SO IT GOES 25TH Jan 2015
I carry your heart, here with me. I carry it in my heart. E.E Cummings
They let me out of hospital at 5pm on Saturday. I have only been in overnight, I think, no need to let it ruin my spirits.
‘’Now, remember to arrive at the dialysis ward a bit before 8am, tomorrow.’’ A doctor tells me. He is handsome and I try not to blush as he talks to me.
Leong drives us to my house so we can pack some of my things. I grab more underwear and books. Even though it is closer to the hospital at my place. I push for his place as I want to feel comfortable and not worry about bumping into Sojo. His house is on a quiet and beautiful tree lined street in Camberwell. Giant houses are everywhere. His share house is the rundown butcharming place. His room is a mess but not dirty. His bed has no clean (or even dirty) bedding on it so he makes up the bed and I tidy up a bit. How easy it is to fall back into intimacy.
He makes nachos for dinner. Not your average ones. These are healthy with organic corn chips, cherry tomatoes, lentils, sour cream and avocado and cheese. We eat them while sitting on his freshly made bed and watching an old cartoon from the 90s that we remember loving; Rocko’s Modern Life. I had not slept well while in a hospital room with Henry as he snored very loudly all through the night. I fall asleep in Leong’s clean bed. The wind outside is cool and blows through the tress out on the street. Leong watches me for a little while as he worried I may turn on to the side where the permacath is and wake up in pain.
When the alarm goes off at 6:30am on Sunday morning. There is little to no traffic on the way to the hospital. We consider this a good sign for the day. We get take away coffee and chocolate croissants from a café on the way there. For plasma exchange procedure you do not need to skip food.
The Dialysis and plasma exchange ward is only open from 8am to 4pm. The nurses station is situated in the centre of the room and around it are these big adjustable fake leather armchairs. Above each armchair is a television so the people getting dialysis or plasma exchange can be entertained. I consider asking about the possibility of putting in a bookcase full of books, a give a book to take a book set up, might be nice, I think. The nurse who greets me is tall with curly hair. She smiles at me and I see that she is quite beautiful. ‘’Hello, sweetie.’’ She says with an accent that makes me think of beaches and
Salty waves. That could be because a strange feeling jas started to form in my chest. I get into one of the big arm chairs and the nurse adjusts the chair so I am lying down almost. It is at this point that it happens. My heart starts throbbing in my chest again. Leong is sitting next to me holding my hand. I squeeze hard and try to sit up in the chair. I keep slipping around. ‘’My heart is trying to escape again.’’ I say to him.
My nurse stops setting up the plasma exchange machine and looks at me with concern. A cardiologist is paged to the ward. I continue to feel my heart throbbing. There are no separate heart beats when it gets like this. The heart like a hummingbird strikes again, I think. When the cardiologist gets here he is an Indian man in a red and white pinstripe button up shirt and black trousers. He takes my pulse. He lets go of my wrist and says to the nurse, ‘’I’m going to call it.’’
In my head filled with silly television that I never watch, I think that that means I must be dead. I am not dead, I think with indignation.
‘’I am not dead.’’ I say.
‘’We know your not.’’ My nurse says. I hear the cardiologist say over the PA, ‘’Met call to dialysis. Met call to Dialysis.’’ I have no idea what to expect.
As if in seconds they all rush in and surround me in the arm chair. There are 9 specialists and they all have a job to do. Leong’s hand slips from mine and he is led out of the ward. He needs to be out of the way for this. As he goes he hears me say, ‘’OK. I do not want to to be special anymore. This can all go away now.’’
There are more than one nurse now. Someone else slips their hand into mine and sqeazes. The hand holder tells me. ‘’Well, you’re going to be special a bit longer. So, hang in there.’’ They connect me again to an ECG machine. A good one this time. Everyone seems sufficiently horrified by my heart rate and discussion in regards to what to do start. These weird heart hummers I have had since high school, are finally given a name; Supraventricular tachycardia.
There is another specialist chatting with my original cardiologist; Dr Hussien. The other doctor is quite young also and has green eyes. He is called Chris. Chris squats down and to speak to me. ‘’Hey there, Jess. Causing a bit of trouble aren’t you?’’
‘’I just wanted some attention.’’ I say.
‘’I am going to put a cannula in your arm so we can give you some medicine for your heart, OK?’’
‘’OK.’’ I say.
Chris puts some of that padded gauze down on the chair arm, under my right arm. He gets the needle and swabs my inner arm. He finds the nice plump vein there and sticks in the cannula. It hurts only a bit and I stare upwards to stay calm.
