(Hostess’s note: Soon as Ron gets his new computer, he’ll join the crew and will be posting directly.)
And…now it’s October?
So in early September, I thought I had a bit of flu. I did not. I also thought I had some kinda muscle cramps because at one point I couldn’t hold up my own weight and slumped on to the kitchen floor. That should have been a clue, but hey, I’m getting’ old and I’m fat, so I thought it came with the territory. It did not. So when I couldn’t get off the bed, I decided to call 911 and let the ambulance take me away. What I had was Legionnaire’s disease, and my kidneys were in the process of shutting down.
Because I’m here writing this, you can take a guess that that did not happen. But, for the first time in my life at 51, I’ve spent most of the last month in a hospital room, much of the time losing fluids like crazy. The disease makes you lose those cells which provide oxygen to the muscles (hence the weakness) in pretty big numbers in an attempt to overwhelm the kidneys which would normally process them, so ‘weak as a kitten’ was the norm for me. It took quite some time to get those cells out of my system, and I’ve been getting 7-8 liters of fluid a night through an IV to jump start the kidneys and get them working again. I think at the moment they are working fairly well, but follow up visits to my docs will let me know for sure.
How did I get through it? It was hard for me at first, as I have had no hospital experience. But I got into the technical descriptions of what was occurring to me, and I bugged the docs with more questions because I wanted to know. Hell, I’d have run my own lab tests if they had let me. At one point, in a complex explanation, one of my docs said “We’re all just bunches of chemicals”, and I oddly found that reassuring. Earlier this week, they let me out, because they felt I could keep up with the demands of my kidneys just through drinking. So far so good.
But the reactions of people…that’s been something I’ve not been really ready for. For most of my life, those human interactions of warmth and support have not been in great abundance. ‘Family’ has been an abstract term to me, not a source of solace. But through this crisis, I feel more 3 dimensional, more than a bunch of chemicals…I can’t even describe it, it’s more a collection of sounds and a set of anchors to a world that exists past a hospital bed. If I had the right partner, I’d be channeling Astaire and dancing, putting it on film, and sharing it all with you.
And there are more of you than I thought possible, starting with the owner of this blog right here. Well, to be really fair, I must start with my friend Miki, who has been my fighter, my support, my rock in more ways than I can count. No matter how hard I try to write something to say how much I love and care for her as my friend (and the wacky children, too!) I get so emotional that words seem slow and ham-fisted in articulating that love. And Amba, many of the Althouse Commentariat, who only know me through comments and tweets, and friends….every single one of you is a mensch. I would name names, but some I think wish to be in the background. No matter, I know who you are and I give you as much thanks and love as I can.
For all of my flaws as a person, something I see in myself now that I’m very happy with is the desire to return the favor to each and every person among you. It’s amazing that so much love and support has come from people whom I’ve never met, and may never meet, just due to financial constraints. Thanks, cubed to all of you.
Ron, of Fluffy Stuffin’