Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Self-Diagnosis

It is not so very bad going to the hospital every day, and in fact, I'm starting to see the upside. For instance, last night they brought Alan a tray of food that he wouldn't touch, and so I got to eat the small bowl of fruit cocktail presented next to the boiled chicken playing dead in a yellow green sauce with peas. I could understand how the chicken in the confusing puddle of sauce might look unappetizing, but come on, how can you say no to grapes, pineapples, pears and apples in a delightful light syrup?

Aside from piquing my culinary interests, we also get to catch up on all the episodes of Cops that have ever been filmed. It seems to be Alan's neighbor's favorite show, one that reminds me not to speed in the cars I've recently stolen. And that if I ever do get caught, that I should always say that I was just borrowing the car from my girl Nessa. That always seems to throw them off the trail for a bit (Who is this girl Nessa? they will think), long enough at least for me to plan out my next move, which will involve distracting the cops from searching my stolen car. The move will have to be a good one to ensure that they do not search under the front seat where I've cleverly stowed my Ziploc baggie full of questionable substances.

We like to harness our pumping adrenaline post Cops and find it does us well to go on long walks together, long walks down long corridors I would not otherwise find myself walking down. One evening we walked down a new unexplored corridor and found the walls plastered with large, laminated case studies with titles such as "Pauci-Immune Glomerulonephritis," "Forgotten Etiology of Acute Hepatitis" (this one almost conjured up a cute image of a stuffed bunny forgotten at home as its owner and his family packed up and left for vacation), and "Wheat-Dependent Exercise-Induced Anaphylaxis." There was one that was of extreme interest to me as it involved a Cambodian woman, but even the title was lost on me: "Co-existence of multiple myeloma and amyloidosis with acquired factor X deficiency presenting as GI Bleed."

Now we'll often walk this way, and I'll take a moment or two to stop and gawk at the pictures on the "Forgotten Etiology" poster. I will spare you the details, but suffice it to say there is no picture of a bunny anywhere on it.

Those case study posters must have inspired him, because a few days ago Alan showed me a medical article he found via an internet search he did looking for anything/anyone experiencing something similar to him. The doctors had called his case an enigma on Saturday and on Monday he tried telling them about his new theory. His new theory being that he is suffering from opiate withdrawl syndrome mimicking postoperative intestinal obstruction, which was a fine theory except that no one listened until today.

Today I went to visit him on my lunch and found him in bed, his eyes rolling around, not really looking at me. He was looking in sheer amusement at the TV in the side of his bed (there wasn't one). He kept wanting to get out of bed to go check out what movies were on the coffee table (there weren't any) and kept wondering where Jon was (he wasn't there.) The doctors came in and asked me if I thought he was okay. It was one of those questions where you sort of repeat it back to whoever's asking you, just to make sure you're hearing things right.

Do I think he's ok?

But then Alan interrupted, and we all turned to hear what important information he had to share. He said, "Well of course no one would want to pick up Bilbo (his parents Basset Hound) because he's too heavy."

Without saying anything, I looked back at the doctors with raised eyebrows to say, "Uh huh, yeah, that's right. He's perfectly ok."

19 comments:

lliteratti said...

Speaking of hospital food, yes apart from deserts there’s nothing much u want o eat, I remember the day I was on call and we were sent food from the MS of the hospital and it was exactly as you described, add to it the obvious and evident chance of harbouring various pathogens, resistant to antibiotics as is our will to eat it.
Empathy is something which keeps us human in all the blood and misery we see as doctors, i tend to think life is a corridor too, with laminated pictures of things around us and events passing by and not everyone is lucky enough to get the best ones, good or bad, we still want to know what’s waiting for us in the end.
Prayers for you and alan...

Kaylie Rose said...

My Dad (only 55 yrs old) has been very ill over the last year and I too have spent many many days in the hospital. Sometimes it amazes me the questions they ask us, I shake my head, cock and eyebrow and think to myself, "really?" It always seems that just because someone is ill it means they are mentally unbalanced. Although it doesnt help that my Dad has a very odd sense of humor and so somedays I suppose its hard to tell.....
I hope that things work out for the best for your Alan.

Katherine said...