‘’Oh, dear.’’ Chris says. ‘’I’ve made a bit of a mess.’’
I start to laugh as I look at my arm. On the padded gauze is a largish red stain and Chris is using cotton balls to wipe the spilled bood from my arm.
‘Oh, Chris.’’ I sigh dramatically. ‘’Why so careless?’’
‘’I am removing all the evidence. So, if you tell. I will say you are crazy and have you admitted into the psych ward.’’ His green eyes are sparkling and he is smiling. I laugh again. ‘’Hey? What does the word Cannula actually mean?’’
Chris tells me it is from the latin word that means Little reed.’’ I assume because it is a funnel or ‘reed’ that helps the transfere of medicine and fluids.
Yeah I get fleeting crushes on medical staff quite often.
‘’We are just going to give you a small amount of this as it is very strong and we are not sure how you will react.’’ Dr, Hussein tells me. ‘’You will feel quite ill but it will only last a little while, seconds even.’’
I nod. All the while my heart has been humming along quite agitated.
Chris connects the needle into my cannula and presses the fluid in. It is instant the feeling. It washes over me like a wave of sickness. I feel like I am about to vomit and die. I flows through my insides and leaves not one tiny space free from the unpleasant weirdness. J
Then, just as quickly, it‘s over. My heart resumes a regular beat. The medical staff gathered around me all breath a sigh of relief. The ECG shows evidence of the a regular heart beat.
‘’Oh, wow.’’ I say as the nurse puts my chair up into a sitting position.
That was my first experience of the drug: adenosine.
Leong is allowed back in the ward and he takes his place by the side of my arm chair. Most of the heart people leave and take the ECG machine with them. Dr, Hussien stays and asks me a fe questions about my transplant. ‘’We are going to keep you in and observe you some more. We need to ensure that your heart is strong enough for the transplant.’’
I nod and gulp in some air. I was meant to come in for the transplant on Tuesday. It is Sunday. It is not that much extra time. It still upsets me, though. I had plans. I was going to pack my hospital bag myself. I was going to pack my books and stuff, while listening to music and rallying every speck of bravery I could. It is all happening without any control given to me. Even the little things that were keeping me sane. I get no say in any of this. I have to hand it over and go with the flow.
I still get a pissed off.
- A lot.
My phone beeps and it Ace.
HEY! IT IS ALMOST THE DAY! Hope everything is going well!
‘’It is not going well, at ALL!’’ I say and throw my phone down into my lap.
How dare he be jovial at such a time as this. I think with all the logic of a person who is stressed and angry. A person as impulsive as I am.
Leong picks my phone up from the side of my chair. He looks at me with questioning eyes.
‘’Go ahead and read it.’’ I say.
He does and looks at me. ‘’He means well.’’ Leong says.
Ugh, logic again! I have had enough of this. But, he is right and my illogical rage simmers to a stand still.
I text back that it is not going to plan and that my heart went nuts and they gave me a drug that stopped it beating in order to restart it.
I didn’t think anything could slow down that heart of yours. He yexts back. This makes me smile. I put my phone down and it starts again. I grab Leong’s hand. My heart is thudding and thrumming again like it never stopped. ‘’Its happening again.’’ I say to Leong. A different and older doctor is called by the nurses. He comes and gets me to do some excersises that are meant to make the heart slow down. He makes me cough. It does not help. He gently takes my face in his hands and turns my head to the right until it hurts. This does not work.
‘’Jess.’’ Leong says. ‘’Look at me.’’ I turn my head slightly to the left and look down intop his face. I look into his dark eyes.
‘’Its not working.’’ I say as I start to cry. The older doctor makes another MET Call. My second in one hour. All the same people come rushing into the dialysis ward. I get another dose of Adenasine. It washes over me in a stronger wave the second time. The nine medical professionals all crowd around and look down at me with concerned expressions. It was scary enough giving me the drug the first time. When it is over and I try to sit up. They all look relieved.
‘’That was a good one.’’ I heard a doctor say. Someone else said. ‘’It was all in her facial expression.’’
Oh god. I think. I hope it was not an orgasm type of expression. No body needs to see that.
The doctors that were with me the first time around start talking to me to make sure everything is alright. A nurse takes my blood pressure and they start to get ready to carry out the original reason for my visit; my first plasma exchange. Dr Hussien tells me. ‘’Being a doctor you get to treat a lot of patients but you rarely get to see the full extent of your success. With Adenasine, its a greatly satisfying medication to give. It works instantly.’’
After plasma exchange I am moved to the cardio ward. I am given my own room. There is a framed print of a rooster in a field.