So I am fully aware that I have been M.I.A. for well over a month but like I said life can get kind of boring when you’re just sitting at home and the highlight of the day is your exercise routine. Well on August 18th I finally took part in something worthy of a blog post. Those that follow my facebook page are quite aware, but for the others it was my first trip to yankee stadium post transplant. This however, was no ordinary trip to yankee stadium as it was a day where I would be honored and organ donation would be the theme of the day. I was allowed to bring 24 people with me and enjoy the fine amenities of a new York Yankees luxury suite with all of them. Some notable people I brought along were two nurses, my transplant doctor, and another heart transplant patient. So this day would have just been special being that I got to spend time in a suite watching the greatest baseball team of all time while being with friends and family; but the Yankees being the Yankees took things to a much grander scale. Every person that walked into the stadium was given a donor card and boxes were placed all over the stadium so people could drop in their cards having signed up to be a donor. Being that this blog has been used to spread the word on the importance of organ donation it was amazing to see this being done on such a large scale. Again that would have been enough, but nope the Yankees still felt the need to do more. Like bring me down on the field and honor me as a special guest, place me on the big screen, and tell my story for the whole stadium to hear. Not to mention give me a jersey signed by the whole team, let me meet players, chill in the dugout, and bring out the lineup card…no big deal right? So from there it was time to enjoy the game up in the suite with all the people I love, but again the Yankees weren’t done. While being in there Graig Nettles decided to pay a visit to our suite and say hi to everyone and sign autographs and take pics, and then later on a member of the staff brought me up 1st base from the game we were watching. Pretty darn amazing day I would have to say. So a lot of people have asked me what was the best part about that day? Well I have had many different answers from standing with CC Sabathia during the national anthem, or fist bumping Jeter as I left through the dugout, or chillin with AROD for 5 min but none of those were actually the best part. The best part was being there knowing that one conversation I had with Joe Girardi while being hospitalized led the Yankees to have an entire day dedicated to organ donation. Along with that was being able to stand down on the field and look up at all my friends and family up in the suite and see how excited they were not only to be there but for me as well and what I was getting to participate in. One last part that really made the day special was bringing Jose the other transplant patient. I have always said that I am not the only person getting transplants and I don’t need any special treatment, although I wrote a kickass blog that led to this, I still like knowing I can help others as well. Well bringing him and then being able to present him with a ball that I got AROD and Cano to sign while I was down on the field made that day even more special than it already was. So there it is, finally a day worth blogging about and a day all about organ donation which is even better all thanks to Debbie Tymon the Senior VP of marketing for the New York Yankees that made this all possible and so amazing. So now it’s back to the usual days filled with exercise and late nights filled with television, but I am golfing again which is definitely a plus. There is a biopsy on Tuesday so hopefully the amount of steroids continues to decrease and my facial fatness will continue to subside so my younger sister can stop calling me puff pastry. I will try and post the video so you can see how awesome that day at yankee stadium really was. So until next time..Big gulps ey?…Welp cya later!
Normal life hits and along with it comes writer’s block. When you’re living a crazy hospital life that is so far from the norm it is easy to find stuff to talk about and tell the world about. However, even as I sat in the hospital I started to run out of stuff to talk about. Right about when I had my Brett Favre moment and now I sit as speechless as ever. The thing about me being speechless is that it is a very good thing. The reason I am speechless is because my life is back to its boring self and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Now is my life normal? Well no it never will be, as most of you probably aren’t traveling to the hospital constantly to have a damn tiny alligator mouth bite pieces of your hearts off to be studied on a now bi-weekly basis, but when it comes down to it yea I would say it is pretty close to normal. Now most of my friends are working and so I spend my days at home and must entertain myself. Well although boring at times it still beats a hospital room any day of the week. So what is a typical day like in this post-heart transplant patient’s life? Well excluding those heart biopsy days my days are all pretty much the same unless something special comes up…like my sweet trip to Yankee Stadium coming August 18th…yeaaaa budddyyy! Anyways so a normal day is a wake up roughly around 6 am now, but then falling back to sleep till 8. At this point it is honey nut cheerios time..which rumor has it is good for your cholesterol so I am all about it. Breakfast is always followed with dessert. Yes I do have dessert with my breakfast in the form of about 10 pills or so. Then it’s time for a workout because this skinny bod needs to gain some weight in the form of muscle that I was never allowed to have my whole life. A work out comes in the form of a walk or a bike ride and then some light weight lifting to buff these puny arms up. I tried soccer again one day…totally unaware of all the muscles I used when I was 12 and last played and how they no longer react the same way, so that is a definite work in progress. After the work out comes tanning time. Some of you may say how girly of me and to you I say you sit in a hospital for 6 months, come out looking like Casper, and see if you don’t try and tan a little too. Now being in my current state they say I am more susceptible to skin cancer and I have to wear spf 30 out in the sun. Well you bet your butt I bought the kind with instant bronzer to make sure I get the same look as I have had so many summers before. During this time I also read and then move on to lunch and shower. Lunch changes day to day but mostly I turn to peanut butter and honey sandwiches. Now being that I try and keep this new heart as healthy as possible I now use low sodium organic peanut butter and obviously whole wheat bread. My suggestion is that honey is a must because low sodium stuff definitely can’t touch sodium filled things but you throw in some sweet honey and you’re good to go. I gotta say Winnie the pooh knows what’s up. The rest of the day is always up in the air maybe watch some shows or read more or facebook till I can’t anymore because I got addicted to it in the hospital…an addiction I must start working on chilling out from. But yup that’s about it. I said I had writers block but somehow I busted this thing out and this is how time is spent now in my home which is definitely not a penthouse because it’s on the first floor but it sure does beat the penthouse. And I’ll take my lackluster working out, tanning, and reading every day over my walks around the nurses’ station and begging nurses for showers every day. Until next time, which who knows when that will be…keep on keeping on.
Yesterday marked one month since transplant. Compared to the hospital where each month passed by as if it were a full year, this month passed by as if it were one week. I guess the saying time flies when you’re having fun really does ring true. Granted I have done more fun things in my life, but when you leave the hospital everything seems fun. On my one month anniversary fell a golf tournament in my honor. Although I didn’t get to play, when I was in the hospital I never thought I would even be there, but there I was getting to drive the course in my golf cart and watch friends and family hit the ball. That was enough for me. In one month I am already driving, walking, biking, and hiking so I know that pretty soon I will be out on that golf course right next to all my friends, showing them how to really play with skill. In this month of being home I finally got to see my girlfriend Brittany, who I had not seen since transplant and had not seen in two months. I bring this up because those that have read this blog for a while can think back to a post called penthouse dating. In that post I made dating in the penthouse seem not so bad, but let’s be real…It was beyond awful. When dating in the penthouse the most excitement that could be found was finding a high quality illegal movie on the internet to watch together. So that is what dating had become for me. Laying and watching TV, and laying and watching a movie, and laying and watching TV, and laying and watching a movie, oh and an occasional pick up of friendly’s to eat together from across the street. Now we were back to real life dating; actually it is more a type of dating that I never really experienced before anyways. We went biking and hiking together…something we sure as heck never had done together before. Then at night instead of spending the evening laid up on an uncomfortable hospital bed we spent a night at a bonfire with friends. Of course we spent one night laying and watching a movie, but in a nice new comfortable bed in my room, not some tiny horrible hospital bed. So although her visit was short, because again time flies when you’re having fun, we had totally new experiences and as mentioned in the penthouse dating post we had already been through so much this is like heaven for us. So as you can see one month out and things sure are looking up.
On another note is what has changed in one month. Well that seems to be some sort OCD I have developed, as well as dealing with the meds. Well the OCD first and foremost revolves around me and my relationship with purell. If you think about people who are obsessed with their pet and the pet has to go everywhere they go and never leave their side and you would feel like you’re the most horrible person if you leave them at home alone? Well that’s my relationship with purell. It never leaves my pocket and we rely on each other about 100 times a day. Excessive? Maybe. But that is what life has become. When showering I will add shampoo to my hand and start rubbing it all over my hands as if it is purell until it hits me this is not absorbing into my skin it should be in my hair. One day I even gave my girlfriend a kiss and then purelled my hands. Does that make any sense? Nope not one bit, but I bet my purell was happy that our relationship was so strong I turned to it even after a kiss with the girlfriend. The other side of things is me vs. my meds. It is a constant battle and it really is me vs. my steroids. Steroids that won’t let me sleep, make me hungry all the time, make me shake, but do give me the energy to take on a full day of stuff on only 4 hours of sleep. The shakes I feel give me character, but I just don’t know who came up with the idea to give patients who get shakes a liquid med that needs to get poured into a little spoon three times a day. Well let’s just say it’s like a game…a game I never lose (although I have come quite close to making a mess, I have still always prevailed). So with everything going on the good has definitely outweighed the bad, by like 27856 elephants, and with one month in the books and the rest of my life ahead I plan on prevailing over that the same way I do my damn liquid med every day. Thanks for continuing to read and don’t forget to go to donatelife.net and sign up to be an organ donor if you aren’t already one…and if your nervous about it message me and I can tell you why it is a good decision.
