remember anything else…no standing up, no pulling stuff out, no threatening anyone. I do remember screaming for help at one point, but not Heather coming in nor her getting me back under control.
I spent the rest of the day apologizing profusely to anyone & everyone I saw
I was sooooo embarrassed.
The staff sat down & tried to figure out what caused my outburst.
And then Heather found the reason why after she insisted to see my charts & specifically, the meds they had dispensed to me.
Heather had provided them…when I was initially admitted downstairs & then later, to the nurses on the floor…a complete listing of all my medications as well as my medical history.
In fact, the list was there in my file.
But when she compared it to the list the hospital maintained, they noticed one medication listed at the very bottom of the page…but it wasn’t checked off like the others (meaning I wasn’t actually receiving any of it)!
It was my Venlafaxine (Effexor)…the extended-release pill I take daily for depression & to curb panic/anxiety attacks!
I hadn’t received any doses since early Tuesday morning before surgery! And one of the known side effects of early withdrawal are delusional periods & bizarre behavior.
Now I’m sure that if you’ve ever worked with me or seen me “in action” (watching sports, golfing, bowling, playing cards, etc.), you wouldn’t have thought that this (supposedly-)crazy behavior was unusual in any way, shape or form, but apparently…
I have never before pulled out my IV or removed any of my own surgical staples, though I have slept at a Holiday Inn Express on occasion & once, performed an appendectomy on a friend of mine!
Stranger things have happened.
Why, just yesterday…
Thank you, as always, for listening!