I'm amused that you even notice the case study posters, or their titles. And I guess that I've been doing what I do too long, since I understood all the titles (even though I will contemplate adding a bunny on my next case study poster.)

I hope to hear that Alan is doing better. My thoughts are with you.

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I'm Kim, by the way said...

Your posts make me laugh and cry simultaneously, which I imagine is pretty much the summary of your life right now. Also, I admire someone who, like me, would start nibbling on the untouched fruit cocktail even in the tough moments.

Kasey said...

I started reading your blog after it was one of the blogs of note on Blogger... and I must say that I love it. I really hope that Alan gets better and that the doctors are able to do something for him!

Ann said...

I am new to your blog, and only regret that it took me so long to find it. I will be going back to read all of your entries. I wish for the best for you and Alan.

prometheus33 said...

I started following your blog recently and have enjoyed it. One of my first jobs was at a hospital working in the food and nutrition department. I know there were those who believed neither of those terms applied to what we prepared there, but most of us working on the bottom floor of the facility were quite oblivious to the plight of the patient. While I still don’t think the food was terrible, I’ve since developed some measure of mealtime sympathy for those confined to medical facilities. Food after all represents a point of reprieve from the monotony, from the tests, and from (at times) the inane inquiries of the medical staff.

I wish you both the best.

Yours Truely said...

I used to love hospital food whenever I was in a hospital. I don't go much anymore, and I don't really remember alot of what was going on while I was in hospital, but I do remember wondering why no one seemed to like the food!

http://take2action.blogspot.com

Just Sakinah said...

I was in the hospital for 4 months and I thought the food was great but after 2 months the monotony almost drove me mad. I am going thru so much right now that I get depressed but then I read ur blog and ur lovely stillness and good cheer always make me feel better. Thank you

2busy said...

Hospital food aside, what was making him hallucinate? That can be pretty scary.

(Non) Fictionizer said...

When Alan recovers I'm sure you guys will roll around on the floor at the acute and touching stories that you will recount of his days in hospital.

This will, of course, be in-between bowls of fruit cocktail...and beignets with peach jam...washed down with none other than boba. Best wishes to you both, Sobrina.

hustler said...

Cops is one of those addictive hate/love things. If it's on, I can't stop watching it, but the whole time I'm thinking "why do I pay for cable?!?"

Sobrina Tung said...

They are pretty sure he was so out of it from the opiate withdrawl, but he is doing much better today. Tomorrow I think he may try eating again and hopefully (fingers double crossed) that will work and he can come home soon.

Non Fictionizer -- I always like reading your comments. And you're British! How fun! Things always sound better with a British accent.

Just Sakinah -- hang in there! I know no one wants to just be hangin in there, but things will get better. I'm glad I could brighten your day even if just a little bit.

I'm Kim, by the way -- reading your comment kinda sorta made me want to cry. Sometimes I forget that I'm writing about really sad stuff until someone else reminds me. And then I'm like, Oh yeah, that.

Jana said...

I am praying for Alan...I love what you write but my heart always breaks...and then of course I am always laughing. hes so blessed to have you.

Sobrina Tung said...

Thanks so much Jana, that means a lot :)

Wyll said...

*HUGS to you* I hope the doctors listen to you and him, and they figure out what is going on.

Betty Man said...

hello Sobrina!. My name is Betty I'm greek living in Athens.
1.I wish your Alan gets well!! soon
2.pls send me an e-mail to :bmanousou@gmail.com telling me
that amazing title of you blog(quiet like horses)came from.
I like it so much!!!.And what is the meaning of that. In Grece we don't have an expression like that.
i'm waiting to hear from you soon.Thanks a lot.PS. Your stories are
very touching,specially- The Plastic Bugs.

superchance said...

" Who is this Nessa...."" Hi i just discovered your blog today. You seem quite amazing and eloquent to me. i know that this is an older post, buy i have recently been in and out of the hospital this year. Still undiagnosed; best guess Chrons with a side of four ulcers. Maybe i worry too much?? you're blog reminds me to re-focus on the small joys. Like cops. I truly hope that Alan is doing really well today. And that you are really well too. Praying for you and Alan.

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