Saturday, June 5, 2010

I ain't pretty no more

Well, the good news is I thought of a new name for my blog. The bad news is, I had to break my face to do it. Check it out:

I was walking along at work, when I stubbed my toe on the carpet. I tried to catch myself, but with arms as weak as mine that really isn't an option. So I decided to break my fall with my face. I bet it looked pretty cool. I don't remember though, as I was unconscious for a moment. (Pro-tip: if you have ALS, and you can't break your fall, try to wipe out near a couch, or some soft grass, or anything that hurts less than a hard office floor.)

When I came to, I was surrounded by very concerned looking coworkers. Some friendly police officers were already there to make sure I was okay. I remember them asking me questions, but I'm sure my answers made no sense. I was pretty out of it. They asked what I was doing when I fell, and I couldn't really remember. After a few minutes some friendly paramedics came to take me to the emergency room. I remember hearing my coworkers discuss which hospital I should go to, and who should call my wife to tell her, but I don't recall the details.

The paramedics wheeled me down stairs into a waiting ambulance. Once they had me strapped in, they asked me a few questions to ascertain what mental state I was in;

paramedic 1: "do you know what day it is?"
Me: "Friday"-I actually had to think about that one for a couple of seconds
Paramedic 1: "do you know what month it is?"
Me: "June"
paramedic 1: "do you know who the president is?"
Me: "Obama"
(brief pause)
Me: "I thought you were going to try to throw me for a loop with that last question"
Paramedic 2: "if we were going to throw you for a loop, we would have asked you for the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow."
Me: "African or European swallow?"
Paramedic 2: (laughing) "I knew I liked this guy!"
Paramedic 1: "yeah, you're going to be okay."

For the uninitiated, the African or European swallow is an old Monty Python bit. You can watch the setup here, and the punchline here.

As soon as the paramedic made the Python joke, I immediately snapped out of my woozy, foggy state. Activating the hilarity center of my brain somehow brought me back to reality. I remembered what I was doing before I fell, I remembered what I had for lunch, and I remembered watching one of my coworkers trying to fix my glasses after I embedded them in my eyebrow. (Pro-tip: remove your glasses before falling on your face.)

But the fun doesn't stop there! I enjoyed a leisurely ride to Hennepin County Medical Center with my new Monty Python fan friends. The ambulance driver didn't use the lights or siren, so I figured I was going to be fine. Hell, he didn't even run red lights or use the carpool lane! This gave my wife and coworker, JJ, plenty of time to get to the hospital and meet me in the ER.

A couple of doctors looked at me, then sent me for a CT scan. While I was back in my room, awaiting my scan results, all of the rooms around me filled up. Eventually a doctor popped in and said my brain wasn't swelling or anything bad, but it looked like I had a fracture on my cheek/eye socket.

"Well," I thought to myself, "that explains the headache I have." Seriously, this headache was horrible. It felt like I got punched in the face by a hangover. One of the nurses gave me a dose of oxycodone which basically made me dizzy but didn't take away the pain. I don't know why the hell people would abuse that drug! Tylenol was more effective.

Anyway, the doctor wanted to have a surgeon look at my scan and decide if my busted face required surgery. So, I waited a little while longer. Eventually, the nurse came in and very apologetically explained that they had to move me out into the hallway to wait for the surgeon. They had a patient with a heart condition coming in, and they needed to put him in my room because it housed the heart monitoring equipment.

I told them that there was no need to apologize, I wasn't in that bad of shape. (After all, I only broke my face) So, off I went into the hall to wait for the surgeon.

The patient with the heart condition arrived in handcuffs.

He was a prisoner. A goddamn prisoner in a bright orange jumpsuit booted me out of my room! As soon as he lay down on the bed, the cop he was with un-cuffed one arm, then cuffed him to the bed. Marney and I looked at each other like, "there is no way that just happened."

From what I was able to overhear, the prisoner had not taken his blood pressure medication. I guess out of whack blood pressure supersedes a busted face. But, come on! Couldn't they put him in jeans and a T-shirt?! I wouldn't feel that bad about getting bumped from my room by a regular guy with a heart condition. At least try to disguise that he's a convict! I half-hoped we were about to see an elaborate prison escape. Unfortunately, the con just complained about chest pains.

The surgeon finally swung by my hallway respite to inform me that my busted face could wait until Monday. I have to see an ear/ nose/ throat specialist in two days. The specialist will decide if my fractured eye socket needs surgery or not. In the meantime, Tylenol and ice are my best friends.

That long, convoluted, convict-tinged story brings me to the new name of my blog. It started off as Monomelic-Amyotrophy-Tastic! then changed to Probable ALS, Definite Hilarity. Now it will be something along the lines of, "I know it's sad, but I can't stop laughing."

At least three different people have heard about my disease, looked at my blog, and said exactly "I know it's sad, but I can't stop laughing!" Well, good! That is precisely what I was going for. No point in being sullen all the time.

I thought about naming my blog "I know it's sad, but I can't stop laughing" a week ago. The Monty Python incident with the paramedic cemented it for me. Laughter pulled me out of a semi-conscious daze, and got me through three hours of searing pain in the emergency room. it might as well be the namesake of my blog.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Wow! That's what I call a full day: Broken face, handcuffs, fugitive, drugs, ambulance. HEY! This totally reminds me of my honeymoon!

You're an amazing guy Colin!