Friday, July 25, 2008

True Story

Here's a wonderful story for you all to enjoy. True story.

Our back yard is carved out of the side of a hill and held together by railroad ties. Above the wooden wall are some huge bushes that require no maintenance or watering. Big green bushes that encounter some sort of growth spurt during the summer months. Two of these bushes kind of died. I say 'kind of' because only half turned brown and died while the other half is still green and spurting like the others.

Now stay with me folks. Here's where the fun starts. One of these half-dead (dare I say zombie bush?) tilted itself over and was hanging by its roots over the railroad ties and over my lawn below. I decided that I would just go up there and put it back in its place and attach it to some tree with rope. Since I have no rope I took a movers' roll of plastic wrap and twisted it into a rope. That's because I'm McGyver.

So all was good and the bush was sitting back in place with it's roots still partially intact. I dusted myself off and went on to grill some pork loin rib racks for dinner. Since this is a slow cook on indirect heat it takes about 2 hours to be ready. So I had time to kill. But that's when everything went horribly wrong.

Little did I know, that whatever half-killed the bush was going to half-kill me too. About an hour after setting the damn bush in place I started itching. Badly. First my arms. Then my legs. Then my head. Then all over.

I thought it was just my head messing with me since I did get bit by some small bug and that tends to make me itch all over. You know the feeling. Like when an ant walks on you and then you think thousands of ants are crawling all over your skin. Right? It's usually all in my head. But this time it was really bad. I decided to go take a quick shower to try to sooth my skin and rinse off anything that might be on me. Bad idea. Apparently, taking a shower opens up your pores and makes it easier for whatever it is that was on me to go everywhere.

I got out of the shower and looked in the mirror. I guess it's kind of startling to look like a leper. I had a rash on about 75% of my body. Neck, armpits, belly, groin, thighs. Nice red rash with lots of bumps. I had already told Cynthia to head over to the pharmacy and get me some Benadryl, so I called her up and told her I was breaking out in hives. By the time she got home, my lower lip was swollen and my face was all red. My forearms were twice their normal size from all those bumps and I was tingling all over.

After a short discussion I agreed to head to the hospital. My main reason for not wanting to go was that my ribs would be ready in half an hour. A man has to have his priorities straight, you know? As soon as I got to the ER and went through triage the nurse took me to my room and told me to take off my shirt.

After seeing my body I also showed him my pelvis and that's when he kind of freaked out. He told me to take my pants off, put on the robe and get in bed. He started an IV, put me on 100% oxygen since I was starting to feel my throat swell up and rushed off to get the doctor. They determined that I needed a Benadryl IV (on top of what I already took at home) as well as some steroids. The last option was to shoot me up with adrenaline, but since there are a lot of side effects (including small ones like possible cardiac arrest) we decided that was only a last resort.

The stuff worked and I was starting to feel a little drowsy and a lot better. I watched some crap on TV as I had to wait a couple of hours to see how I progress. About an hour into it my IV arm started to hurt. And hurt. And hurt more. Until I couldn't stand it and called the nurse. Who didn't come over immediately. So I called again. On the third try a big black woman showed up, saw me writhing in pain, took one look at my bicep and saw that it was all swollen up. As if someone had shoved a small apple under my skin. Seems like the IV decided to send all the saline into my arm instead of into my vain. Yeah. Ouch.

She immediately took out the IV and got another nurse to put some heat packs on my throbbing bicep. At this point the pain was so bad I was getting restless and HAD to go to the bathroom. Of course, being the father of a three year old and being recently pumped with medication and steroids all I could say was that I had to go poop. Yeah, a grown man asking to go poop. Brilliant.

The nurse was puncturing holes in my other arm to try to get the IV going again and this just added to my aggravation and pain. I told her that if she didn't want to have to clean the bed she better help me up and point me to the toilet. I got up and she came over to tie my robe and the next thing I know I was on the floor with about 4 nurses around me. Seems like I started to pass out and the nurse just slid me down her leg onto the floor instead of letting me collapse like an imploding Vegas hotel on New Year's Eve.

I was totally out of it and starting to sweat profusely. They brought a bunch of towels to dry me off and they were immediately soaked. Then they brought some cold towels too and I started to feel a little better. Luckily enough, I didn't poop my pants during all this. So my male nurse came over with a wheelchair to take me one door over to the toilet. I now totally understand how to use a handicapped toilet. Those bars on the sides are priceless.

I got back in bed, got a new IV set and watched 'Good Will Hunting' for a couple of hours until they were ready to discharge me. At first they did not agree to let me drive myself home, but eventually they came around and said that if I wait long enough and show the nurse that I can walk around the ER on my own, they would consider it.

My rash gone, my head clear and fully alert I left the hospital at around 1:30am. I got home just fine. My yummy ribs had already been put away for another occasion (lunch today?) and I was ready for bed. I fell asleep in a second and that's the end of the story.

Lessons learned?
1) Gardening is tough stuff. Leave it to the pros. I was going to trim those bushes this weekend but now that plan is out the window.
2) Don't put your health at risk just because you have half an hour before the delicious ribs you cooked for so long are going to be ready.
3) Don't ever watch 'The Girls Next Door' if you want to keep being a little bit optimistic about the direction the human race is heading.


Fuel55 said...

At least you lived. And were reminded of some great lines for the kids in later years.

Miriam said...

I'm curious...did they ever find out what caused the allergic reaction? Insects? Poisonous plant? Something in the soil?

Abba-Dad said...

Well, the doctor didn't even try to diagnose it. In fact, we now think I was bitten by some bug (spider) since my big toe has these three big puss-filled bumps. Fun times!

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