If you go back to the first blog post I ever wrote you will notice I mention that I began blogging to entertain myself while waiting for my heart transplant. Now more than 6 months later with this new heart beating strong in my chest my blog has taken on a totally different meaning. My blog aims to increase the word on the importance of organ donation and now moves to inspire others with how precious life is and how wonderful it can be; especially if you’re like me and see the beauty in the little things. Today I received a Facebook message and a card sent to my foundation that really made me see the importance of this blog, and the impact it can have, more so than I ever dreamed possible. The Facebook message read “I know you’re super humble and super thankful for all the media attention. But what is amazing is I was at speech with my son and a group of parents are in the waiting room when your story came on the news. One of the women said that her daughter had become an organ donor because of your story and literally four moms said the same thing. Their other response was if not for your story what kid in their twenties or teens would even think about organ donation. Plus they added had their children not done that and told them about it and your story, if anything heaven forbid ever happened to their child they didn’t think they would ever have chosen that for their child. Your story has brought so many different people together and under many different circumstances than you can ever know! It’s amazing! Then these two older women turn to me I guess because I was quiet and started asking me if I was a donor lol. These are the conversations people have about your story!!” To wake up and read this instantly brought a smile to my face. This has been my goal all along. This story made me finally realize the good I was doing for organ donation and that people really were out there listening and signing up. The beauty behind it was also that it was teens. It is the young people that must sign up and make the list of potential donors grow and let those see how beautiful organ donation can be. Every name on the organ donation list is a name that I hope never has any harm come to them, but if heaven forbid a tragic accident occurred it is the idea of saving many lives in your passing that makes this such a special thing. This is what allows me to live today outside hospital walls and begin getting back to a normal life, kind of like yesterday where I was allowed to drive around town only 3 weeks after transplant. The other story I would like to share is the card I received today. This card came more as a shock than even the Facebook message and showed me an impact I am having that I would have never dreamed. The card read “Hi Colby, I hope you are doing well! I wanted to tell you that you have been the good news story that I have been waiting to hear. To see your smiling face in the newspaper really warmed my heart! I taped it to my refrigerator to be my inspiration. I struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts daily. When I see the fight for life you went through, I know that I can fight for one more day. Maybe one day I will catch a break that I need and be smiling too. Until then, I’ll keep you on my fridge with your thumbs up cheering me on and know that I’m cheering you on with all my heart!” To get even just one letter such as this makes this whole blog worth it in my eyes. I can only hope an impact like this has been spread to even more of my readers. An impact that a year ago I would have loved to have had on someone’s life, but would have never imagined possible. To receive a letter such as this gives me such fulfillment I cannot put it into words. To couple it alongside the other message I received to know my story has spread the word on the importance of organ donation as well made today the day where I saw this blog truly for what it is. But you better believe the humor will be returning in other blog posts to come. Lastly, I want to leave you with a poem. I recently have been reorganizing my room since my return from the hospital and came across a little card from the funeral I attended for my friend Greg. I mentioned Greg briefly in another blog post and how he passed far before he should have, but in his passing saved 8 people through organ donation. Greg’s death has an impact on me now far stronger than I ever even thought it would. Greg passed away in May 2010 and never did I think 4 months later I would find out I would need a lifesaving heart transplant. I talk a lot from my side as the organ recipient but the poem on the back of Greg’s card shows the beauty of being a donor as well. It reads “ My Final Gift: It is now time for me to move on/Into the dark, but also the dawn. I will remain as the morning comes/As I’ve left behind a gift for someone. So another may walk, may talk, may see/Where their life was locked, I offered the key. I am a donor to someone in need/My final gift, my final deed.”
To say my life has been a whirlwind since having a transplant would be an understatement. I was escorted throughout my hometown by police cruisers and a fire engine and arrived home to find my entire neighborhood decorated and waiting for me at my house along with tons of friends and family. If that wasn’t enough the next morning I wake up to my face on the front page of at least 4 separate newspapers. Front page of four separate newspapers? To say I was shocked again is just an understatement. When I see it all I think to myself why me? Who am I? What is with my popularity? And let’s not forget to top it off with me being a news story on almost every news station while we’re at it. So let’s get back to something that has been said time and time again. Do I think I deserve this? No. But again it falls back to my support system. I just don’t think it could be better. If there was a competition of a transplant patient that was given the most support ever through their trying journey I would win every single time. There is no way I could lose with the likes of Have a Heart for Colby and Team Colby. Saying I am truly blessed can be added to the understatements of this blog post. So another special thank you to the support system and another thank you to the news crews that follow my story because although I don’t find myself more special than any other transplant patient I find it special that my story has brought organ donation to the forefront in CT news and soon to be national news this weekend when, that’s right folks, Tales from the 10th Floor hits CNN.
Now more importantly is the fact that I am home. No IV pole, no toilet in a cabinet, no nurses wanting to stare at my ass, and showers on a daily basis. Being at home is the first honeymoon I will take in my life. Being here has felt so perfect it is indescribable. Many transplant patients talk of it being weird if not eerie. Not this guy. It felt superb, calming, and oh so needed. My house had been redone due to insane ice damage it took the winter before I went into the penthouse so to come home to that just added to the surprises I got to partake in. What is important about me being home is the little things in life that I will say most of you probably take for granted. Whether it is a home cooked meal, the showers in the morning, the being able to go in your room and shut out the rest of the world for a little while, or of course the HD TV that I missed so dearly. The biggest and best part about being home though….a walk to CVS with my mother. Yes that is all. Just a measly little walk to CVS with mi madre to get a blood pressure cuff. To you nothing. To me…everything. There is a hill on the way to CVS, a hill that I used to have to stop multiple times on to get to the top. Did I stop this time? You bet but only at the top! To explain the difference between then and now is kind of hard to do unless you lived it, but I will do my best to show you the difference in the eyes of a heart transplant recipient. Old Colby during that walk would have lost his vision, his hearing, and felt like his whole body was shutting down starting with his heart. The scariest feeling anyone could ever imagine. New Colby takes that same walk and gets to the top with an insane heart beat and it hits me what all you have been feeling your whole life. Your heart is pounding but it is not about to give out like I always felt; it feels like it is bringing the rest of my body back to life, my aching muscles and lungs springing back to bring me further along that walk that normally would have ended right then and there. The feeling of joy is one most of you will never understand but it something that you may have never known you were blessed with and now something I share with you. This blog was written over multiple days and a second walk just took place. A walk that normally would have needed multiple breaks and long breaks at that. Well todays walk there was not one break. Not to mention I was wearing the first ever pair of sneakers ever bought in my life specifically for working out and just that purchase made my heart leap for joy. To say little things make me happy now is, sorry to beat a dead horse, but again a complete understatement. From the drive to buy the sneakers, then to getting the sneakers, then to taking the walk you would have guessed I was a 10 year old at Disney world. I hope my events such as this give you all the realization about how amazing such little things can be in life and again how it was the gift of an organ that got me here. Being home feels so perfect and every day is a blessing. Now to lay around and watch HD tv for the night…things never felt so good.
When I began this blog I did so with the hopes of using it to escape from what felt like a prison sentence. It worked. This blog became my outlet and many people joined in to read along with my humorous and at times emotional journey. Throughout the blog I had also decided it my mission to spread the importance of organ donation as it was obviously something close to my heart (yea a little pun intended there.) One thing people enjoy about my blog is my upmost honest commentary because what you see is what you get. Being that I find myself relatively intelligent it has become quite clear it is because of this blog that I am not the normal heart transplant patient. I too am able to sit back and realize I am on the news much more so than I have ever seen a heart transplant patient before, and that includes a former vice-president. To say I love that feeling would be a lie. I am more of a private person which is also why I take to writing. However, I do not hate it for the simple reason the light it has shown on organ transplantation and the increased need for donors. What I hope everyone knows most is my excitement that my story gains for those I met also waiting for not only heart transplant but organ transplant everywhere. There are thousands out there going through exactly what I did all waiting for their perfect matched organ to arrive, and if my blog was important enough to be news worthy to get that reiterated over and over I cannot be anything but happy about that. That being said it does seem though I have had far from the normal transplant experience. Mine has become much more emotional than ever expected. I have known upwards of 8 people who have received heart transplants while I waited here and not one of them could tell you a thing about their donor. That is the way of organ donation. It is very anonymous and news of donor and recipient comes out much later after the fact. Well that instantly was not the case for my situation. How this came to be I may never know, but I must share my feelings on the subject as to why you have gotten no response from me about my donor. Organ donor and recipient is a very black and white thing, but what has occurred in my situation is a very grey area. To have the news report who my donor is, is something that no organ transplant recipient would be able to take lightly and I haven’t. It has been very hard to not think constantly about what is being said all around me. To find out who your donor is, is to receive a letter by a government agency and then and only then can you be sure of anything. That is what I sit waiting for before I can allow myself to react. It is the right thing to do in this long process that I have been a part of since September 2010. Everything I have written in these blogs is from the heart and that includes mostly a letter I wrote to my potential donor. That letter is now directed at one person and to this day I still mean every word. For now that is all I can give them. I send thanks their way every chance I get and prayers and thoughts of love to the loved ones of my donor. One day when I have a definite confirmation of my donor there will be a name and family behind those thoughts and prayers, and a lifetime of trying to live up to expectations I have set for myself to make my donor’s family proud that I received their organ. I am fully aware of who they say my donor is. I have seen the news and read the papers. The tragic loss of someone so young is horrible and even though I was going through hell I would easily trade my heart back to give that person life if I could. The truth remains though it was going to take tragic loss in order to allow my exit from the hospital as I needed a young healthy heart to move on with my life. This scenario reiterates everything I have said about organ donation. It is such a beautiful thing that it allows good to come from horrible tragedy. Every transplant donor that passes away, especially those who pass far too young die in my eyes a hero and a saint. I had a friend named Greg that passed far too young months before I ended up being listed for transplant. I believe he saved 8 lives with his organs. Greg was an amazing person and loved by many, but not perfect and not a saint as we all aren’t during our life. But you better believe I feel he died one. That is the same way I feel about my donor, and the young man that lost his life whether he is mine or not. Although all signs point to yes I implore all of you to give me the time most transplant recipients need to take this all in and receive proper knowledge of such a thing. I have received messages from people who feel that I should be doing more in honor of my donor and that is where I must give my utmost honesty. I have done all I can as of right now. I have sent my prayers and my thoughts but that is all I can do. I hope everyone can see that I have just gone through an amazingly emotional situation and am still someone very sick who must work on getting better. As for those who may have messaged me imploring I give money I feel I must be dead honest with you and let you know I do not have it. I am a broke college student that does not come from wealth. I am thousands of dollars in debt and you would not believe the cost it is to live in a penthouse for 6 months. This also does not include the insane costs of the numerous medications I need in order to keep this new heart healthy and move on living a successful and healthy life. Not to mention the relationship that makes between donor and recipient is highly inappropriate and is a horrible precedent to set moving forward with something as amazing as organ donation. I must reiterate no one thinks more about the tragedy of my potential donor and how horrible it must be for that family, but again it is all potential until I receive proper confirmation. Even if it turns out that donor is not mine he will always be a hero and a saint in my eyes for the lifesaving impact his death had on this world, because he not only donated a heart but I believe saved 4 or 5 others as well. I send my best to his family and my continued support and hope for them that they receive everything they need to make his passing as memorable as they have planned. If the day comes I receive the definite confirmation that the news was correct all along, which yes I realize they probably are, my thoughts and prayers will continue to go in their direction for the rest of my life with continued hopes that I make them proud to have their loved one’s heart beating on inside me.
