About This Thing That Happened

It’s half past seven, Wednesday evening, November 23rd, and I’m sitting way up in the attic working on some stuff before I have to do a bar shift at my volleyball club. As I stand up to go take a pill I forgot and a toilet break, pain rips between my shoulder blades. By the time I’m down two flights of stairs the pain has spread and I want my mommy on the phone. She isn’t in. My father suggests I make it to the hospital. So I yell for the Kid Wonder to find me the number (should have called 112, but hey). Given my history, they’ll be sending an ambulance to check me out. As The Missus isn’t home, I have Kid Wonder google the place she’s at, yell at someone to get him get her on the phone with The Kid, and then the ambulance shows up and while I’m trying to hold my shit together, they do some checks and decide to take to the hospital.

At the hospital, I’m quickly carted off for a CT scan, and once I’m back from that thank god there’s The Missus and the Kid. And bythepowerofgreyskull won’t you believe this fucking pain I’m in. Luckily, they got very nice drugs to take some of the edge off, so I hang on until the word comes: it looks like there’s a microscopic rupture in the interior aorta-wall. Fuck. So, about a year and a half after having surgery to prevent shit like this from happening, it looks like it’s happening anyway. Monkeyballs. I don’t want this shit. Not again. Not yet. Not now. I’m not ready for this. But I have to dance the dance anyway. They’re busy calling my regular hospital for this stuff, to see if they can take me, like, asap. They can’t. So some more calling ensues. We decide to call in my parents, because clearly, we need to get The Kid out of this. After rejected calls to hospitals in Utrecht, Amsterdam, Zwolle and Cthulhu knows where else they’ve got a place for me at Radboud UMC in Nijmegen. Well, it beats Groningen and Maastricht, but who cares. Another ambulance ride, and it’s time for more questions and off to the ICU I go. It’s 3 A.M.

Next morning, I don’t know how I feel, only that my right leg’s asleep. Which, apparently isn’t a good sign, because off to another very uncomfortable CT scan we go. Overnight, the rupture has turned into a full-blown type B dissection (down from where the aorta branches off to the left arm, or so I’m told), and the blood flow to my right leg is blocked. Several people waiting for surgery are sent home, and to the front of the queue I go.

Now, I only have this on hearsay, but I’ve been told that the part of the operation where they placed a stent (TL;DR: they put a tube in it) took the normal amount of time, but that getting all the blood-clots from my leg (and what a mighty fine leg it is, I say) took an additional three hours. They tried to wake me up, but with my blood-pressure exploding through the roof, they had to keep me under.

I recall waking up 4 A.M. the next morning. I seem to be doing fine, everything considered. Later that day, I’m moved from the ICU to the Medium Care ward. During the weekend, I made enough progress to warrant a move to a regular ward. On Thursday, I’m sent home.

That was two weeks ago, and it is getting better. Slowly. My back isn’t in its happy place, sleep could be better, I’ve lost 7 kilos, my head is all over the place, and my emotional stability is blown to pieces. The main things is that, crapdammit, I was just getting to the point where I thought that I was pretty much over last year’s operation, and then exactly the sodding thing that operation was meant to prevent happens a few centimeters further down. Without notice or anything, I’m right back at the starting point again.

I’ll just have to take it slow for a while, again. Take the time and get better. Again. And I know, I did everything right and the everybody was on it and acted quickly when necessary, and I am very grateful for everything everybody’s done. And believe me, I know it could have turned out much much worse, but still… it would have been nice if this cup would have passed me by. But it didn’t. So I have to deal with it. Again. And I will. Again.