I had to be carted off to the hospital in an ambulance on Thursday of last week. It was either an infection my home-visiting doctor couldn’t spot or the dreaded relapse. She couldn’t diagnose any illness. At the hospital, they used the words “atypical infection.” One of us, undoubtedly me, wondered if I’d entered into the mystery disease territory of the TV show “House.”
I couldn’t move.
I had a flexible cystoscopy the day before. A urologist inserted a camera up my penis and had a good look ’round my bladder! It’s disquieting to look inside yourself on an overhead monitor, but I had nothing else to do, and it was the only thing on the TV. I got a clean bill of health, plus bonus points for very effective self-catheterization. After five years, I am something of an old hand.
In the hospital, the normal battery of tests was run: ECG, blood, urine, and endless pulse measures just when you’ve gone to sleep. It’s a good thing they test the heart so assiduously because the shock from being constantly woken is enough to really give you a heart attack!
I received a short, sharp dose of the intravenous antibiotic gentamicin. By the morning, I’d recovered somewhat and was sent home. The on-duty urologist told me there was no indication of a urinary tract infection (UTI). I should return to a prophylactic dose of 250 mg a night of cefalexin. I had slipped into taking a full dose constantly since the end of last November. When I stopped, I fell apart!
I dutifully obeyed.
I got into my house and collapsed on the couch — where I stayed for 36 hours. Finally, I summoned the energy to climb the stairs and make it to bed. It wasn’t easy — my wife had to lift my left foot up over the last few steps! I made it to the bedroom and honestly wondered if I’d ever make it out again.
It was now Sunday and I had oodles of work to do. I couldn’t concentrate — it was hopeless. So, despite the doctor’s orders, I decided to follow my intuition and go back to a full 500 mg of cefalexin every eight hours. I started just before trying to get into bed. I couldn’t get up. On my own, there was no chance of getting into bed from the chair (OK, OK, it’s a commode) next to the bed. It took my wife and 36-year-old son’s help to somehow manage it. I was now lying down, unable to move.
Still, I discovered that with Siri, I could phone my wife hands-free. I knew it was possible, I’d just never tried it. I had to phone her to help me urinate. It was a Laurel and Hardy routine of her holding me so I could sit up while holding the bucket at the same time, as I somehow managed to self-catheterize.
With all my recent thrashing and shouting in pain (trigeminal neuralgia), she’s taken to sleeping in the bedroom of our at-present university-domiciled son. It had been a hellish night. I presumed it was a mega-relapse, in which case I wouldn’t have been physically or mentally able to write this!
Morning came, and I could now move my legs a bit. I was also dripping with sweat. The sort of clammy sweat that soaks your body when a fever breaks. I sat up on my own. This was a novelty. I had my second full dose of antibiotics. It’s now the evening and my wife, after having constantly been woken last night, is fast asleep in our bedroom. Don’t want to wake her, so I’ve written this while listening to soul music on my headphones.
Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.”
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