Sit back kiddies, your Uncle Aaron is going to tell you a tale. It is a tale of intrigue, a tale of suspense and a tale of humor. This will be a side of Aaron that you have never seen, that most people will not want to see, but, for the sake of journalism, a side that must be revealed. So sit back, grab a cool, tasty beverage of your choice and listen to the excitement that was Aaron’s Spectacular Fourth of July Vacation Adventure.
So there I was, in Frisco, Colorado enjoying the mountains, nice weather and looking forward to the usual festivities that the Fourth of July brings. This was supposed to be a nice vacation. Hang out with the family for a few days, not think about work, you know the feeling. But, like so many plans things often go horribly, horribly wrong. Here’s what happened to me.
Monday: The Fourth of July
The day started off just like any other day, with me waking up. The plan was for us all to gout to a pancake breakfast and hang out till the fireworks started. Well, the pancake breakfast was super packed so we decided to go to a local restaurant. In hindsight, this was probably a good idea. I mean I like pancakes and all, but you can only eat so many of them. And it being a big ass deal, I have the feeling that the pancakes would be about as tasty as a Twinkie that has been shit on and then after being shit on, someone threw up on the Twinkie. But like so many times before, I digress.
Breakfast was O.K., nothing special, but about an hour afterwards, I started to get a pain in my gut. Pardon me for being crass, but this is the only way that I can accurately describe what this pain felt like. You know when you are in a car for a long period of time, and to be nice, you hold in all your farts? But then, after about six or seven hours, you start to get a pain in your gut from the massive build up of pressure? That’s what this felt like. It seemed that I really needed to fart, but couldn’t, and it’s not like I didn’t want to. This whole thing went on, and as the day passed only got worse.
Probably the worst thing about Monday’s ordeal was that I continued about my day, all while the pain was getting worse. I played pool with my dad, went shopping in Breckenridge with my brother Mark. Finally it got to the point where it hurt really bad, and I was actually feeling sick. Sick enough that I skipped dinner and opted out of the fireworks. That’s were things went down hill. For most of the night, I couldn’t move and I felt like I was on the verge of throwing up. I didn’t, and that made it all the worse. At about 9:00 p.m. I broke out in a cold sweat and my fever broke. I thought I was in the clear, all I had to do was fart and burp a bunch throughout the rest of the night, and I would be back to normal in the morning.
Tuesday: The Day we were supposed to go home
I was so wrong it’s not even funny. When I woke up, the pain was worse than ever. My mom checked in on me and insisted I needed to go to the hospital. At first I refused, justifying it that I wasn’t going to go to the hospital only for them to tell me to take some Gas-Ex. But when I tried to get out of bed, and barely could, I figured that my mom might be onto something. I couldn’t stand up straight, and could barely walk. I decided that maybe the hospital was a good idea. The ride to the hospital was bad, even though it was only about three miles away. Sitting down I could feel every bump in the road, every time the car moved stabbing pain was sent into my gut.
I only had to sit in the lobby for a few minutes, but in that time I got to see a cop bring in a guy to get his blood alcohol level checked. The guy was in cuffs and everything. The best part of it all, the nurse at the Emergency Room check-in knew the guy by name, and it wasn’t because they were friends. It was because he had been brought in many, many times for the same thing. I would have found it funnier at the time, but you know, I was in a lot of pain.
When the nurse took me to the back, I noticed one thing immediately; there was a girl and her mom in the bed across from me. Over the course of the next six hours, I feel like I got to know these two people quite intimately, even though I didn’t say one word to them. The girl, whose name I now forget, apparently had mono. You know, the kissing disease. Well, she was all dehydrated so an IV was ordered. When the nurse started to put the IV in her arm, she screamed and preceded to cry for about 20 minutes. Again I got scared, especially when the nurse came to put and IV in my hand. But HA! You stupid girl, it didn’t hurt at all. Maybe if you didn’t spend all your time making out with people with Mono you could have built up your tolerance to a little discomfort! Sorry, again with the digression.
For six hours all I did was lay there in the hospital bed and listen to this annoying girl and her mom talk about who all might have been infected with mono. It was fun I tell you. At some point in my stay, I had a CT scan and it revealed the problem; Diverticulitis. Diverticulitis is a condition where there is a weakening in the wall of the colon that will get infected, and in one is not careful, it can burst and be almost as bad as a burst appendix. After looking at the CTs, arrangements were made for me to switch hospitals, to one that had more knowledgeable doctors and one that was closer to my parents. So thus I got in my dad’s truck and took the hour and a half drive to Littleton Adventist Hospital. They gave me a double shot of morphine for the ride to Littleton but did it help? Fuck no. I hurt just as much after the shot as I did before. Fuck you Hollywood for making me believe that morphine was the answer to all my pain problems. Oh, and did I mention that I couldn’t eat or drink anything? Because I couldn’t. And for a man of my girth, that is a cruel, cruel joke. Actually, the not being able to eat wasn’t bad, because the fever had taken away my appetite. But not being able to drink sucked. Luckily I was allowed to swish water in my mouth. FUN!
