This morning I went to sleep at 6am.
I awoke at 8am to my mother telling me my father is once again in the hospital because of seizures. So as usual I contemplated whether or not I felt it necessary to drag my lazy, time-beaten ass out of bed and all the way down to the hospital to hear the same old news once more.
Something urged me in the back of my mind to drag my lazy, time-beaten ass out of bed and all the way down to the hospital with my mother.
The nurses and heads of department or some shit had a canopy set up outside like an Ebola check point. Turns out they were doing a “disaster drill” (probably for viruses like Ebola).
The security guy made sure we had no pocket knives and he called the doctors in the emergency room and they said we’d have to wait about twenty minutes for my father to get a C.T scan. I yawned–same ole’ same ole’.
Another security guy burst through the door and asked the security guy who had helped us whether or not he’d gotten any word from the big guys upstairs about a black package set outside one of the buildings. They walked back and forth for about ten minutes doing nothing waiting to receive orders. Never learned if they did or not.
On a side note, there was once a bomb scare at my college. Someone set a suspicious looking brown package upon a table. The bomb squad charged campus while all the students were on lock-down in dark classrooms, only for them to blow apart a sandwich. Yes. A sandwich. Culture of fear, much?
Anyway, onward with my seemingly uninteresting story.
We weren’t let allowed to go into the emergency room where he was, so they sent us instead to a “quiet room”. No, it wasn’t a padded cell and no it wasn’t because we were causing such a ruckus in the waiting room–after all, I was just drumming my feet and humming to some Megalomaniac by Incubus. We theorized it was because they got sick of looking at us as they wandered around the floor looking for something more interesting to do.
The same people walked back and forth about fifteen times each with clipboards in their hand and a blank expression on their face. Without mentioning a thing to each other until we left the waiting area, we both got the vibe they were just wandering around until a school bus tipped over or a plane crashed and they had to be busy.
The quiet room is not a quiet room. There is no calming music or glittering fountain, nothing to remind you of peacefulness, just this freaky ass alien microscope staring into your soul:
What the quiet room is, is a storage closet with some paintings of Yosemite State Park on the walls, endless shelves of extra medical supplies, a few “Caution, Wet Floor” signs, opened packages of adult diapers, four stank-ass chairs, and little wheely things that you hang IV drips from.
So we sat there for another hour and a half. The majority of my soul was encased in the eye holes of that microscope.
When the doctor arrived, he asked the usual “what happened” question and since I witnessed nothing I just listened. He nodded, curious as all of them are, and we explained the frequency of his Alcohol Withdrawal seizures and that fact that he’d been sneaking off to the store for the last few days and sneaking off with that crackhead/Marijuana grower (he’s got a whole separate house on his property dedicated to it) where he sometimes didn’t return for three, four, five days.
Suspicious? Yes. Suspicious enough to warrant serious investigation by me? No. No, because he’d done it before. He’d stay out with him for a week or so and come back fine. He didn’t usually have money to walk to the store on his own and by those stupid fucking tiny EJ brandy bottles he could hide in his coat pocket and in the back of the freezer so we thought he was sober.
I got more suspicious when the friend started coming over here. He’d stay for a few hours. Once he even passed out on our living room floor. That got my eyebrows raised.
A few months ago my father house sat for this man and took care of the plants and shit. We found him with access to a full case of beer and he guzzled them every night; we visited him once in the dark of the night and he was sloppy drunk, could hardly stand straight.
The following morning I called with the intention of driving all the way out into the hillside if he didn’t pick up the phone. Some random chick picked up the phone (also not that suspicious, that guy has people over to his house all the time; he lives responsibility free and wracks in a shit ton of dough). She gave the phone to my father. I asked what was up. He said nothing. He sounded like he’d been up all night. I asked what he was going. He said “I’m just . . . I . . . I’m doing somethin’, I’m doin’ something”. I said, “Uh . . . alright.”
Our conversation basically ended there.
Had I not forgotten about this one snippet in time, all of the other things would have added up, especially since he’s spent literally days crying with the notion that someone in his family has died and no one told him, screaming at three in the morning over an empty carton of juice I left on the counter, or screeching over the sound of a fork in the sink and his friends very perfectly timed visits to our house (usually when my mother was at work and I was in my room oblivious).
What do I mean by all this? Well, when the short little doctor with an Indian accent started diving into his medical history with us again, she asked the usual questions:
- How did this happen?
- Anything that you could see leading up to this?
- Anything else besides the Alcohol that seems to trigger the seizures?
- Has he seen a neurologist?
- What does he do during the day?
- Does he use any drugs?
We said he smokes Marijuana. She said “okay, because the blood test rang positive for Methamphetamine.”
And there’s my “Ah-ha!” moment of the day.
As of now he’s on a ventilator with his veins full of Propofol, Fentanyl, Midazolam (a benzo like Ativan), Ceftriaxone (An antibiotic for the apparent UTI he has) and two blood pressure medications I forgot the names of. His blood pressure was about 191/107 when we were there; I’m sure it was higher when he was first brought in–it’s infamous for hitting the two hundreds.
They put him on the ventilator because he apparently wasn’t getting enough oxygen to his brain; his breathing was very shallow. They thought at one point he must have stopped breathing. Nothing physically is wrong with his lungs or his heart, the ventilator is just for his brain and it’s also the reason he’s on the drug that killed Michael Jackson; they can’t have him waking up trying to yank that tube out. At any rate, they said the ventilator is most likely temporary since, as I said, nothing is physically wrong with his organs.
I spoke to his doctor about the seizures because my mother, even after all these years, doesn’t know the difference between a partial seizure and a grand mal seizure.
As of right now, I’ve skipped my one Thursday class so we can go see what’s going on because they refuse to tell us anything over the phone.
So there you go. If you have a drinking problem and they cause seizures and you end up with memory loss and less-damaging temporal lobe seizures, don’t pick up meth. That’s the last thing that will calm your electro-neuroactivity.
His is riddled with other amphetamines–like Crack.
I watched the neurologist put an EEG cap on his head and the dip the little electrodes in some goop and stick it in some little white cap that looked like a Garden gnomes’ hat. That was cool.
Don’t do drugs.