I believe whole heartedly that only a few things in this world can hit with such an out of body experience as a heart transplant can. In medical scenario it is quite simple of a surgery, big pieces being put back together. However, it is what surrounds such a thing that brings it to that level. Call me bias but yea you bet I feel there is more behind the transplantation of a heart than a liver or lungs or kidneys. Are those nothing? No those are huge, as is the passing of any organ from one human to another, but this is another level and in my talks with transplant families that gave up organs they feel the same way. What surrounds the idea of the heart is something mythical in a way with the way it is seen to embody love and emotion; all things that I have mentioned are quite clearly in my brain because I woke up the exact same person just with a different ticker. But still whatever it is there is that little something different, that little something more that makes it a bit bigger of a deal. I was given an amazing gift. It seems to have been said from whom I received it but because there is a natural process on how that news gets received I will wait to make my personal connection on that level, but regardless am so, so thankful for the decision that person/family made to be donors. Nothing made it more serious as to when I was told my heart was beating very poorly when taken from my body. It was something I needed and got, at what turned out to be as good as time as any would have ever been. I have had a week now to sit back and take back in the past 6 months of penthouse living and the things that got me through my time here. This may get long but the first things that occurred was a reflection on those that got me through this. There is first and foremost my family. They are my bloodline and there every step of the way. Countless visits and large amounts of food brought to me and each member with their own personal role. My dad to come talk sports. My younger sister to come make me laugh. My older sister to be the protective caring older sister. And of course my mother. Her job was to be my mother. Take my wrath and accept it and in return send love instead. Make my food and do my laundry no questions asked. Each one of my family members did their job perfectly and made me last 6 months as if it was nothing. Till the day I die I can look back on this time and know it all started with family and we sure do got one of the best and that is why I am the confident eager person I am now ready to keep trucking forward. Next are the friends and family and insane support I have gotten. Did I help myself a little by writing a sweet blog and reaching out to others, you bet, but the support was endless, huge, and needed. From the closest friends visits, to friendships that grew bigger during my time here I was surrounded by true greatness every step of the way. Something that continues now with families helping at my home, and the random act of kindness of being given a bed because I blogged about wanting one. I have been truly blessed and that’s coming from someone who didn’t always think that way. Of course a special thank you to my girlfriend. She deserves her credit as she managed to travel time and time again from PA via train, bus, car, whatever it took to stand by me at a time where it would have been so easy to leave.
6 months in a hospital though and that’s just crazy and no matter how I roll the dice my ultimate thanks falls on those that I spent the most time with: the staff. They didn’t have to be there for me the way they were; they weren’t longtime friends and family or any of that but you would have never known the difference. To form a bond under the circumstances we did is unlike anything I could ever explain. For the rest of my life I will cry remembering the day I was rolled down to the OR with an entire staff of nurses standing smiling, sending me off as I felt it then, that they were as sad to leave me as I was to leave them. They were all so excellent it would be unfair of me to name, names but I might just have to. There was the boss. And I think it was all a reflection of her and the people she hired that made that place home away from home for far too long, and made me far too comfortable being there that long. Then there were those that made me instantly a family member and welcomed me into their life whether it was bringing me food or penis shaped straws as parts of their bachelorette night I was in with these folks and we were never getting rid of each other. A special thanks must go out to Sebby, Michelle M., Brenda, Kim, Swills, Smelly, Terror, Stinkin, Nucci, Kare, Azzy, Parker, Jason, Lauren, Kellie, Jess, La Sapa, Ben, Carter, Hollywood and even those that i didn’t grow as close to just because we werent together so much you still all had the same amazing and powerful effect on me and gosh I know I shouldn’t list because I know ill forget someone and they might be hurt but these people are special, so special they are best damn nursing staff ever assembled and someone needs to let the world know. Call me Samuel L. Jackson and these are my avengers. There is just one though. And oh she was a special one and the whole damn staff knew it. I don’t know how we clicked so well and so fast but we were meant to be friends even if I never walked into that ICU. Again it is something about where you form a bond that changes things and that has to do with this friendship. I need to say Thank you steph k. I need to thank you for the rest of my life if I can. Your compassion, attitude, willingness to adapt and every other freaking quality you have made me the amazing patient that you all claim I was. I made it through this because of everyone else I listed that will never change, but when all was lost and I needed a rock, I found a damn awesome harry potter watching, sushi eating best friend rock in you. I love you and you know it as I will tell you often and it is blog worthy as well. No panties in a bunch here though folks just a deep seeded best friend love that is special…still a one woman man let’s keep that clear. Don’t want any ideas spiraling from my past confident lady killer blogs I may have posted.
Ok moving on, so finally I sit I know ill add more to this because there is never enough thanks to hand out to the doctors, other nursing staffs, all my close friends that I love so much and every other amazing person that has come to bless my life over these months and soon to be years of this journey. It was an amazing ride, one that I never wish to ride again, but I do know I am a better man now for it. I move forward now to new goals and can’t wait to let this heart keep me chugging along the path. I do have some sweet blogs that will come soon about being home and what not and now I have toxic poop or something like that so feel free to check back, because although you can take the man out of the penthouse you can’t take the penthouse out of the man.
166 days ago I entered the 10th floor ICU at Hartford Hospital a place that I soon dubbed the penthouse. Shortly after my arrival here I decided to begin a blog just for shits and giggles. I didn’t know how much I would stick with the blog or ever guess I was a good enough writer to get the accolades such as top overall blog in CT. Tonight I realized that people did read it quite a bit as it has been viewed over 20,000 times meaning that many of you through the use of my blog had been keeping up with me every step of the way. Today on day 166 though I get to write the blog post I have wanted to write since I started this page. That is right everyone today I will go down to the O.R. and will be leaving the penthouse behind, because as fate should have it, today is the day that everything came together for me to receive my oh so special gift: my new heart. I can’t really put into words what a wait like this has been like. It is definitely something you have to live through to see how taxing it is on, not so much the body, but on the mind. News like the news I was given today hits you like a ton of bricks. My situation went a little something like this: My nurse Sue walks in and says “Colby I just got off the phone with the doctor and he says he has found the perfect heart for you.” Naturally my first reaction was disbelief. I had been here for so long it never felt like this day would actually come. I asked if she was joking. It was obvious she was not and Sue does not joke, she is a straight shooter. Next came the waterfall that overcame my bottom eyelids and just let loose. So long have I waited to hear those words. After that shock and some continued crying and hugging of nursing staff I had to call my mother. I spoke two words to her: “It’s time!” That was all she needed to hear, she knew exactly what I meant. She composed herself better than expected and quickly her and my father were on their way. Next was the call to the girlfriend. Her reaction was one also to be expected of pure joy and I believe the first happy tears she has ever had in her life. It seems she knows finally we may be headed towards relationship normalcy for once. After the next calls to the sisters to let them know the deal and to say come visit I sat alone. This is when the feeling I had expected hit me. Numbness. Too many emotions at once just completely numbed the senses. I was elated, scared, sad and who knows what else all at the same time. I was able to sit and think about what this meant for me. Running, hiking, going back to school, headed towards one day being a doctor, but I would be lying if I didn’t say there were scarier thoughts that crept in. I could not sit there and not think that this meant soon my heart would be taken from me. My chest sawed open and my heart cut out to be replaced by some stranger’s. The idea left an eerie feel floating in my room. That however needed to be pushed aside. This is a scenario I have waited for since September 23, 2010 when I was first listed for transplant. It was the happiness that needed to win out and as the next few hours went on it sure did. I was excited and ready to go. If I was on a podium I would give Tim Tebow a run for his money saying how excited I am. Now I find myself writing this at 3 in the morning. When I post this I will be sure I am getting the transplant but at this moment I cannot help but worry. I have been here far too long and seen things go wrong and people’s hopes get crushed when they thought it was their time. I do not want to live through that scenario. I could sleep now but am unable to, not because I am too anxious but because I am too scared. The fear I feel now is not because of the insane surgery I am about to deal with but because I don’t want to fall asleep and then wake up and be told bad news like I encountered last time I almost got a heart. Lastly what came to mind during this rush of thoughts and emotions was the dear john doe letter I wrote on this blog to my would be donor. Again I still don’t know the donor but I know they must be relatively young to be a perfect match for me so I can’t help the sadness that hits me with the thought of him or her losing their life. I can only imagine if their mother is anything like mine what horror must be hitting her right now. I keep thinking back to my promise in that letter and how badly I want to fulfill it and that is making the donor and their loved ones proud to see that heart went to someone (me) who will make them happy to know my life was worth saving with what I accomplished in this life. At this point I know it is in my best interest to rest. When you read this I will be headed to surgery and I can’t imagine the new emotions that will hit me then as well. I thank you all for the continued support and look forward to my first post with a new heart.
