While I waited for the shift change to happen I just “cooled my heels” in the emergency room. Actually, this is more true than you would think. When I left the house all I had on was a thin pair of shorts, undershirt, and boxers. Nothing else.

In case anyone doubts it, I’ll state it here. This is NOT how you wish to be dressed when in the hospital. Hospitals are COLD. This is only exacerbated by the fact that they will have you remove your shirt in order to put the probes/sensors on your skin. I couldn’t put my shirt back on while I was hooked up, so I laid the paper-thin gown over my chest in hopes to try to retain a little body heat.

Somewhere along the line one of the nurses asked when the last time I had eaten. I informed them it had probably been about 36 hours since I ate. A turkey sandwich and sprite showed up a couple of minutes later. I was able to choke down around 3 bites. I’ve never really been a fan of turkey anyway, and this was just bread and turkey. Pretty dry. =/ I was very eager to get the sprite into my system though. It disappeared in short order.

Unfortunately, I started feeling queasy right away. Everything came up again within 5 minutes. I decided eating was over-rated. I laid back and closed my eyes. I was hoping to try to get a few moments of sleep, despite the poison coursing through my system at that moment. Fat chance. My IV was also starting to sting. I fiddled with it, but it was secured pretty well with a clear sticker-thing.

At around quarter to 6 I met my “sitter”. A very nice black woman, whose name escapes me at the moment I’m afraid. We discussed things briefly, just mainly to get past the initial awkwardness of “Hi, I’m here to watch you because you did something tremendously stupid, and the hospital can’t afford to risk you trying something again.”

Shortly thereafter I was wheeled up to my room, with my new best friend in tow. I’m not sure why, but the sensation of smoothly gliding through the hallways was oddly luxurious. Perhaps because it’s one of the few times I’ve traveled without being in control or using my own power. Perhaps it evokes a memory of being an infant in a stroller, safe and secure. *shrug*

A short elevator ride and some hallways later, and I was wheeled into my room. The nurses aid helped me transfer into the bed and.. uh-oh. I had a feeling of “messing myself”. Not fun. With a large amount of embarrassment, I explained what had happened. The nurse checked my rear and said she didn’t see anything. That was a relief.

They fitted me with a new gown, attached a wireless telemetry tracker to my sensors, and stuck it in pocket it was designed for. This pocket also happened to be smack dab in the middle of my chest. I was also fitted with a purple colored wrist band (more on that later). They then proceeded to try to make me comfortable. Ahhh, slipper-socks and two blankets. Wonderful!

My sitter asked if I wanted to watch TV. I wasn’t really in the mood, but didn’t mind if she wanted to watch something. I really wanted to reflect on the events of the past two days.

I felt tremendously stupid, which I guess was healthy. I couldn’t believe I was still alive. I realized there was no medical reason for me to still be drawing breath. I had taken enough caffeine powder to kill me several times over, yet I was alive, awake, and alert.

I had probably been laying there thinking for about 15-20 minutes when I received a surprise. My bishop and another member of my church had come to check on me. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the LDS leadership structure, the bishop can be most equated to a pastor in most other faiths. There is only one in charge of the local congregation.

How did he know I was in the hospital?? I remember the intake nurses asking if I had a religious affiliation, and I answered “LDS.. Mormon”. Perhaps they had contacted him? No, my mother had contacted him. Groan. While I knew I was going to have to talk to them about what had happened, I wasn’t expecting the wheels to move this quickly.

We exchanged small talk for a few minutes, then I asked for what we all knew I needed. “Would you mind giving me a blessing?” Once again, for those not of the LDS faith, holders of the priesthood are able to give blessings of comfort, of health, etc. They anointed my head with a few drops of consecrated oil and gave me a blessing. I still don’t remember what was said, but I remember that when they removed their hands from my head, my eyes were starting to tear up.

Before the Bishop left he asked if he had my permission to tell my parents about everything. At first I just wanted him to tell them about my chemical pneumonia, and I would talk to them about everything else. But after a couple of seconds I decided that I was tired of hiding things from my loved ones. Yeah, he could tell them everything.

Shortly after the Bishop left, I was served dinner. Salisbury steak, green beans, coffee, and pudding. Ugh. After my experience with the turkey sandwich, I knew this was the last thing I needed. My digestive system was in severe shock, and rich foods like this would just be asking for me to up-chuck again. I didn’t have any of it.

In the meantime, the nurses and doctors were visiting me. They put something in my IV to help with the nausea, as I was still spitting up bile from time to time. I watched a little TV, but mainly I was replaying the previous day in my head. I was feeling tremendously lucky to be alive. No, I decided, I wasn’t lucky. I was blessed.

You have to understand, I pride myself on being analytical. I like it when the peg fits in the hole. Everything must line up, nice and neat. This was none of those things. I SHOULD be dead. By all that’s right, I should have been a corpse.

Please understand, I’m not one to throw around a term like “miracle” lightly. But this was an honest to God, according to Hoyle Miracle. To quote Quentin Tarantino “God came down from heaven and stopped these motherfucking bullets.” I shot one hell of a bullet at myself, and I lived beyond.

These thoughts would probably have kept bouncing around in my head and kept me awake, but thankfully a nurse came in and asked if I’d like something to help me sleep. A wonderful idea. I gladly swallowed the pill she gave me. A short time later sweet merciful sleep took me.

Next Post: Stephen starts to heal and confirms to friends and family that he’s a moron.