Saturday, August 22, 2009

Reality Sets in...

The post comatose KrippledWarrior, when we last left him, was racing toward recovery. But there were a few dramatic details which were overlooked. During the unconcious state, doctors and staff were increasingly more concerned over my situation. Gag-reflex, the last reflex to show my automatic response was still intact, was gone. The doctors called my family to advise them "If you want to see him, one last time, you need to get here now." Sort of anti-climatic after yesterday's post. But essential knowledge for the future. Family and clergy, some both in one, from all over, were in attendance. Prayer warriors one and all.
Occasionally when my sister sat by my bed, a nurse would say or do something suggesting I might not survive, she would raise my unresponsive hand and move my digits into a biker's "one finger salute." And then giggle to me that one day I would be able to do it for my self. Thank you Sis. You know me well. The water used to raise my blood-pressure, had swelled my body to slightly over 300lbs. The skin on my hands and arms burst under the pressure. But rather than blood, water flowed. One of my beloved pastors pleaded out-loud "Let him have some dignity and relief Lord."
My sister-in-law and her husband, both wonderful, loving, Christians, left their home in the middle of the night to join me in my time of need. After arriving, they began to sing praise songs, and the monitors responded favorably. The more they sang to God's grace and love, The higher my blood-pressure would go. Finally, on my 54th birthday, after all the doctors had given up hope, I opened my eyes. The doctors said "it was an unconscious reflex, common in coma cases" (I was now a case, no longer a person). My wife reassured them I had opened my eyes when she told me to. And then I would look from side to side at the family around me.
I had been hooked to a respirator for so long, the dry air had chapped my mouth and lips to parchment (Why don't hospitals use Chapstick?!?). I had been in the grave and looked it. Bloated, swollen, disfigured and hideous. My normally angelic countenance, was grossly twisted and scarred. But I was back. I was completely paralyzed, with no memories of the incident. But I was back. The Lord had more for me to do in this world and did not call me home. My wife asked me if I was disappointed to not be in heaven. But never waited for an answer. Then told me how glad she was to have me back. At that point in time, I had no idea what lay ahead. She had maintained a round the clock vigil at my bedside from day one. Holding my hand and asking God to spare me. She stood this watch mostly alone, but often accompanied by my children. I cannot imagine their anguish. It must have taken the strength of Hercules and the patience of Job. A few years earlier, I had avoided my mother's deathbed, knowing I would have been of no consolation to anyone. Especially my mother. For this very reason, I personally discussed this with my mother a month before she died. The cancer that had taken her, had ravaged her so badly before hand, that it hurt my heart to look at this woman who had always been so strong and beautiful. My loving, faithful, beautiful, caring, wonderful wife and children have stuck by me like glue. I love them and will forever be in their debt. To this very day my lovely best friend, who is also my wife and sole-mate, continues her guard duty, out of love, by my side.
After leaving ICU to a lesser level ward, I was allowed visitors who were not family or clergy. I could hear the HARLEYS in the parking lot. And my room was always filled by leather clad brothers, and business suited friends, family and neighbors. Then one day Mary, head of the HR department where I had worked for 10years showed up with a giant poster and a pile of GET-WELL cards. She unrolled and hung the poster on the wall of my private room. It was 3ft tall and 5ft wide, and every inch was covered in prayers and well wishes written by my former coworkers. Nurses and doctors would stop in mid-sentence to stare at it in wide eyed wonder. And whenever I felt down, someone (usually my wife) would begin reading the inscriptions to me. The sentiments would bring tears to my eyes but my heart would soar.
Along with all the visitors, a continuous parade of doctors marched through my room. The titles they carried were very impressive. And I'm not easily impressed. But the things they chanted at me were a droning litany of medical terms, one more complicated than the last. I had already heard what I wanted to hear from an orthopedic surgeon. When Dr. "S" asked me "Do you have any questions?" I said "Yes. Will I be able to ride a motorcycle again?" (That was important because it was the only thing that could be taken from me. Not my family or my friends or my Faith in God's love). He smiled and said "Yes."
To tell the truth I did not know why I was seeing an orthopedic surgeon. Was it part of the elaborate web of dreams I encountered while riding the Dragon's Tail (Morphine)? Or was it something more serious? In the middle of this medical procession, another Doctor appeared. This one seemed real. She was physically attractive, professional and alarmingly direct. She was a neurologist, and her news was not encouraging. During my coma, my muscles had, for lack of a better term, began to die. The copious quantities of saline injected had short circuited my nerve system, and the "strokes" had caused an undetermined amount of damage. Short story "I was now a quadriplegic and I might never recover!" BANG! a blow to the head delivered off the top ropes, "Rick Flaire Style."
Not even my imagination could have come up with a shock like that.
Cue Rod Serling. "You have just crossed into the TWILIGHT ZONE."
But Doctor "S" said I would "ride a motorcycle again." I protested. She responded in typical T-Zone fashion; "Who is Doctor 'S'?" (I use initials and first names to protect IDentitys.)
"He's my ortho surgeon" I responded. And her retort was that Dr."S" was not aware of the damage done to my nerves or muscles, and that it was unfortunate that he had told me that.
Which was the dream and which was the nightmare? Had my greatest fear in life tracked me down and thrown itself headlong into my reality? Or was this a paranoid delusion brought on by the Dragon's tail crashing against my skull?
Next... More tales from an alternate reality.


AmyK. said...

I love your sister helping you give the med staff the finger...classic!

Now I am mad at dare he not read your chart fully before giving you info?????

I await the next chapter, KW. Your life, as Blasé says, is a roller coaster. And once again, thank you for write in such a "matter of fact" way about such intense situations but the emotion is there. I feel it.

Blasé said...

I agree with whatever Amy K had to say...mainly because she is one Hot Teacher!

Kelly Combs said...

You are an excellent story teller. Waiting for the next installment.