Today marks 5 months spent here. I have made it a point to add in a monthly blog post about who knows what when I hit a new month of penthouse lovin. Today what came to mind was to celebrate 5 months with the top 5 worst things in the world. What are they you ask? Well here they are: 5. When you have to leave a movie theatre to pee during a really good movie. 4. When you order your favorite food to bring home and when you get home you have the wrong order. 3. Red Sox fans. 2. Living in a hospital for 5 months. 1. When you’re all excited your favorite show is on that night and you turn it on to only realize it’s a repeat…a freakin repeat! Now some of you out there might be outraged at what I say are the 5 worst things in the world…yes the whole entire world and to you I say deal with it. Now let’s break this down number by number. Number 5: I remember watching the final Harry Potter flick, a movie that was the culmination of my childhood. I did everything I could to hold in that urine that was trying to escape like Morgan Freeman from the Shawshank Redemption, but like Freeman the urine won and I was forced to exit. During this exit I missed Neville killing Voldemort’s evil snake, Nagini if you will, for all your Potter dorks out there like me. The devastation was unbearable and so this easily made the list. Number 4: Well let’s just go with something that occurred recently. Dad orders me queensland chicken n shrimp from Outback and gets here to present me with a salad…you don’t get Outback for a salad!! So considering this occurred alongside number 2 you can see why this quickly made the list. Number 3: Self-explanatory. Number 2: The reason for this blog post. 5 damn months inside an ICU. So instead of telling you why it is the second worst thing in the world which would take 37 pages I will tell you why it’s not number 1. There are a few things keeping it from that top spot. They are: sleeping till 11:30 every day, now that I no longer eat hospital food I get the best food ever brought to me, going number 2 in my bedroom and that being not only allowed but also expected of me, and the final kicker I now have a pet hawk. If at any point in life you’re doing something, say dying of hunger, but you have a pet hawk it cannot be the worst thing in the world. Think about it, you could be dying of hunger without a pet hawk. And lastly Number 1: Think about your favorite show in the entire world, now think about spending a day where all you looked forward to was seeing that show, and now think about turning on that show and it was an episode you had just seen a couple weeks back. Everything falls apart right then and there. Your whole world comes crumbling down because you were on an ultimate high all day for the sole purpose of that show and it was all taken in an instant. It’s kind of like betting on a horse and that horse is winning the whole race until inches from the finish line it decides to stop, and look right at you and flip you off, however that occurs using a hoof. Now if that doesn’t make you realize that it’s the worst thing in the world I don’t know what will. So there you have it the 5 worst things in the world. If you were having trouble in your life deciding what they were well…you’re welcome!
On another note obviously I am still here, still waiting, still going potty in my bedroom not a bathroom, and still watching my hawk fly outside my window. Soon enough the blog post I really want to write will be coming. Today not only marks 5 months but also my wonderful parent’s wedding anniversary. So Happy Anniversary to them and may they have many, many more!! Love you both, and you can all love them too because their marriage made this blog possible. Also just in case you weren’t aware I really don’t think those things are the worst things in the world, but you must admit they sure are pretty bad.
“On Mother’s Day I have written a poem for you. In the interest of poetic economy and truth, I have succeeded in concentrating my deepest feelings and beliefs into two perfectly crafted lines: You’re my mother, I would have no other! By: Forest Houtenschil”—Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful mother who has stood by me through the good, the bad, and the crazy.
For those who have not seen Good Luck Chuck the movie goes a little bit like this: Boy is hexed at a young age because he refuses to kiss some young goth girl. Boy then becomes man and performs coitus with many, many women. None of these women want him because once they meet him they fall in love and marry the next fella that comes along. Man finally meets girl of his dreams at the end in the form of Jessica Alba. So how can one be the good luck chuck of heart transplants? It is simple. Everyone that meets or speaks to me gets a heart relatively soon after, especially if were speaking in terms of transplant waiting time. Frank and Jack had waited quite a long time and then I moved in. We got close and then both of them bounced. Jose moved in after me and what do you know he gets the call too. Mr. Gentleman in bed 1 did not seem interested in meeting me as he obviously had other concerns. Well lucky for him I went and would say hello every morning and as fate would have it he gets his heart right before he was due to try other options. Then there was Linda. She waits forever on the NY list while living at home. Moves into the penthouse, meets me, and would ya believe it all of a sudden NY has a heart for her. Then there is my Boston friend Samantha. She waits for well over a hundred days, before I decide to reach out and form a friendship with her over our common experience. A couple weeks into the friendship and then poof her heart appears as well. And then finally Paul. Paul up and left this morning after receiving his new blood pumper. After his recent close call it was obvious the good luck chuck phenomenon was soon to deliver a heart to him as well. So yesterday I said just call me Brett Favre. Maybe we should insert a middle name. Chuck sounds like a perfect fit right about now. Naturally all I can think now is where is my cardiac version of Jessica Alba? Also what comes to mind is where is the damn goth girl that I snubbed on our make out session when we were youngins? If you are out there please feel free to overturn this hex at any point. A new gentleman has moved in which I may have mentioned briefly. His name is John and is a very nice man with a very nice family. Lucky him he got to meet me; because a heart will now surely be in his near future. So now I will continue to wait for my cardiac Jessica Alba and can only hope it will be better at its job than she is at hers. And let’s be honest Dane Cook had a much better scenario while he waited for his hex to break than I do. The closest I get to coitus is hearing Sheldon talk about coitus on The Big Bang Theory. I think I just like saying coitus. So again I say until next time with hopes that next time will involve me writing about some goth girl finally lifting my hex.
Brett Favre you ask? Well yes, because as soon as Brett Favre would announce his retirement he would be back playing in the NFL. I am pulling my own Brett Favre because as soon as I said I was stepping away for a bit the national news drew me right back in. As many of you probably know Facebook announced that they have implemented a nice new feature allowing users to post that they have become organ donors. Obviously I was excited about such a feature and I doubt I need to explain why. I have worked diligently trying to spread the word on the importance of organ donation as you have seen in this blog; but of course Mr. Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg had to step in and steal all my thunder. It was thunder that I was gladly willing to give away though. I was informed of this news via the NY Times article on their website. After reading the article I read a few of the comments and instantly was disgusted by some of them. I tried to bite my tongue but the ignorant comments about letting organ donors die, and organ donation is only to get rich people organs was too much for me to not put in my two cents. I first responded by calling them idiots and morons which the NY Times decided not to post. Well this is my blog so I can call them idiots and morons. What the NY Times did allow to be published though was this: “I am 24 and am in need of a heart transplant. Those that speak badly of the system are only those that know nothing of it. The organ donation system is just, and comments on here about doctors taking organs from the poor or circling like vultures before you are dead are disturbing. Being that I am also soon to be in medical school and a former EMT and now in need of my own heart transplant I am quite aware of what the system does and how it works. Doctors work as hard as possible to save everyone and anyone regardless of whether they want your organs. Not to mention you need to have viable organs so they need to keep your heart pumping; it is only when you’re brain dead that your organs can be used. The idea of putting it on Facebook only further allows this important topic to become more visible and bring more attention to the need for donors. If you were dying and would receive a lifesaving organ transplant like I am waiting for you also need to be willing to give. Which is why I am also a donor and if I am one day brain dead I say take everything, and save as many as you can.” This comment the Times did allow and actually was given the mark of the Times as a top comment. Ya I was pretty proud. Later I was filmed for FOX news which aired tonight where I reiterated the importance of this. Like I told them if I hear of anything in the news about organ donation I tune in. Well nothing has ever been on this scale and it was a total pick me up to those going through this process. It was like that blog post I wrote about Dick Cheney needing to use his position to make this national news was instead answered by a much more liked fella, Mr. Zuckerberg. I know there will still be many haters of Facebook’s implementing of this feature and to them I say “come hang with me for a couple days and if you still feel the same way, well I know a great neurologist I can introduce you to.” So I pulled my Brett Favre, I came back and will probably be in and out on a completely irregular basis continuing to be more and more like Brett was at the end of his career so stay tuned to see.
