Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Leaving New York, never easy

So, we’re back from New York. Did I miss anything? Keeping up with real news is very difficult in the US. They covered the sailors being released, but since then their media seems to have been obsessed with this story. Why? Perhaps any American readers can elucidate? I’m only barely aware of who Don Imus is, why is this such big news? For the last two days of our stay CNN seemed to cover nothing else. For British readers who haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, cast your mind back to the fuss a few years ago when Robert Kilroy-Silk caused a stink with his ignorant comments about “Arabs” and his programme was taken off air. Now imagine that the mainstream media at the time talked about nothing else for days on end and you get the picture. Baffling.

Banal news coverage aside, we had an excellent time. Freezing cold weather all weekend didn’t help, but never mind. Being taken to hospital in an ambulance early on Monday morning wasn’t exactly in the itinerary, either. I was awoken at 6am with unbearable pain in my stomach, chest and back and had difficulty breathing. A further, more extreme, episode approximately one hour later resulted in Lady Sane calling 911. I didn’t know what was going on, but it felt rather like what I expect a heart attack would feel like. So fifteen minutes later we’re in an ambulance and headed for St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center on West 12th Street. And here I stayed for the next twelve hours in their emergency room. A series of further bursts of agony occurred between 11am and midday, which was good in a way because up until that point I was beginning to think they didn’t believe me, seeing as I had exhibited no symptoms whatsoever since arriving. I have never been in so much pain in my entire life – it was kind of like all the muscles in my upper body had turned to concrete, rendering me immobile and on the verge of hyperventilation. Each attack would last two or three minutes but would feel like several hours. A couple of shots of morphine later and I was feeling much, much better. I was given a litre of red liquid to drink and was told that I was going for a CAT scan. Lady Sane was there with me throughout, a pillar of strength as always (although worried sick).

To cut a long story short, the CAT scan showed nothing sinister and they believe the episodes were caused by a viral infection in the bowel and an inflamed colon going into spasm. I was prescribed antacids and finally discharged at 8pm. Not exactly how I’d planned to spend our penultimate day in New York, but I was so relieved that there was nothing seriously wrong with me I didn’t care. Knowing now that it was something trivial, it seems rather silly to have spent the whole day in ER. But at the time, when I had no idea what was wrong, I was scared shitless. As was Lady Sane, her sister (also in NYC for the weekend) and my family back home.

It struck me how we take our health for granted and that you cannot appreciate the joy of not being in crippling pain until you’ve experienced a dose of it. Thankfully, mine was short-lived, but it’s certainly made me less complacent and thankful I am generally in good working order. The medical staff that treated me were brilliant (although the nurses in ER are a bit scary – I suppose they have to be) and it was interesting to contrast the experience with British hospitals. It seems to me that, regardless of whether the hospital is privately or state funded, it will be understaffed, over-stretched and its patients subjected to long delays. Still, I did enjoy that morphine….

9 comments:

x_trapnel said...

Sorry to hear about your holiday disaster - glad that it's nothing bad long-term, but a bummer (pardon the pun) of a thing to happen when away.
When I had morphine several years ago (post-operatively, I hasten to add), it was a massive disappointment. I kept asking for it (it was being injected via a tap in my hand) and after the third dose, was told "no more - it's starting to stop your breathing". Well, I couldn't argue with that, but it wasn't the De Quincey experience I'd been looking forward to - so I'll just have to wait until I can get to Laos or somewhere similar and have a pipe or two of opium...
All the best, and hope it doesn't re-occur.

mAc Chaos said...

Re, Imus: it's a slow, slow news week...

Updating again, by the way. So far.

James Lloyd said...

Its called trapped wind mate. And it's hardly a decent excuse for getting smacked-up. Fuck me - as bohemian, drug-fuelled weekends in New York go you're hardly up there challenging Lou Reed are you? Did you have a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake back at the hotel to come down? There's just no stopping you is there?

Citizen Sane said...

x_trapnel - I'm not sure if I was given more shots of morphine or something stronger. But the net result was a very pleasant, floaty state, not unlike smoking some high quality grass.

Mac - So I see. About time too. Not sure about your new byline picture - I preferred the old one. Not that I have any idea what either of them are.

Mr Lloyd - Stop it, your heartwarming concern is making me blush.

tafka PP said...

Glad you're feeling better. What a scare! My experience in ER in New Jersey was far less bloggable.

Maybe your viral spasms were wrought upon you by the remaining essence of Chocolate Jesus hovering over Manhattan, taking sweet revenge on all those anti-religion posts you've churned out over the years?

mAc Chaos said...

Not sure about your new byline picture - I preferred the old one. Not that I have any idea what either of them are.

I changed it back. The newer picture got too scrunched up.

Arg, I didn't want to post about Imus but now it's spiraled into a matter that's engaging all different sectors of politics like racial tensions and whatnot.

Citizen Sane said...

So this Imus guy, what's he all about? I recognised him because he's kind of iconic with that dumb cowboy hat he wears. What's his story? Is he just some right wing "shock jock" fuckwit?

And what the hell does "nappy-headed" mean anyway? In the UK, nappy means diaper...

tafka PP said...

Ah, you need more American friends! Nappy-Headed is a dated and derogatory slavery reference. And Don Imus is apparently the 2nd Shock-Jock in command after Howard Stern.

mAc Chaos said...

"Nappy headed" refers to that braided look many black women have.

The whole thing is an overblown farce. Nobody cares about Imus' kind of talk before, and nobody cared after, except the ones making all the noise. He's a shock jock, he's a radio guy that's "working class" and although a dedicated liberal still has a blue collar attitude, etc.

The Rutgers girls were upset, the media got upset, everybody got upset and then he got a suspension before being fired from both jobs. The hilarious part is how random it was; his schtick was well known and tolerated for decades. Democrats went on his show all the time, after all.

In any case, the reason that it all seems so contrived is because it is: Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are the last people to be lecturing anybody on racism; this is just the beginning of an attack on talk radio, and the conservatives who dominate it. Leftists and Democrats for the longest time have yearned for the return of the "Fairness Doctrine" which essentially classifies all conservative talk as obsenity and will allow the media waves to return to the pre-80s liberal dominance that existed before the rise of alternative media outlets such as the internet, radio, etc., which is being targeted for regulation. Don't be surprised when others are targeted after Imus to "clean up the airwaves." And to make it all the more clear, Sharpton himself said it's only the beginning.

If it seems like all this was rushed, that's because I'm just about to head out.