5/21/09

I'm ALIVE!

I'm BA-ACK!!


You may/may not have heard that my appendix decided to commit suicide and rupture in my precious body.It all started last Monday. I was here at my office on West 22nd st when I started to feel...a bit off. My mind flashed to the day before, which was Mother's Day. "Hmm, what did I eat...what did Kelly eat yesterday?" Many, many things came to mind as I had decided that Mother's Day was my last full day of eating before my crash diet began on Monday. Cold cuts, Peppermint Patties, tuna, Sour Patch kids, old Passover candy I forgot I had bought...the list was long. I tried to stick it out at work for as long as possible, but when I started vomiting in the company restroom, I resigned myself to using a precious sick day. I headed outside where I promptly hailed a cab, hurled in a cab, and was questioned about the possibility of my having swine flu from the driver.

On Tuesday the decision was made to go to the ER. Mother came up to "Spanish Harlem" (or what she calls my Brooklyn enclave. Clearly not Harlem.) and took me to the ER. I had spoken with my doc from NYU. She advised me to head quickly to their famed emergency room. I googled "NYU ER", wrote down the first address that I saw and hightailed it to the east side of Manhattan, clutching a tupperware for puke the whole way.

We pulled up to Bellevue-NYU Hospital. In my drug-addled, dehydrated, hallucinating state, I didn't connect the name Bellevue to the notorious hospital that it was. Big mistake. Once there, I was directed to the pediatrics ER, even as I argued that I was an adult. ("I'm a grown up! A real girl!") But apparently the peds ER is also for "young adults" up to the age of 25. And thank God for that! The scary "adult" ER held all sorts of committed Bellevue prisoners, who were defecating on themselves and slurring at me. After a few hours, I went for a CAT scan down the hall and couldn't help but notice the scan room was right next to the New York City Department of Corrections. They brought a prisoner out and I got so excited. Just like on Law and Order! The prisoner even yelled at me and said "you'll be seeing me on the fucking news tonight." I made a mental note to tune in.

To my great dismay, I wasn't able to tune in as it was decided that I indeed had appendicitis. I spent the next four hours waiting to be taken to surgery. (Apparently gunshots and life-crushing tumors are more important than my suicidal organ.)

After they popped old appy out, I spent the next four to five days in the hospital. I ate Jell-O, accumulated numerous brusies from repeated injections, and learned Bangladesh (Bengali) from my neighbor (apparently screaming AH-EYYYY! means Get me out of here, I'm dying).

One morning I woke up and a woman in a sari was staring over my body, attempting to extricate my Blackberry from my cold, dead hands. Now, I didn't really have a TV (see picture. It was from circa 1973, and I believe it was the first TV ever created. It also barely worked and you had to pay $5 a day to use it. I love Bellevue.) and my Blackberry was my lifeline. This woman, who I presume was the daughter of my Bangladesh bunkmate, mumbled in broken English that her phone was broken and she thought she could just "take" mine. Now I'm sorry. But this America. I DON'T SHARE MY DAMN BLACKBERRY. I told her to take a hike and ask the nurse. I would have felt bad, but her mother was a real faker. Crying that much over kidney stones? I've had them. I've seen worse. Grow a pair, Bangla!

Fortunately she was dismissed from the hospital on Saturday, and I was finally allowed to leave on Sunday morning. Apparently I kept spiking fevers and infections so they kept me for five nights! I probably picked up the fever from Bangla or the many prisoners who would roam the hall. My dad claims that I hallucinated this in my fog of Morphine (I. love. drugs.) but I swear one asked me for a cigarette to sell. I know how things work in prison! I've read the memoirs!

All in all, staying in the hospital pretty much blows. I don't know where I got the romantic idea in my head that it'd be "fun" to stay in the hospital for a few days. It's no Club Med. Sure, I got to miss work. But they woke me up at 6 am anyway to poke at my belly. They also served really questionable food. The picture seen here is their "gourmet" dinner: eggplant parm, half cooked noodles, and some green substance that my mother called spinach. I'd have sooner ate one of Bangla's beads (which looked like they were made of pasta. Or her kidney stones.). But I had tons of nice visitors who appropriately enough brought gifts. I nearly died (nope, not even close) and I obviously deserved a couple of free gifts. Gen brought a balloon that said "Get Well Grandpa". This entertained her for her visit. And Brenna brought the best gift of all: laughter. When she came in and nearly fainted/threw up at the sight of my needles, I laughed so hard I almost busted my stitches.

As most things are, my hospital stay was a learning experience for me. Here are some things I learned from this latest go around:

1) Do not invite prisoners into your bed, even if they look like a young Montel Williams.
2) Don't mix NyQuil and ExLax.
3) Hospital gowns really do open at the back. Wear your best underwear at all times.
4) Always shower before going to the ER. It may be your last shower for awhile. (My parents can attest to the scent.)
5) Get a Twitter account and make sure everyone knows you're on your deathbed. You will receive a copious amount of gifts.

Thanks to everyone who called/ sent stuff (I especially enjoyed the Pookie books my aunt and uncle sent. Apparently Pookie is a pig, to which I can only say: fitting.)

Till the next time...

BERGIN OUT.


5/5/09

the kindness of others (or, the perks of cancer)

Hi Kelly,

This offer is for six months of free, unlimited yoga Strala Yoga at 178 5th Avenue. Because this is a valuable donation, we need you to confirm that you would take full advantage of this offer, and attend at least one class per week for the six months. If this isn't something you can commit to, we will happily put you on a wait list for a different pass (such as a 20-class pass), or one that better suits your schedule.

If you decide to take this opportunity, we need you to complete a 20-minute pre-program phone survey before starting class (there will also be a follow-up survey at 10-weeks).

Hope to hear from you soon!

-------

amazing.

thanks to glamour magazine.


5/4/09

The Itches

Every so often, my body plans a rebellion against all the medicine, fried food and alcohol I force into it. The Cells gather and have a conference. They decide against mouth sores (we just did that last week!) and go with one of their favorites: let's make her itch. The Cells must have some kind of feud going with my skin, as they are quite likely to attack it. Sometimes it's through a mountain range of perfectly formed zits; other times, it's through the itches.

These aren't your normal, mosquito bite itches. They feel like they are coming from inside, like a plant bud pushing it's way to the surface. They're sudden, and pinching, and itchy as all hell. Clearly whoever coined the phrase "mind over matter" has never had the itches like that. I've meditated, done my "yoga breaths" and even hummed CHURCH songs, but to no avail. (Thanks a lot, Jesus.) They just don't stop.

I would try to figure out which of the pills are making me itch, but stopping one or the other for a couple of days just isn't an option. So I browse Web MD, finding each medicine and reading its side effects. I then make a detour and type in one of my random symptoms in the search bar, just to make sure I'm going to get cancer again. Unfortunately, almost every medicine I take lists "itchiness" as a side effect, so I log off Web Md, and lay in my bed. Still. Very still.

Ten seconds later, I go on my computer, read some inane celebrity tidbit, watch an episode of "Friends" to help me fall asleep, and drift off.

Ten minutes later, my eyes pop open, and I scratch. My arms, my legs, my armpits. No body part is immune to the itch, and sometimes my feet feel like they are being tickled. I DON'T LIKE BEING TICKLED.

At this point I'm ready to scream "UNCLE! MONKEY!" or whatever you say when you want something to really, really stop.

But it doesn't.

And I itch, bitch and twitch until I finally, finally fall asleep.