P.S. If you would like to announce your becoming an organ donor for all to see on FB go to my Have a Heart for Colby link on this page and there you will find the step by step process. So again I say until next time –Colby
With the beginning of a new month I felt a blog post was owed, especially to make up for that piss poor previous post. I knew that seeing the month of May from inside these hospital walls was a possibility but I really never thought it would happen. A lot of people have praised my blog for how honest I am in my writing. I don’t hide the trials and tribulations of this process and keep it as real as possible in these tales. So sticking with that theme I can honestly say seeing the month turn to number 5 in the year, knowing I am closing in on half of my 2012 being spent in a hospital I have hit a point where all I want to write is AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I started this blog to write for myself and anyone can see the last post I wrote was forced out. I tried to continue on knowing many people now read it. However the blog posts are a struggle and no longer fulfill the same type of outlet they once did. You wanted honesty so I give honesty. So with all that being said I am taking a blogging leave of absence. The writing is no longer what I liked it to be and have no interest to continue on until the day I receive the news I have been waiting for since September 2010. When that news comes I will come back in full force with Tales I have often thought about writing. I doubt this will hurt as much as having to wait for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows did so I am not too worried about the trouble this news will cause. Not to mention any good author knows you gotta build up the suspense. And all you Tales from the 10th floor diehards just do what Harry Potter fans did while they waited…reread the other books. Obviously I am not conceited enough to think my little old blog has that same effect but I do know people do check to see posts. So those that do I assure you the important posts will come eventually but until then the Tales are on a hiatus. Until next time-Colby
Recently I mentioned there were 4 transplant patients waiting here including myself. As of last night there were 5. As I write this now there are only 3. I am still one of them. We have myself, a penthouse newbie, and of course my buddy Paul is still here after his near miss the other day. A gentleman that I did not get to know very well got his gift this morning and then there was the departure of Linda. Linda told me her family had joked when she would make her Tales from the 10th Floor debut. Well this is not the scenario we had envisioned. Linda left the penthouse in the middle of the night via ambulance headed for another hospital. Linda and I grew close fast because we had the same disease and she had contacted me before her big move into the penthouse. Based on what she had brought along with her she was ready to stay here as long as me. She was here for what felt like only a hot minute when she walked into my room last night to tell me a heart became available at the other hospital she was listed at and she was moving on out. This to me is like hitting the organ transplant lottery. She was receiving a heart at the hospital where she was lower status than she was here on the 10th floor. Right when you think you have organ donation figured out there is another unique story that makes your realize you will never really wrap your head around the system. Yesterday the girl I mentioned recently from Boston that I have also grown close to in our sharing of similar stories also received her heart. Since my arrival here I have gotten to know 6 other transplant patients either really well or briefly that have all received hearts. 3 have waited longer than me; 3 have waited less than me. The question I can’t help but ask then is where does that leave me? I guess the answer to that question lies in these words. It has left me still here, still blogging. And because all I do is sit around idle still waiting I guess the blogging must keep going. That being said I must tell you about Gimli then. Gimli is my pet hawk that I mentioned. Yes he is named after the sweet dwarf from Lord of the Rings. Gimli is the fiercest animal in the Hartford animal kingdom. He has been known to eat animals 10x his size due to his overwhelming ferocity. I once saw Gimli try and take down what looked like a super athletic, super healthy, young man. I knew right then Gimli was after my heart. He’s always looking out for me. I watch Gimli soar above the Hartford buildings way more than one man should ever watch a bird, and get way too excited when he comes back to his perch across from my window. I also have binoculars that once were used to try and spot crime. Now they are used to watch my boy Gimli patrol the skies. I once wrote about my self-diagnosis of cabin fever. You see what I mean now? But for now it’s night time so no ability to watch Gimli, but instead time to watch Big Bang Theory. Check ya later!
The emotional ups and downs that can occur in a day in the penthouse can definitely be extreme. A roller coaster if you will. This morning I planned to blog about my pet hawk that lives outside my window, but today’s events changed that idea. And yes the hawk is my pet; I own all rights to him. A well written tribute to my new found friend may now be coming at a later date. So a typical emotional roller coaster in the penthouse goes a little bit like this. First you get a call around 4:00 pm and it is a gentleman with a New York telephone number. He informs you he works for the Yankees and to be prepared for a call around 5:20. At 4:45 you receive a call from a woman saying pretty much the same thing. Naturally I had to sit and wonder if Derek Jeter would be calling. Derek Jeter calling me would be along the same lines as Justin Beiber calling a 13 year old girl. Well 5:20 came and the phone rang and I answered and put on speaker so Sebby my nurse could listen in and what would you know the New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi was on the phone to talk to me. This little phone call was set up by Jenna Duff who I love to death and thank beyond measure for this. So Joe starts by telling me I sound a little too happy considering the Yankees were only 6-6. I responded the only way a Yankee fan should “Ya but you’re the Yankees you will be fine.” We went on to talk about my thoughts on how to fix the starting line-up and a little talk about our families. That’s right I was telling the manager of the New York Yankees what I thought he needed to do to fix the starting pitching. During this conversation the best surprise of all came when Joe felt I should travel to the stadium and go on the field during batting practice. Naturally I was smiling from ear to ear. No he wasn’t Derek Jeter but this was my 13 year old girl meeting Justin Beiber moment. The convo ended with me asking Joe for a favor. I asked “Could you please spread the word about the importance of organ donation?” Joe said he could probably manage that and we went our separate ways. Most people don’t get to feel that kind of happiness while living in an ICU and to feel that way I was truly blessed. Oh ya I am at the top of the roller coaster at this point. Within minutes my buddy Steph walks in and slowly starts collecting the HOPE letters. I know what this means immediately. Currently there are 4 of us waiting for heart transplant and I have definitely been here the longest. The taking of the letters meant one thing: someone else was getting a heart and Steph was trying to protect the letters from the bonfire I may have had planned for them. I was informed that it was my buddy Paul receiving the heart. The mixed emotions hit again like they had the previous three times. Happy for paul, but still obviously jealous and angry that it wasn’t me. Regardless it was a total buzz kill to the great news I had just received. So I composed myself and moseyed on down to Pauls room. We shared the sweet but oh so bitter goodbye and I headed back to my room. I had just saved the Joe Girardi phone number in my phone as Yankees. Within minutes my phone lit up saying Yankees were calling. It was the marketing folks from the ball club and they were explaining that I would be receiving the “red carpet treatment” when I come visit and Joe described me as a “true champion”. Oh ya I was back up on the top of that roller coaster. But of course this is the ICU and you can’t stay there long. Steph sadly walks back in to inform me Paul will no longer be getting a heart. This news is way worse than the news of him receiving one. I can only imagine Pauls roller coaster ride and know it is something I never want to try myself. I am just fine only experiencing my Yankee roller coaster. Paul’s scenario shows the awful process of organ donation. Is there a better way? No, but that doesn’t change the types of emotions Paul had to endure. So the penthouse roller coaster is one of many ups and downs and I have been blessed to receive the ups like I did today and have friends like Jenna hook. Me. Up. Others may not be so lucky to receive news like that, that make you forget where you are if even for just those 5 minutes of phone conversation. If it was up to me I would take every heart transplant patient to their favorite place ever and give them the red carpet treatment. If someone is jealous of my great news I would be happy to work out a trade option with them where they can go visit the Yankees but they get to move into the penthouse while I get to bounce out (the kicker being they take on my heart disease as well). So if anyone is interested in a nice emotional roller coaster just come chill with me and paul for a day and we will take you on a ride like no other.
P.S. Yale is trying to break the record for most organ donors signed up in an 8 hour period. If you are in the New Haven area on Monday April 23rd and not yet an organ donor, get your ass in there and sign up. If you would be willing to receive an organ if you were dying you better damn well be ready to give one. Until next time. –Colby
I have been here now for 4 months. One-third of a year. Cuatro freakin meses. After this long you start to feel you are never leaving. Just gonna be hanging with my new family till the end of time. I have recently been in contact with a girl from Tufts where I opted out of staying and she has been there for 5 months. Cinco freakin meses if you will. I like to bust out my Spanish sometimes, show how worldly I am. I was told my buddy Frank set the record here with 147 days. I am 24 days away. I love breaking records. I loathe the thought of breaking that one. I mean what is there really to say that I haven’t said already in 4 months any ways. My ass still hurts, the food still sucks, OUR PETS HEADS ARE FALLIN OFF (partly a dumb and dumber quote…if you don’t know it, watch it). I was supposed to start school again this fall. Looks like that’s becoming as likely as my older sister not sucking, and trust me my older sister will never stop sucking (this is a joke for those that don’t know I actually love my sister). I love all my family members very much. But think about your family for a second. Now think about sitting in the same room every time you see them for 4 months with nothing really to do. Try and lie to me and say you wouldn’t want to drop kick them in the face every so often. The Yankees season started at least. Oh wait I can only see the games if they are on ESPN. People like to tell me the weather is getting nice. That’s cool I haven’t felt fresh air in 123 days. Let’s not continue on about the weather please. So again I ask myself what is there really to say. I have such great ideas for future blogs such as laying in my bed at home for the first time, going for a run for the first time in 12 years (maybe 13 years based on how long of a process this is), or maybe the first date with my girlfriend, maybe like a hike, instead of sitting on a hospital bed staring at each other. You should all give it a try…totally romantic; especially for the past 8 times of seeing your significant other. So I sit and I think about what I would like to blog that I haven’t mentioned already. There are always the stories like the other night where I convinced a nurse named jess to eat 6 rotten egg flavored jelly beans just so she could go first when we play Harry Potter Scene It. I guess we will know at a later date if it was worth it. But in reality I can’t help but think how much can you write about the adventures of one man in a single room. I do have some ideas of things to make me happier that I hope to finagle out of my doctors that I learned from my new found friend in Boston. If I can pull those off they may be blog worthy. Reading this back to myself all I can see is bitch, (bitch, bitch), (bitch, bitch); and if you get the same feeling when you’re reading it all I can really say is: You are damn right I am bitching. I must admit it feels good to put it in writing. But most importantly missing in all this is the fact that I GOT THIS. This shit is cake. I could last a hundred freakin meses if need be. You bet your ass I’ll bitch my way through the final 96 if that’s what it takes, but again I GOT THIS. I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone (except maybe my sucky older sister) so I am happy it is me, that I can take on this challenge, because well let me remind you again I GOT THIS. And let’s be real this is totally gonna give me one up on all my fellow doctors one day. So with that I bid you adieu and say bring on the next cuatro meses…. buuuut I’ll take a nice shiny new heart tonight preferably.
