Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hospital Chronicles Part 11 - 4 Years Later!

Today I had a commercial audition for a drug called Keytruda. It is prescribed to those with non-small cell lung cancer. I tried out for the part of Shannon, who was successfully taking Keytruda to treat her advanced lung cancer. Wow. It brought up so many memories of my hospitalization back in the Spring of 2012. More than four years ago! A lot has happened since then, but I have never finished chronicling my hospital stay.  So I'm attempting to do so now. Of course since it was so long ago some of the details have become fuzzy. Which is kind of a good thing. I guess I'll just start from where I left off in October, 2012:  (Hospital Chronicles, Part 10 - Family At Last!)

The next day was Monday, my seventh day of being in the hospital. Seven days. Seven. Lucky number seven. (Seven is supposedly the world's most favorite number. There are seven days of the week, seven seas, seven continents, seven colors in the rainbow, seven wonders of the ancient world, and seven deadly sins. There's 7 Up, 7-Eleven, 7 for all Mankind, Jack Daniel's Old No. 7, and the Boeing 747. While we are at it, don't forget about Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, 007, The Seven Year Itch, the Seventh Seal, and the Seven Stranded Castaways on Gilligan's Island. A park ranger named Roy Sullivan was hit by lightning seven times and survived all of them! But I digress.) It turned out to be my last day in the hospital, so perhaps it is a special number after all. Upon waking up on that magical Monday, I was told that I was to have a mammogram in order to rule out breast cancer. They whisked me off in a wheelchair before breakfast, and I soon found my self waiting, again, in another hospital corridor. After what seemed like forever, I was wheeled in to get my mammogram. The very annoying thing is that I was quite capable of walking, I guess they just thought it was faster to wheel me around everywhere.  The damn mammogram really hurt, in fact it hurt so badly that I almost fainted and they had to sit me down and give me a cookie and some juice to drink. I think the lack of breakfast also had something to do with almost fainting; all in all it was the most unpleasant mammogram I've ever had.

Back in my hospital room, I was finally fed my breakfast, albeit a very bland one, which I probably ate in like three bites. My doctor showed up, the one I really liked, and told me that they were now discharging me! They still didn't know what was wrong with me, but she reassured me that she didn't think it was cancer, and that she would call me in a day or so to let me know if it was, or not. Shit. But at least I'd be out of the hospital! Sparky, my mother and sister soon arrived with Bee to get me the hell out of there. I remember that Sparky and I had to talk to the hospital money people, and fill out numerous forms in order to obtain my release. We weren't sure how we were going to pay for this very expensive hospital stay as we were both lacking health insurance. We filled out paperwork to see if we qualified for any assistance. A few hours later I was finally officially discharged. They wheeled me out of the hospital - and that was that.

A couple of days later, all of us were having lunch at some restaurant in Hollywood. Sparky and I had taken my mother, sister, little brother (who arrived the night I was released from the hospital) out sight seeing along the Hollywood Walk of Fame. I always like taking out of town visitors there because it is fun, cheesy, and slightly shady. And full of tourists. While we were eating, Sparky received a call from my doctor. I'm not sure why she called him instead of me, but she told him that she had good news and what a joy it was to call a patient with good news.  He handed the phone to me and she told me that all the tests had come back negative, and that I was perfectly healthy, and there was no sign of cancer about. It was a relief beyond imagination, and something I still dream about.

I walked around in a daze for the next couple of days. For instance, we all went to the beach and I forgot to pack things, like towels, food, water, etc. But I didn't have cancer! It was such a load off my mind, such a rush to be outside again, to be home again, to be with my family again, to be myself again. And I tried not to worry about the hospital bills that were darkly looming over us.

(to be continued...)