If I hadn’t already been convinced I was getting better, the shower and the change into clean clothes would have done it.
My stomach was still enlarged, and I had grown disgusted with all types of food, but I’d (stupidly) pushed through a very similar situation last time I was in Japan, so I was ready to go home. It also didn’t help that my restless legs were starting to kick in.
At this point, I thought I was clearly mended, but for some reason the doctors wouldn’t let me go home. I was used to my treatments in America where I was always booted out the door ASAP, and so when the doctors continued to poke me and run test after test, I got slowly more frustrated.
After my third IV in two days (they kept rolling out of my vein), I really got impatient. And from my impatience, frustration, and restless legs spawned determination.
Determination to get out of the hospital.
Determination to escape.
Looking back, I can still remember how gunned I was to try and escape from the hospital. Everyone tells me that they don’t believe that I would have done it, and I don’t blame them. But I don’t think anyone realized just how close it came.
It actually disturbs me to think back to my mental state at the time.
I began making mental notes of all of the entrances and exits every time I went to the bathroom or was called to another meeting with the doctor. I began watching the nurses at their desk to see which direction they faced (away from or facing the exits). I thought about the quickest way to rip out my IV without pain. I thought of ways to cover my hair and disguise myself as a visitor.
In the end, I figured I would have to go past the meeting rooms rather than the patients rooms to make my escape.
After my plan started falling into order, I was called into another meeting with the doctor where he told me I was actually not getting better. In fact, I was getting worse. Antibiotics were having no effect, and I would need to be helicoptered to the mainland.
Worst case scenario, I would need to have an emergency operation. All thoughts of escape were currently halted.
The next day (morning or afternoon I have no clue), my IV rolled out of my vein again and so they left it out for 10 to 15 minutes while other preparations were made for my trip to the mainland.
My drive to escape kicked in full force. I was IV-less. I was free.
The entire time I waited for the nurse to come back with another IV, my mind was screaming for me to do it. Do it now. Just run. Make the escape. It would be easy. They would never find me in the surrounding rice paddies. Do it now.
One part of me remembers actually pushing my legs off the bed to stand. But honestly, I think I may have just imagined me doing that so many times that it was burned into my head.
Anyway, I waited too long. A friend showed up, and then the nurse came back with a new IV (but had to draw blood again first), and this time they decided to go with a bigger needle so I was ready for anything on the mainland (surgery, etc.).
The nurse prepped my left forearm and went in.
I pointed to the crook of my elbow and said, “Here”.
She said the forearm was best. So she moved over to my right forearm and tried again.
I pointed again and said, “I want it here”.
“We’ll try one more time. Sorry!” She tried my left arm again. This time, after the needle was buried, she began to push fluids in. They didn’t go in. Then she began pushing harder. And then pulling on the syringe until I yelped in pain. She had missed my vein again, and forced fluid into my arm, which then swelled up.
She looked up at me sheepishly, and I dearly hope I didn’t shoot her a look of pure death wish.
Then, she finally decided to try my elbow and got it on the first try. She stuck an ice pack on my arm, and a minute later I was transferred to a portable bed and strapped down from legs to chest.
At this point, all thoughts of escape were completely gone and replaced with the excitement of my first helicopter ride.
That excitement was then crushed when I had an oxygen mask slapped onto my face, and my bed was locked into the back of the helicopter, just under the window. Seriously, just inches under the window. I couldn’t see anything. Instead, I was forced to spend the entire ride going back and forth between staring up at a little Shimanekko sticker on the roof of the helicopter, or staring at Aaron’s face as he marveled at the scenery I was being denied. One could correctly say I was bitter.
The man in the back of the helicopter with us watched my heart rate the entire time and shot frequent worried glances my way. I mistakenly thought that he was worried I was afraid of flying, so my pride did what it could to show him that I wasn’t scared in the least. I couldn’t talk without the oxygen mask shooting air right into my eyes; therefore simply saying I wasn’t scared wasn’t an option. And so I determined that lowering my heart rate as much as possible ought to prove my lack of fear.
I then spent the entire ride eyeballing my heart rate monitor as I tried to slow my breathing as much as possible.
At one point, I got my heart rate all the way down to 112 bpm (aww, yeah! Lookit me and my bad self). I had absolutely no idea at the time that my normal resting heart rate was in the low 60s.
Once we arrived at Matsue Red Cross Hospital, I was greeted by JET’s Prefectural Advisor (thanks again, Josh!) and a colleague. They would be my translators, consultants, my help-with-anything people.
I was then wheeled straight into a couple more tests. (By this point, I had already had multiple x-rays, CT scans, CT scans on certain drugs, internal and external ultrasounds, and urine, stool, and blood tests, etc.) I think this was about the time that we also discovered that I couldn’t have MRI’s because I apparently have a staple in my stomach from when my appendix burst.
I am eternally thankful we discovered this fact before I had an MRI. *cringes*
And then it was the waiting game. I lay on a table/bed and chatted with Josh and his colleague, I honestly can’t remember about what, everything is a little blurry, and after a couple minutes, the doctors returned.
I needed an emergency operation. And fast.
Well, I’m hungry now. Tune in next time for part 3.