A few months back I was contacted by a woman that had received a transplant. In her attempt to help me through my wait she informed me of something she did to try and get through the process. She explained to me that she had written a letter to the donor and that it had helped her with the process and it was just something I might want to try and keep to myself. Well I have decided to try it, but share it with anyone that cares to read this blog.
Dear John Doe,
The truth is you might actually be Jane Doe but regardless of gender we are going to share a bond unlike anything ever imaginable. I don’t know why but in this cruel world that we live in, it is going to be your passing that allows us to form this bond. We will never meet and I will never form this bond with you on a personal level, but I guess on the more spiritual level. I can only hope that bond allows the more personal bond to be formed with the loved ones you leave behind; if they are willing to try with the person that now carries your heart with him. I do not know what will have led for your heart to become mine, but I know I will be more thankful for that than anything else in my life. Whether you decided to sign up as a donor on your license, or online, or your loved ones make the decision after your passing you are giving me a gift that you, and only you will ever give me (and it will never be matched). I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, but even I can’t grasp why it is you that must leave this world in order for me to continue on. Whether it is an accident, medical condition or who knows what, a series of events is going to play out to bring about that day. My one wish for you, because whoever you are I will not affect what occurs or when it will occur, I can only hope that when your time comes, it happens pain free and with peace of mind. I really hope you will have the ability to stare down from some sort of heaven and see what good you have done and those you have saved by being an organ donor. So although you will never read this (unless by some crazy coincidence you’re a fan of tales from the 10th floor) I hope somewhere in your subconscious you feel and hear the thanks being sent from me to you. So I have been told without a heart transplant I wouldn’t go on living much longer. Although I don’t feel that way I’ll take my doctors word for it. That being said it means that you are giving me the gift of life. I can only imagine what someone should do with such a gift. I can promise you a few things I will do with my gift though. I will never forget you. I will do my best to leave this world having accomplished things you can be proud of and be happy that your heart was along with me for the journey. And lastly, I will do my best that when I leave this world your loved ones will also be proud to see the things the person who carries your heart has accomplished. I tried to think of a millions ways to close such a letter as this and nothing comes to mind other than: Thank you.
So after debating whether to post this entry I did decide to go through with it as you can see. I did not know if a letter to some mystery person who will pass away in the coming days, weeks, or months was appropriate. I think more important is the look it gives inside the psyche of those involved in organ donation and what a process it is, especially on those who like myself have now had almost 2 years to dwell on such a subject. If medical technology takes off to a point where I would like it to, I will be seeing alternatives to this process in the future as organ donation gets eliminated for new and improved treatments. In my dream world I might help develop them or put them into practice. One can only hope.
So I have decided to pass on a story to all my wonderful readers and here it is: So a 28 year old male was taking his trash out late one night. The man’s identity had been mistaken by local gang members driving by and one of the members in the car shot the man as they passed him. The man’s wife saw this from the window and called 911 right away. The ambulance arrived within 5 minutes and quickly loaded this man into the back of their rig. On the way to the hospital it is reported that 2 EMTs were in the back of the ambulance trying to save this man’s life. One of the EMTs seeing the man’s wallet opened it up and saw that the man was an organ donor. He took the wallet and showed it to the other EMT. It is reported that at this point the EMTs stopped working to save the man because one of the EMTs knew someone waiting for a lung transplant and hoped that this gentleman would be a match. The man ended up dying in the back of the ambulance and the EMTs have continued to deny any wrong doing. Now the important message to take away from this story is that it is complete bullshit, made up by yours truly. I bet I have your attention now though! So you might be asking yourself why I would write this made up story. The answer is simple: people actually believe this stuff happens! My friend Brandon visited today and told me that he has spoken to people who still believe if they sign up to be donor they will not be saved if something were to happen to them. To hear this just infuriates me because it is so false that people whom believe this story might as well believe a story I wrote about Santa Claus. How do I know? Also a simple answer. I was an EMT in college for the prestigious Saint Michael’s College Fire and Rescue. During my time there I can guarantee it was not mentioned even once to not work our asses off to save every patient that came into the back of our ambulance. Organ donor or not, whoever our patient, they were our priority and we were gonna do what it took to save them. Also a little newsflash for those uneducated out there. You need to have a beating heart to be an organ donor!!!! (at least for heart transplants and other vital organs) So if some moron EMT decided to let you die all your vital organs will go to no one and it will have been a complete waste. It is when you are brain dead that you become an organ donor. To continue to beat a dead horse you also can just use the links on my blog and go sign up and it will never even be on your license and the EMTs will never know you’re a donor if you’re still dumb enough to not believe me. So I apologize if I offended anyone that believed a story like the one that started this blog to be true, but c’mon get your head out of the clouds. If some person who is at least educated decides to not be a donor I will not be happy but I will respect it (even though it’s still a waste of precious gifts). If someone who thinks EMTs let you die doesn’t sign up to be a donor because of that reason, well I have no respect for them and hope Santa puts coal in their stocking. So I ask of you this: spread the word to friends and pass along to anyone that believes in this rumor that EMTs will do everything in their power to save your life (it is the greatest feeling in the world, TRUST ME) and also explain to that same person that Santa Claus is not real. I do not need you to spread the word about my blog, but if you are going to point them in the direction of this post so they may know the truth and also so they can go click the be a donor links on my page and be an awesome human :-)! P.S. If you think you’re a wise guy and gonna say well the EMTs try and save them but doctors let them die well you again are completely insane and any doctor will agree with me. Not to mention the giant lawsuit on their hands if they don’t do everything they can to save a person. Salerno out!
Two choices: Be an organ donor or be a bag of dung. The choice is yours and yours alone.
So although you may have been waiting for some great blog about me pulling April Fool’s Day pranks the truth is it was a complete failure. During the day shift it was very busy here in the ICU so even I know when to be serious and not cause more trouble for an already busy nursing staff. I can tell you with certainty that a prank would not have gone over well so I was forced to cool my jets and just hang with mi familia. As the evening shift came around the penthouse decided to follow my lead and cool its jets as well. So the idea to celebrate April Fool’s Day came flowing back to the brain. The kicker being though that the staff is so comfortable with me any idea seemed just not worthy enough for the day. The ideas that crossed my mind that were worthy were a little too over the top such as unhooking all my stuff and lying on my floor with my eyes closed. Kellie the nurse mentioned she would have flipped so it’s good that I kept myself subdued for the day. So although April Fool’s Day was a fail I did determine something important on the day. My buddy paul “the music man” has always mentioned when rolling into the O.R. for his surgery that he would have Tom Sawyer by Rush playing as his theme song. I was determined to figure out mine as well. It hit me right away that it had to be O’ Fortuna. Most of you probably wouldn’t know what that is but for those that do I know you can picture me rolling into the O.R. in slow motion with that playing behind me. Those that don’t know it’s only the most epic climatic movie song of all time. I might post the youtube video of it for you to get a better picture. Well that’s all I got because I actually had a conscience and couldn’t disrupt ICU life even on April Fool’s
On another note April 1st not only brought April Fool’s Day but also brought the beginning of National Donate Life Month. This is an entire month dedicated to the all-important action of signing up to be an organ donor. All readers of my oh so wonderful blog, hopefully the best blog in CT (probably America), can perform that easy action by clicking the link on my page and taking the 37 seconds it takes to sign up to be a donor. Yes I do know exactly how long it takes because I have signed up myself. Granted no one is taking this big love filled organ inside me, but all the other ones are good to go just in case that day were to come. So follow my lead and help in Donate Life’s goal of 20 million more organ donors this year or don’t and live your life as a bag of dung.
What an unwelcome sight you are April. Welp guess I gotta make the best of it!
So as I sat here and watched the date change to April 1st, I thought to myself “you have got to be kidding me!” Seeing that I thought my lease in the penthouse was up in March, you can see my disgust as I saw April come around. We won’t discuss the incredibly expensive rates I pay to live in such a place. I don’t think I need to mention the fact that April 1st also means April Fool’s Day and the joke definitely feels to be on me. Being that it is April Fool’s I can’t help but think the day would not be complete without a prank or two. I must tread lightly being that I am in an ICU; one step over the line and I could cause a full scale panic and permanent lock down in my room. Some of the pranks that have gone through my mind are completely outrageous and might cause a nurse or two to have a heart attack, so I shall keep them to myself. I spoke with Jack the other day on the phone and he informed me I no longer have meerkat status, him and frank feel I am to be known as a puppy. Young and somewhat mischievous. That being said I feel even Jack expects a prank from yours truly on a date known as April Fool’s day. So the question lies in what to do? I know it will hit me when the time comes and I know it will happen sometime in between this blog and the next, and hopefully I will have achieved a prank worthy of blog post status. I guess only time will tell. One joke that I play often here to get a rise out of people is the pretend to pass out joke. Now if you are thinking to yourself “wow what a morbid joke!” well you are darn well correct in thinking that faking loss of consciousness is totally morbid; but if anyone can make it comedic I feel I do a good job at it. Obviously the best rise comes from my mother. She seems to get worked up even though I have pulled such a move on her at least 20 times. I do worry about getting “boy who cried wolf” status and if I really do pass out no one will believe it. Today I pulled my best “fake passout” yet when my friend steph came to visit. When leaning on my arm, my blood flow got cut off leading my pulse ox to read abnormally low numbers. This led to the monitor beeping red and steph turning to look at it. As she was looking at it she stated “what does this mean”, needless to say I pounced on this opportunity and let my head droop against my shoulders, mouth open, and eyes closed. When she turned around I was able to elicit a little shriek out of her at which point I instantly smiled and she yelled something along the lines of “don’t ever do that you ass!” Because I spend time here pulling small jokes every so often to entertain myself I feel I have no choice but to celebrate such a date as April 1st. Then again maybe the joke would be everyone expecting something out of me, and me behaving and having them wondering all day. Now comes the important thought that crossed my mind. What if a nurse comes in and tells me they have a heart for me. Do I believe it right away? Do I even believe someone would have the guts to pull such a prank on me? I have rattled a nurse or two that would love to prank me, but would they be willing to go so far as to try such a thing. Even if they were telling the truth could I really believe them right away? The news I have been waiting for all along takes on a whole new meaning when April 1st comes around. You can bet full well though if the news comes I might just find that April Fool’s is really the best day on the calendar; much better than the December 25th everyone gets so excited about. In honor of the news that there will be an Anchorman 2: You stay classy readers, and stay tuned to see how the 10th floor celebrates April 1st.
