Wall chart in the ICU.

Wall chart in the ICU.

On Monday, July 25th, I circled the drain.

Tuesday, my feet disappeared. In their place two bloated flounders of flesh throbbed. Ten stubby sausages adorned their tops.

Then, I fell in love with a girl named Maureen. No, that’s not right. Her name was Morphine.

By Wednesday morning, we were going steady.

A harem of accomplises delivered her to my bed. All I had to do was ask. I writhed under her spell.

By Thursday, my perceptions improved. ICU. A catheter drained my bladder. IVs taped to each arm fed antibiotics and saline to my body. The dread of breathlessness lay like a lead blanket across my chest.

Memories are clouded like the x-rays of my lungs: two bellows half full with the sand of infection. I swear to no degree of accuracy. Yet, I recall:

Asking my wife to call an ambulance.

Six men crowded in my bedroom, adept at EMT tasks.

One poked a needle into my left arm and drew blood. Another administered oxygen, a full mask of forced air.

Radios growled and squelched, communicating with the Hospital.

A gurney arrived and I was moved to the ambulance.

At the ER, my Doctor plucked me from the whirlpool.


I’d screwed up … bad.

Patients with Multiple Myeloma know that one of the ways it “gets” you is through opportunistic infections. MM is a cancer of the immune system. Vulnerability to the bacteria in our environment means we must assert ourselves when symptoms appear. I didn’t. The result: seven days of hospitalization.

I am home. I improve. I am walking the waterfront again. It may take weeks, but I’ll recover.

Tagged: cancer, Hood River, mortality, multiple myeloma, Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital