Hospitals can be funny places.




      Hospitals can be funny places. Like…really funny.


      Here’s what came my way today:



      A rectal swab


      2. A blood draw (from my right arm, when I already have a PICC line in my left)


      3. A hospital gown


      4. After totally “fixing up” my standard hospital room –with an expectation of living here for 6 weeks—a nurse waking me out of a deep slumber to TRY to move me to a much smaller room on what is known as the shittiest floor here at Cedars ‘Sinai.


      What really gets me, is that with as much training and medical knowledge these health professionals have, they seemingly ALMOST ALWAYS skip over how a patient FEELS.


      Up until today –and as I’ve been writing—I hadn’t yet decided if I was going to put my heart into fighting a “situation ”I’ve been given less-than-good odds on. Due to an excellent day –pain aside—I started to make a decision. Outwardly, I bonded with the staff here on the 8th floor, from the Chaplain and the Nutritionist to the PICC Line Tech and the nurses who are assigned to me. Internally –and although nothing had changed in the prognosis—it finally started to hit home that I do indeed have the strength within me to fight and beat this thing.


      Back to the nurses and their lack of training in matters of the mind and heart. I battled with a nurse over remaining in my own clothes (board shorts and a comfortable old T-shirt) rather than put on their flimsy gown. I am a 51 year old man who is scared for his life; who is disgusted with how his body has “transformed” over these past few months; who cannot “perform” because just about every little movement makes me shout out in pain and now, to complete the process of emasculating me completely…they want to make we wear a dress?!?.


      Me: “A rectal swab?” Nurse: “Uh-huh” Me: “Why?” Nurse: “Because, uh, that’s what we do.” Me: “Nah, I’m sorry, that explanation’s not gonna suffice. Did my Doctor order it?” Nurse: “Uh, um, I don’t know.” Me: “Okay then, well, we’re gonna pass on that one.” Nurse: “But I really need it.” Me: “YOU need it? What, are you on commission or something?”


      A different Nurse came in and wanted to do a blood draw for a complete C panel. Why, I’m not so sure. Generally, I’ll go way above and beyond to discern exactly why, because I am what the medical profession calls “a hard stick.” It simply means that as vascular as I can appear at times, it is really hard for a technician to get a needle into one of my veins. From ages 16-19, I battled Stage 4 testicular Cancer with metastases to both lungs. They administered to me a chemotherapy protocol to end all protocols. It was so aggressive, so advanced, so poisonous…so VISCIOUS really, that the chemo nearly killed me on many occasions (forget the Cancer! ). Anyways, once the ordeal was over and I was pronounced in remission, I sat down to “figure out” roughly how many times a needle had pierced my body during the course of my treatment. I came up with a whopping total of 4000+! (no, just to insure you don’t think I made a typo, let me write that out…four thousand) All these years later, my veins are “scarred” and even a GREAT tech can count on 5-6 attempts before hitting home. One thing I’ve found is that the vast majority of nurses and techs just don’t register how emotionally traumatizing this can be to a patient who clung to life for 3 years while being turned into a human pin cushion. With the nurse that wanted to stick me today, I simply indicated that I have a PICC line installed in my left arm, and that she could get blood from that. She knew of the PICC line and had heard from her team here on the 8th floor that it was being a bit “temperamental.” True enough. BUT a PICC nurse had been in a couple hours earlier and had made some adjustments that put it back into decent working order. I had to “debate” this with the nurse.




      Although I was in very severe pain for a lion’s share of the day today…I got A LOT done. Having been here since Sunday, I am settled into the hospital, and have made it my “home” for the next several weeks. I have my photos up, my Buddha corner laid out, my clothing, supplements and other miscellaneous either perfectly put away or displayed to good effect. Hell, even the UPW title belt rests comfortably on the window ledge, on which the top portion is open! (Yes! “Fresh air” in the hospital; try getting THAT on the 7th floor). Room 8006 is not going to win any awards from Architectural Digest, but, as odd as this may sound…it’s home. I laid a nice cloth cover on the couch today, and worked comfortably from that couch for a period of 3 to 4 hours (before I stood up and nearly died from the pain, but that’s a whole different story)I’ve got my cell phone and laptop chargers exactly where I want them and cords taped, for easy access in those moments where I just can’t move. Anyways, enough details; like I said, I’m not going to win any design awards, but…I feel good. I even told a couple of close friends with whom I spoke today that I AM GOING TO FIGHT –AND BEAT—THIS THING.


      My friends were happy to hear this, because as this condition has worsened and continued to kick my ass to progressively lower depths, I have told many that I just wasn’t sure I had the heart to give it the fight it called for. As many of you know…THAT’S A FIRST FOR ME.


      I put in a 13 hour work day today! Far longer than any day since June. I’d intermittently look up and around, and take in the perfect space I made for Ramone and GoGo for their visits, at the table I set up to hold the guest book all my visitors are signing, etc. etc. All the seating that would accommodate the groups of LARGE friend who I believe are coming to see me.


      Although I knew my babies were coming, I could hold my eyes open no longer. I fell into a badly-needed, (good)dream-filled, deep sleep at about 8:30. At about 8:40, I was abruptly woken by a nurse who told me they were moving my room to the 7th Floor. She gave the following as her rationale: Floor 8 is for surgical patients, and as my surgery had been put off for a couple-few weeks while I’m administered antibiotics, I’m no longer a surgical patient. I get “rules.” Hell, I worked for The Walt Disney Company; of course I understand rules. But, are rules always to be administered to the letter, especially when there are special circumstances? Like in this case, empty rooms on the 8th floor. The fact that I have bonded with the staff here and have in my mind and heart, made them part of my “family” that’s going to keep me mentally and emotionally strong. Or the Nutritionist, who works ONLY the 8th floor, who is working up for me and monitoring a diet constructed to fight infection. And how about that nice couch? The one I worked on today, and the one that my MANY GIANT friends who are coming to visit will likely sit on. The 7th floor rooms are about half the size of this one I’m in now. No refrigerator, no couch (in fact, only ONE guest chair in the tiny hovel, as compared to 3 nice ones in here, IN ADDITION TO the couch).


      So, here’s what came out of my four hospital “challenges” today:


      1. NO rectal swab. (I told them that if they could find a really hot nurse, I’d reconsider)


      2. The nurse “figured out” how to get my PICC line going and pulled blood from that.


      3. NO hospital gown! I am wearing my super soft brown V-neck T-shirt and equally worn white Calvin Klein “pajama” pants


      4. MY Room……..


    You know, I can only imagine how this message must read to some of you, or how it would have read to me, when I was travelling the globe, hanging out with awesome friends and famous people, and making lots of cash. It would seem simple and petty and I recognize that. But, the fact is…my “world” is very small at this time. And the physical part of it is going to remain that way until I either beat this thing or call it a day. I KNOW there is a HUGE world out there, much of which I can access in my brain at any given moment. I finally, just today, (metaphorically) smacked myself upside my head and TOLD MYSELF I WAS GONNA MAKE IT. Is to too much to ask that my tiny world gets no tinier, especially until I process this “thing” (THIS FUC*ING HORRIBLE THING!!) and put myself on the proper road. IS it too much to ask?


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