That’s about it for Tuesday. I got to the hospital, talked to the doctor and got pumped full of antibiotics. The good times seemed like they would never end.
Wednesday: The fun begins
Now when I say fun, I mean the complete opposite of fun. I was stuck in a hospital bed, in immense pain, and I had a TV that had 10 damn channels. And they weren’t even good channels. I think the first two days all I watched was ESPN. Throughout the day, various family members stopped by with gifts. Dad brought a stack of magazines, my brother Mark brought a stack of comics and a GameBoy, and nurses came in and brought me bag, after bag, after bag of antibiotics. That’s about it. Being in a hospital is so god dammed boring that I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
Thursday: The day of highlights
Perhaps the biggest highlight of the day happened early in the morning. Apparently, when your nourishment is in the form of an IV, the doctors like to keep track of how much is going in, and how much is coming out. To do the later, they ask that you pee in a bottle. Well I was doing that, and when I was done, conveniently hung the bottle from the railing on the bed. Well, at some point in the night, when I was actually sleeping, I woke up to a loud thunk. Guess what it was. Yup, it was the pee bottle. I had to call the nurse and tell her that I dropped my pee bottle and she had to come clean it up. Now normally that would be the highlight of my day, but if you’re a fan of The Family Guy and can remember hearing Peter yell "Clean my pee!" you’d find this fucking hilarious too.
I did feel bad for the nurse though, because she was really hot. Now, pardon the digression, but let’s talk about nurses for a bit. I can now say that I have been completely misled by movies and porn. Not once did one of my hot nurses offer to "ease my pain," if you know what I mean. Movies lie. Porn lies. And damn it, that was the only thing that I was looking forward to while I was in the hospital.
But that’s not all, the good news kept rolling in. At about 11:00 a.m. a food try came in. I could eat food again! Only thing is, it was only clear liquids. Let me tell you, as appetizing as plain beef broth is, it’s even better in a hospital! By the way that’s sarcasm. Good thing I didn’t have much of an appetite anyway. But regardless, I was happy to be able to drink something other than water. I had juice, popsicles and Jello. It was great. I had my juice, the pain was going away and to top all that, as I was flipping around the 10 channels I had, I discovered that they had replaced the Weather Channel. And what you may be asking did they replace it with? Cartoon Network. I don’t know why they did it, but I think that was the happiest moment of my entire hospital stay. Thursday night was also the first time that I actually slept through the night.
There was one more thing that happened on Thursday, but I’ll spare you all the tale of the Poo Juice. Oh, and my nurse for the night was named Randel. And it was a woman. At least it is a "woman" now.
Friday: The second day I was supposed to go home
Friday started out with a trip down to the X-Ray room to get my second CT scan of the week. The way I looked at it was the pain was a lot less so the CT would just show that the inflammation had gone down and I could be on my merry way. I was wrong. The new CT showed that there was a small perforation – read: tear in my colon. So guess what? Yup, the doctor said that I needed to stay. Yippee! To top that, while my parents and I were waiting for the doctor to come in with the results, my mom decided that she need something to eat, then went a got a bagel with cream and peanut, and ate it in my room. I hadn’t eaten solid food in a week, and here my own mother was eating something that smelled so good right in front of me. Just like a woman.
The worse thing about that news is that I was so prepared to leave that I had sent away all the entertainment type stuff that my family had brought to me. So all I had was the same 10 shitty TV channels to keep me busy. So that’s what I did for most of the day – watched ESPN.
On Friday night my parents came back and they brought with them a little game called Trivia Pursuit. Now, it is a well known fact that Jeff and I are quite possibly the two smartest human beings on the face of the planet. Of course our parents reject this notion and insist on playing us every time we visit. So there we were, me against my mom and my dad, and guess who came out the victor? That’s right, me. I didn’t just beat them, I kicked their asses. I owned them so much that they only got two pie pieces. Do not dispute my genius!
Saturday: I finally get to leave
I woke up on Saturday thinking that nothing had changed. On Friday, the doctor said that he would keep me as long as he could, so that I could continue getting IV antibiotics. So when he came in on Saturday morning and said I could be discharged, I was shocked. What was I going to do without my 10 channels of crappy TV? What was I going to do without my pee bottle? What was I going to do when I wasn’t getting woken up at 4:00 a.m. to get blood drawn? I’ll tell you what I wanted to do, I wanted to party. Unfortunately I was still restricted to a clear liquid diet, and would be restricted till I met with a doctor in Flagstaff. But I got to go home, play with my moms dog Tasha and watch real TV.
And that my friends, is the end of my tale. I flew home on Sunday, and have been plugging away ever since. Right now I’m pretty much back to normal, though I cant eat any type of nuts, seeds or popcorn, but that’s not too big of a deal. I will have to have surgery to remove part of my colon and intestines, and that’ll be around the end of August or the beginning of September. After that, you can look forward to another riveting column about that exciting hospital stay.