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Roughly Drafted
Daniel Eran

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photo Friends Like These
Before I was old enough to be getting hit by trucks myself, I witnessed two of our pets getting run over. Instead of limping over to the car to get taken to the vet, they always crawled under the porch and hid out licking their wounds. That's what I've been feeling like lately.
A lot of friends have called or sent me email, but I haven't been very good about calling anyone back. I don't try to be antisocial; I just tend to instinctively hide out at home when I feel crappy. I'm not brooding; most of the time not at work I'm just passed out.

With extra stress of just being operated on, I developed some complications. One got me an Rx for Atarax, a common antihistamine. Atarax kicks your pants; I call it the Rip Van Winkle Syndrome. I was supposed to take one pill twice a day and then two before bed. Yeah right. I'd taken this before and I knew that one pill make me too tired to function. So Saturday night I took a couple before bed. I woke up a nine o'clock Sunday. Nine in the evening that is. Yesterday I only took one, so I was up by two in the afternoon.
Yikes! This stuff is making it hard for me to afford my rock and roll lifestyle. It wouldn't be so bad if I at least had some subliminal Spanish language tapes.

The narcotics aren't helping either. I broke up with morphine at the hospital, but then started hanging out with Vicodin. Now I'm not so sure about our relationship, and feeling like I need some self-time.
After about a week of Vicodin, my tolerance goes up to where it isn't helping much with pain, but the side effects are still full strength. I start to feel loopy and get confused easily. I really don't like to be stupid unless I'm doing it on purpose. I particularly don't like to feel unaware of the extent of how stupid I'm being.

It's crushing to keep being reminded at how socially retarded I am. While I knew enough to call my friends up from the hospital to say hi, it never occurred to me that anyone would want to visit. It's not so much that I'm stupid, it's just that I'm used to doing things solo.

A good example is when I used to work for an airline. Yeah, I know I didn't list that in my resume, but I had about three million jobs before I was twenty, and if I listed them all it would deforest Muir Woods to print it all out, and wouldn't that be horrific? Anyway, I flew around a lot, but I was never met at the airport by signs and balloons or hugs and crying like every other kid. I wasn't worried or bitter about it; who could keep up with a random dude jumping on every last minute non-rev flight he could manage? But I began to feel like I existed on a different plane. Simple human frivolities didn't involve me. It seemed just as well, because who has time for all that?

Then I started noticing that I was instinctively turning down every offer I got, from romantic advances to plates of hors d'oeuvres. It was the chicken wings that made me I realize I was getting too close to insane and needed to pull up. Now I don't have to say ‘no thanks’ three times before trying the bacon wrapped salmon.
I'm still working on harder things, like accepting offers for help. It's not that I don't want it, I'm just never sure if it's okay for me to say yes. So when several friends asked how to visit, I assumed that it would be too much work for them to find out visitation hours and drive over and all, so I didn't say much. Fortunately, some of my friends won't take no answer for an answer.

My friend Chris the flight attendant asked me what I needed. Of course, I didn't think I needed anything. And I figured visitation was probably over already. Chris was going to check it out anyway.
I wanted to call my family, but they're out of state and the phone in my room would only make local calls. The nurse said she'd call them for me, but nothing ever came of it.

So I called my friend Missy. Some of my friends are so helpful I don't even realize I'm asking for their help. Missy is one of those exceptional office managers who could arrange for forty trays of those bacon wrapped salmon to be delivered to a classy lounge in North Beach, along with a Swedish translator, a SECAM VCR and 17” PowerBook with a Hebrew keyboard, given a couple hours notice. If the UK ever makes me 007, I want Missy to be Moneypenny.

I wasn't sure if my brother would be at home or working that Saturday, and half his household speaks Spanish. Fortunately, so does Missy, and within fifteen minutes I had family calling me. Thank you Missy! Best of all, I didn't have to freak out on the nurse. With friends like these, who needs obscenities?
Chris showed up bearing gifts: 7x7 Magazine, gum, candies, and a purple stuffed elephant. “Do you need a beer?” Chris asked, or maybe it was “Dude, you need a beer.” I probably didn't need a beer, but it felt so sneaky and verboten and scandalous to be drinking beer in the hospital that couldn't pass it up. I wasn't ever in a fraternity, so I'd never drank beer out of a Dixie cup while lounging around in a gown. It felt pretty good.

I wasn't feeling stinky, but Chris took my socks and put them in a hazmat bag and washed my feet. Apparently I also needed pedicure but we didn't have the appropriate tools available for that. I was worried they were going to come in and say visitation was over, but instead the next nurse on duty brought in a chair that folded out into a bed in case Chris had to stay overnight.
I couldn't think of anything else I needed, but when pressed, I came up with maybe needing some candy. Chris went looking for candy, but the machine was out of order, so instead, brought back more sensible things: a pizza Hot Pocket, chicken Caesar salad, chocolate milk and a Coke.

I ate it all as we watched MadTV. Chris left to go home but arranged to come back the next day to bring me new clothes and give me a ride home. The last time I went to the hospital by ambulance, the paramedics had to slash open my pants. I had an orderly cut them off into what turned into Daisy Duke shorts before walking home through the ghetto. Thanks Chris, new clothes and a ride would be cool.

I was super tired and all hot and sweaty. The nurse cleaned and replaced my IV catheter tube, but it was a bloody mess right away again The catheter going in was way too big and not really in the right place. It was put in too far up, so every time I bent my arm and straightened it out it would pull in and out and leak Dan juice all over.

Part II > The Day After

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