Monday, September 10, 2018

Slow Recovery

Slowly I move forward toward the sunlit uplands people walk and play and eat and drink with a second thought. For the time being I am a mass of chemicals and proportions and numbers my blood oxydation is fine without tubes now. Physical Therapy has me sitting up two hours a day. A team of dedicated nurses wipe my bottom and inspect my wet stools (“No blood! “Fabiola shouted triumphantly as though I’d laid an egg). I am no longer shy of exposing my testicles for cleaning to a pair of unerotic cheerful cleaning hands.  “Swelling has gone down Mr Michael!” announces Maria like the cheerleader she should be. 

She likes to shave but we have to send to the OR got the blades as there are none in intensive care. My wife is not simply permitted to go out and buy blades. They have to be approved. Maria worried I would like cut of the shave. I was happy to have clean sheets and clean cheeks. Mauricio the blood tech was enchanted ‘Oh to have a girlfriend who would do that ‘ he murmured over and over again. Maria ignored him. My wife held him back  

But in the end we are obstacles to time off. Mirta was eager to go get her hair done for her weekend off. Fabiola had a concert ...”If I don’t see you...” the implicit sub-text being better not to see you else you will still be a useless lump of metamorphosing beetle helpless on your back when time off is over. Anything is better than that. Father John from St Richards came by radiating disapproval and lack of love all Irish pink flesh and stern upper lip. I confessed my paltry sins but got him to accidentally slip me some ice water melt which tasted heavenly after I got Last Rites and all was forgiven: he looked at me like something a starving polar bear would discard. 

The boys send photos of Rusty I pore over like a distant lover seeking portents of future harmony. Webb Chiles writes me unsentimental letters from his sailing base in South Carolina riding out Hurricane Florence. He drinks my share of the guns and tonics we would share were I there with him. Humor I enjoy as he drinks and now I can’t 

My world is circumscribed by my blood pressure and my needles to which I am no longer the least bit phobic. “Need blood? Go for it,” I offer jocularly. Need to stick a basket in a vein to catch errant clots? My groin is your groin. No pain too much no humiliation too great.” 

I no longer much care about politics or the world or insurance companies.  I long for my breathing tube to be removed from my nose allowing a to return to eating and drinking normally. Nothing extravagant but I crave cereal with milk and fresh fruits and Gatorade with electrolytes and long cold cups of water. And sweet yoghurt.  That is the extent of my world these days. Maybe Monday the goddamn tube goes. Maybe Monday I order breakfast for lunch. A Red Letter Day that would be. Indeed.


Doug Bennett said...

I really appreciate it that you are keeping us updated on your continued improvement. I wish you the best and look forward to your next update.
Doug -This Week on the Island -

Anonymous said...

Ah, you’re getting cranky 😂 that’s a very good sign!

unknowitall said...

Micheal, I spent some time not long ago in a similar pain-killer induced haze where the present, future, and eternity all blurred into the same miserable time and place. But it was an illusion and someday, not soon enough I’m sure, you’ll be well again and this experience will, with each telling, begin fade in both intensity and duration. I continue to wish you a full and expeditious recovery.

SalParadise said...

Good post, even sounds like you. Maybe this horrible experience will change , deepen or enhance your perception and expressions on this blog> I can't wait to find out. Where is the clean shaven face?

Celia Bowman said...

You're a very funny man. Thats definitly a keeper.

SonjaM said...

Writing style is almost back to normal. I have hope for a full recovery, Michael. You can do this. Take care and continue to recover quickly.

Celia Bowman said...

I see a book coming out if this.

David Masse said...

Michael, you made me laugh!

I have to say though, you have gone to way too much trouble to get the laughs. Hell, I think I'm going to send you a book of half-decent jokes. Much easier than vaulting into the air and trying to bury yourself in the pavement.

Last rites???? seriously?? At least you know now that you've cleared security on your way to heaven, but, God willing, that was way, way, way, way too early planning for that trip.

Please carry on.

Canajun said...

Michael, I somehow missed the previous 2 posts so I'm coming late to the party. But I'm here now and will follow your recovery with best wishes and hope for a speedy return to life as it was.

Mike Harris said...

Didn't see you post for a few days. Glad you're doing better. I've read your blog for years. We've never met, likely never will. I was born and raised in Key West and like others, never made it back. You had an illeus caused by a combination of anesthesia/neuromuscular blockade during your surgery, lack of movement, and pain meds. Listen to your nurses, they will guide you through this better than anyone...despite the lack of MD behind their name. Listen to PT...without them you'll never ever ride again. Ever. Understand me? Next up. Use your incentive spirometer constantly, not just when the nurses or respiratory therapist insist. That little device, for which you will be billed about $100 is one of the most important devices that will aid your transfer from Trauma ICU to a step-down floor. Make sure they get you up to the chair as often as possible...and stay there. Walk every time you're able. If you're stuck in bed, make sure they turn you every two hours, minimum. If they don't ask to speak to the nurses manager to see their documentation. If you get a pressure ulcer from being in one position for too long you'll never ride again. Ever. Understand?
When you get well enough for a step-down unit thank your Trauma ICU nurses profusely. It's a shit job with, more often than not, unappreciative patients. It also helps in case something happens and you need to return for some reason...likely breathing difficulty. Remember when I mentioned the incentive spirometer (ISP) was your friend?
Also, you need to see Rusty...and he likely needs to see you. When you're well enough in step-down ask someone for permission to take you outside for some fresh air and sunshine. There should be no reason they can deny you this request. Have someone outside with Rusty. It may be a brief reunion, but is a desperately needed one which will aid your recovery immensely.
If your wife hasn't done so need a lawyer. If for nothing else than to help you navigate and ensure a financially pain-free convalescence. YOU WILL be mobile soon but the repercussions of your injuries can last months and years. You need to make sure you're prepared for that. If you're really bored look up Post-Intensive Care Syndrome.
Best wishes on your continued recovery. I know there are dozens, if not hundreds of people out there pulling for you. I'm a clinical coordinator in a Neuro/Trauma ICU up the road a bit, though I'll be relaxing in Islamorada for a few days starting tomorrow. If your accident had happened in my jurisdiction (from Osceola Co. down to Okeechobee Co.) you would have been a guest of ours for a while. We love ya buddy. ANYTHING you need. ANY questions you have that are not being answered to your satisfaction by the great team at Jackson, if Rusty needs a buddy to play with up in St. Cloud, please don't hesitate to reach out. I know nothing of motorcycles...would never ride one, but I know a good and decent person who has taken the time to share his journey with the rest of us...and I'm grateful for that.
All the best!
Mike Harris (

Canoe Sailor said...

Hope you have a complete recovery!

Don Sickler said...

Michael glad to see you have not lost your sense of Humor.Wishing you the best and a full recovery

pat said...

Very sorry to hear what you are going through. Sending positive thoughts and prayers for your complete recovery
. I Enjoy your usual blogs about long walks with Rusty, very sorry to see these blogs. Stay strong ! pat

Shawn Stanley said...

Holy Cow! This is terrible news but glad to hear you are on the road to recovery.
I found your blog thru Webb Chiles when you were about the only information coming out of Key West during last year's hurricane. Have been there 18 of the last 20 years for Key West Race Week (the now defunct sailing regatta in January)...and really miss it.

Take care and good luck with your continued recovery.
-Shawn (Solomons, MD)