A Can of Red Bull and a Case of Denial

So here’s what happened over the last week:

  • Worked until three a.m. Saturday at one of the two bars where I now sling drinks. Had to turn around and come back eleven hours later to work happy hour
  • Saturday morning felt a sharp pain in my chest followed by some weird breathing patterns
  • Decided that the above was due to drinking a Red Bull on top of two cups of coffee, and went to work
  • Worked one hell of a slow shift. Every time I bent over to get a beer out of the cooler, I’d cough
  • Worked until nine pm when the Manly Fireplug came by and took me down the street for Indian Food, where he noticed me acting even stranger than usual
  • Walked back to my car after dinner and realized that I couldn’t catch my breath
  • Long story a bit shorter: the Fireplug drove me to the ER
  • A couple of hours later, following some blood tests, an EKG, and a chest x-ray, they diagnose me with a spontaneous pneumothorax. In other words, my right lung had collapsed that morning, from no discernible cause
  • Given a drug that rendered me loopy, but not loopy enough to forget the part where they stuck a tube through my chest and suctioned out the air around my lung, nor could the Fireplug escape the noises I made even though he left the room
  • Sent home with a valve sticking out of my chest. Various old tire jokes ensue.
  • Come back on Monday to get the valve removed, only to discover, via x-ray, that my lung had collapsed again
  • Given a stronger drug so as to forget the part where they remove the first valve and stick in a different kind of valve, through a new hole in my chest
  • Admitted to the hospital for observation, where I’ve remained, since my lung continues to collapse when left to its own devices. We’re hoping it heals up by Friday and I can go home.
  • Reduced by pain meds to writing nothing but bullet-point lists
  • Surrounded by bags of cashews, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and Brownie Bites
  • Tethered to a machine that sounds like my own personal aquarium
  • Woke up this morning trying to remember if the sight of the Manly Fireplug getting down on one knee and proposing to me in the hospital room last night was real or a drug-induced hallucination
  • Realized that, either way, I’m glad I said “yes”

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