Do you know all the places you've been the last 100 days...cuz I do!
For whatever reason, I decided to see how many days I have been staying here on the 10th floor. I normally do not know the number of days except for when I did the other blog post about being here for two months or something like that. I was prompted to see how many days I have been here when hearing of Dick Cheney getting his heart transplant after waiting for 20 months. I was definitely surprised when I looked at how many days I have been here; it turned out to be the 100th day. 100 freaking days inside a hospital. The first thing that comes to mind is the amount of money I could have been making in 100 days (I’m kind of cheap in that regard). Not only have I been in a hospital, I too have been waiting for almost 20 months like my buddy Dick Cheney had been. When I say buddy I mean some vice-president I don’t care at all about. What bugs me the most is barely anyone likes Dick and he gets a heart waiting as what I am guessing to be a 1-B patient considering his wait time and the fact he had a heart pump, but I’m still waiting here. I mean c’mon people actually like me and enjoy my blog; what has Dick Cheney brought to the table? Oh, and he is all over the news for a heart transplant…where is my boy Jose’s news story? More importantly about his news story is it’s all about him getting a new heart. How selfish! Dick needs to take a hint from my news stories and get his ass on the news to increase organ donation, not steal the limelight for himself. He has been waiting 20 months like myself, and in those 20 months I have paid more attention to transplant news, and I don’t remember at any point him using the power he has as a former VP to spread the word about organ donation and the need for donors. I have done more than him, and I am some random young guy from CT. That being said I hope he uses whatever time he has left on this Earth being that he is 71, to spread the word on organ donation. I would even be willing to help him, even though as you might be inferring I am not some huge fan of his. So now that I got how I feel about Dick Cheney’s heart transplant off my chest back to my living in a hospital for 100 days. I would like to share some of the things I have learned living in one bedroom, on one hospital floor for that amount of time: 1. No matter how much you think if you get binoculars and stare out a window in Hartford you will see some sweet crime: you will be sadly mistaken. 2. If a nurse grew up playing charades: it is almost impossible to get them to speak during catch phrase. 3. You can eat 15 Milano’s in one sitting and still be hungry for more. 4. If a cable wire also carries electricity: don’t hook up your 37 inch flat screen to it; it will blow up your TV. 5. You can make a Christmas tree work for any holiday. 6. If you don’t play sports or really work out your whole life so you’re convinced you don’t really have BO: welp you’re wrong. 7. It is possible to get out of bed, take only one step, and still be able to go to the bathroom (and no, not in your pants). 8. If you think you would rather spend your day inside when it is nice out, you’re a liar or a crack head. 9. If you think having a big ass is a bad thing: try sitting around most of the time for 100 straight days on a bony ass, and then come talk to me. 10. If you think hospital floors are like Grey’s Anatomy: welp you’re still wrong. 11. Lastly, if you feel a shower is unnecessary on a daily basis: I now count you among enemies not friends. There has been a lot wisdom dropped on me since my arrival here and I am proud to be able to pass it on to you. Do what you will with this sort of knowledge and spread it to those whom are less wise. Until next time, don’t get sick trying to see if you’re still hungry after 15 Milano’s, goodnight.
Today I took my third dose of the bitter sweetness that the penthouse can give out. From previous blogs some will remember my buddy Jose that used to be waiting up here in the penthouse next to me, but now spends his time living the hospital life one floor below. Tonight however, Jose gave me a call to inform me that he would be going in for a transplant this evening. The instant he said it chills moved from my toes to my head and I had to take in what he was telling me. Jose had arrived at the penthouse after me and got worked up for transplant during the first week of his stay. Needless to say I have been waiting for a heart much, much longer than Jose considering my being listed since 2010. That being said when looking at the whole picture and taking selfishness out the equation, Jose needed it more than I did. Granted it was never even a competition because we have different blood types. When the news came I couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit jealous, angry, and upset that he soon would be leaving and I would still be here to spend my time blogging about my emotions and finding new ways to joke around with the staff. Those emotions needed to be removed quickly, because a pity party is the last type of party allowed here in the penthouse, and like I said, I knew all along he needed it more than me. Jose is 4 years older than me so naturally we were closer than me and those elder best buds of mine were that have been mentioned numerous times. Jose though had 2 young boys, was sicker than myself, and didn’t have 12 years to get ready for this like I have. So reason won out and the anger and jealousy quickly turned to elation. Jose’s sister paid me a visit a bit later and she informed me of the jealousy Jose had that I had received a shower. I don’t think I need to mention the jealousy I feel that in a couple days or so he will be able to shower every day. I even shake my head a little at the thought of two twenty something year olds being jealous not because one is dating some hot chick, or because one had the better job or bigger muscles but because one of us gets more showers than the other. So tonight I swallowed my oh so gigantic third bittersweet pill and moved back towards my mindset that my turn is coming soon. The night did turn around quickly in the form of the amazing food that is being handed to me so that I may stay as far away as possible from the garbiage (pronounced gar-by-aje) they call food here in the penthouse. Today I was handed a slip asking a bunch of questions about the food. I only answered one of the questions. The question read: How would you rate the meal you received? I circled poor about 7 times and then handed it back. So back to the happiness in the form of nicely prepared meals. Tonight me and one of the nurses order Mexican to be delivered. After that was polished off another nurse walked in with a dish filled with linguine and white clam sauce to be consumed tomorrow. To top it all off my mother will be arriving tomorrow with a dish containing sacchettini pasta and sausage with tomato cream sauce. I have always said if I didn’t have bad luck I wouldn’t have luck at all; but the one thing that I might admit I am a bit lucky about is that my heart failure seems to be completely unaffected by what I throw into my pie-hole. So today marked the day that all the original folks that I got to know first have gotten their special gift leaving myself to hold down the fort. I think if things do happen for a reason it is because no one can hold down this fort better than me. And well the nurses can try and disagree but they all know if someone had to be here for a long time they’d choose me; I mean they hang out in my room just as much as my family does. I shall continue to hope for my day to come so that I may leave this floor in the hands of Paul the music man. I have briefly mentioned Paul, but a quick tidbit is he lives two doors down and listens to rock music that is way before my time and well it only fit that he be known as “the music man”. The nurses have decided to nickname me “the young handsome smart funny charming blogging man” or it was probably something more along the lines of “the blogging man” but I can’t remember. Goodnight from bed 6 and send a couple well wishes in the direction of Jose that his surgery and recovery go well.
For most of you the answer to the title question I would hope is January 1st, or at least the 2nd or 3rd. Mine came today march 18th. Technically I haven’t stepped foot even inside a bathroom since December 15, 2011; as your all aware my bathroom is in a cabinet right next to my bed. So today I was given special privilege to venture down one floor to 9 east and shower, because I had my catheter removed for the evening before a new one is placed in the morning. I was informed that I was a pioneer in such a thing. My nurse informed me that he had never seen anyone allowed to venture to the great land that housed the heaven they called a shower. So what’s it like to take a shower after not having one for over three months? Well first you must realize this scenario is not some crazy hippie not wanting to shower due to personal choice, but someone who badly wanted one since roughly day 5 of being in here. So before the shower I used my clementine scented adhesive remover to strip off all the gook that layered my chest. And then it was time. The water getting hot took as long as when you’re waiting for water to boil and rushing to make pasta. Next I stepped beneath the shower head. The water hitting me was like little droplets of sunshine exploding on my body. I don’t know what taking ecstasy is like, but rumor has it its mighty good, but one can only hope it feels half as good as that shower was feeling in that moment. I urge you all to not shower for three months and then take one, instead of using drugs…just saying. So in order to make this shower plausible I was required to talk to my nurse the entire time, so they were aware I was ok due to the fact I was temporarily off the heart monitor. So as I sat there scrubbing I chatted with my nurse sebby about sports and sports and how good showers feel. Not often do you get to not only shower but have someone sitting there just to chat with you at the same time. And however girly this may sound nothing wrong with a good chat session, just ask the female nurses that have gossip pow wows with me till the wee hours of the morning. During my shower I overheard some nurses ask sebby: “is that the blogger?” Had to admit it was a tad bit exciting to hear my blogging fame had spread to more people, even if it was only small scale Hartford hospital fame. I could have stayed in that shower till the morning, when they would come and get me to go down to get my new catheter, but eventually I had to call it quits. Walking out of the bathroom into the cooler hallway left me with a refreshing feeling like jumping in the pool on a hot day. So after it was all said and done it felt better than I even expected, almost brought a tear to my eye with how happy something so small could make me feel. It mostly was because it was a small dose of normalcy that has been missing from my life. Tomorrow morning I get the catheter reinserted, I return to no showers, I am forced to sleep either on my back or left side, I am trapped to the wall in my room unlike the free range I have as I write this, and I am forced to call for assistance if I even want the lights turned off. All that being said I feel like this was hopefully the small taste of post-hospital life that gets me through the rest of my lease here in the penthouse. Goodnight and remember long awaited showers not drugs (I wish that rhymed like hugs not drugs does).
Cabin fever is an idiomatic term for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group is isolated and/or shut in a small space, with nothing to do, for an extended period. Symptoms include restlessness, irritability, paranoia, irrational frustration with everyday objects, forgetfulness, laughter, excessive sleeping, distrust of anyone they are with, and an urge to go outside even in the rain, snow, dark or hail. So let us all thank Wikipedia for the wonderful definition of this horrible disease that like my dead ass syndrome or whatever I called it, I have also been self-diagnosed with. So let’s break it down piece by piece. Shut up in a small space, relatively nothing to do, for an extended period of time? Does 3 months spent in pretty much just one bedroom count? Irritability? Well you can all defer to my mother on that one to see if I am irritable. If I were a bull, she just might be the red target, but I still love her to death though. Irrational frustration with everyday objects? Now the objects that come to mind here are not everyday objects to you, but to me they sure are. My blood pressure cuff and pulse ox finger probe might as well be giant chains that restrict my every move and literally make you want to tear them from your body and light them on fire and laugh some sort of evil movie laugh as they burn. Laughter? Well just go take a look at the videos I posted and see there is no shortage of that. Excessive sleeping? This is the symptom I suffer from the most. What is there to wake up for? The walks around the nurses’ station and the wonderful food that is sitting by my bed as I awaken are surely tempting, but a quick piss in my thermos and putting my head back down on my pillow for some more slumber always seems to win out. Distrust anyone I am with? Well see this isn’t really a possibility for me. Although I would love to act out scenes from the horrid movie “Cabin Fever” and act like everyone is out to eat my brain; distrusting my nurses and doctors would really defeat the purpose of my stay here in the penthouse. Lastly, the final symptom is do I have an urge to go outside no matter what the weather? Wikipedia takes its definition lightly on this part of the symptom. Not only would I go outside in rain, snow, hail, and darkness, I would also go outside if there was a hurricane, tornado, blizzard, war going on, or even aliens invading earth. So what we can conclude here, and being the resident doctor of the penthouse (all the white coated people are just pretenders) I can, with 100% certainty, safely diagnose myself with cabin fever. Now how to cure such an ailment is quite simple, just need an organ donor to pass away so that I may receive their heart…no big deal. So to take a moment away from my normal sarcasm, the most devastating part of my disease is that it takes the passing of some young person to save my life. When you battle cancer or many other life threatening diseases like it, the course of action is simple. You take certain meds and you fight like hell to beat it. For me, I sit and wait for some young person to die so that I may live on in their stead. Now as I have stated many times, my goal of this blog is to keep things light-hearted but I felt like this interesting fact about my disease should not be over looked. That being said the last thing I will say on that topic is that all you readers that support me and pray for me, the day you read a post about me receiving that oh so special gift, you take all those prayers for me and quickly point them in the direction of the mystery family that will have just lost a loved one way before their time should have come. Now because it would be a disservice to whomever that person may be one day to go back to my original point I will say goodnight and shall be beating this cabin fever shortly…I can feel it.
It's the freakin weekend baby, I'm about to have me some fun!
Today marks weekend number 13 in a row spent here on the 10th floor. Since graduating college the weekend has never had the same mystique about it, but regardless of age, job, or location the weekend will always be the weekend. Even when I had a job working weekends they were still better than the weekdays because the boss wasn’t there so you could, for example, use your cell phone while working and not be worried about getting caught. So no matter what the case the weekend was always what brought the fun. Better sports to watch on tv, movies being released, friends getting together, beer flowing like a golden river down my esophagus. So with that being said you could see the damage 13 straight weekends in a hospital could cause on the psyche. This Friday night I decided to rent a movie on itunes. It was called Like Crazy. Reading the synopsis it seemed to be it would be a chick flick and it got decent ratings and a decent amount of downloads on itunes. So you are probably thinking wait he decided to rent a chick flick to watch alone on a Friday night. If you have read other blog posts of mine this should not come as a shock to you. I have a total girly side and am damn proud of it. Reason being because once the movie ended I turned on sports center to reclaim my man hood and will watch that till I fall asleep. During this I might even go fix things, lift heavy objects, flex my muscles, and work on my jump shot in my basketball hoop… ya know MAN things. So getting back to the movie, it was a total chick flick, but a total INDIE chick flick and let me tell you it was a waste of my $3.99 itunes money. But hey it was Friday night I was chillen in my hospital bed with nothing to do but hope for a heart to come so obviously some bad movie wasn’t going to bring me down. So while I was watching sports center being a man lifting heavy things to make up for my chick flick watching I got a phone call (disclaimer: I don’t really lift heavy things…I am in heart failure remember?). So on the phone was a friend from school and we were chatting and discussing my ability to handle tough shit that comes my way and I explained to her why I was able to do so, so well. The reason I gave her was that unlike everyone else I had special cells in my stomach and when I had stress, anxiety, worry, sadness, and whatever other shitty emotion, I would take it and push it towards my stomach and these cells would eat it up and I would be fine. Now all you smartass’s out there that keep up with this blog will say well what about the day you broke down and cried. Well duh, I had taken Maalox and it had covered my cells in a coating and they couldn’t eat the problems and I lost out to the emotions. Now being back to normal I should be stress free and Maalox free for the rest of my life. Needless to say even a toddler could see straight through that bullshit but having a mindset to even come up with such a scenario is key to accomplishing such a task. Sooo my friend played along asking why she wasn’t able to do that. I explained the mutation in my genes that caused my heart disease also caused these special stomach cells to deal with the emotions that come along with the disease. So I remain confident in my ability to do battle with those emotions, but I explained to her when pushing these emotions towards your stomach to be eaten it is important to not shart. For those unsophisticated readers a shart is when you poop yourself while farting; easily occurring when trying to have your special stomach cells eat your emotions. Reading this back to myself only furthers my assertion that I am crazy, and I can only sit back and laugh knowing I want to be a doctor and knowing all too well I would want to give this idea to my patients on how to handle stress. So we finished up our convo with me giving her stellar advice, as I am known to do from time to time, and I moved on to blog writing to end my night. After I post this I will probably go eat an entire package of double chocolate milanos, get some blood drawn, check out my muscles some more and hit the hay (funny thing is unlike lifting heavy things I probably actually will check out my muscles, or lack thereof, but if you have these arm bands on like myself, even my biceps tend to look engorged). Goodnight all. Sidenote: if you will notice I have pimped out my blog, please feel free to check out the links to the right and become an organ donor and all that jazz.
Ya I cry. If you have a problem with that..I won't be the only one crying.
In 8 days I will have been here for 3 months. I have been told over and over you will have good days and you will have bad days. Although in the end every day is a bad day because I am not living where I would like to I have made it through every day with spirits up so those days are considered a good day. Today like all other days was one of those days as well, but it did not come without a little bump in the road. Now I normally never share when things go even remotely bad, I am all about humor and light-heartedness. However, I have learned that this blog is beginning to reach more and more eyes and it is important to maybe make note that living in a hospital isn’t as amazing as I make it out to be. Otherwise people would be lining up to get my genetic code from me so they could move into the magnificent penthouse and wait for a new heart too. So today was supposed to be another great day, UCONN basketball was on at noon. Nothing is better than daytime TV you actually want to watch. I had been dealing with a chest pain issue over the past couple of days, but I am in heart failure, that shits like dealing with a headache for the rest of you. I had also just watched the Youtube video about the KONY 2012 project, an amazing and intense video. Sidenote: rumor has it they are a shady foundation, but if a shady foundation may have only used 32% of their money towards the cause, that’s still 32% more than anyone else is putting towards this amazing project. So again back to me watching the also amazing uconn huskies. I don’t know if it was the worry of the chest pain, the emotional video I had just watched, or the fact at that point uconn was losing, but my body decided it was time to cry. Ya ya I know I’m a baby right. False. Real men flippin cry. Why hadn’t I cried since being here? The answer is simple I prided myself on being the bravest most optimistic heart failure patient of all time. So again I don’t know what set me off. It was actually a kind of out of body experience, no matter what I thought of or what I did the tears kept flowing. So even me the all powerful optimist was finally broken down over the time I had been here. Maybe it was dealing with this for 12 years, or being listed for transplant since September 2010, or just the almost 3 months of being here, and trying to walk through all those things like they were no big deal (or maybe I just wanted one of the nurses by the name of Swills to rub my leg and give me a loving hug) . Whatever the reason, I realized it wasn’t about getting knocked down, it is about how you get back up (lame cliché quote, keep all snide remarks to yourself). Getting back up though, is what I do and would still make sure when I went to bed I would look back and say just another good day here in the penthouse. In order for this to happen two things took place. The first being an epic battle of Harry Potter Scene It with two of the nurses that stayed after work to play with me. I will boldly admit to harry potter nerdness as will my fellow competitors nurses Jess and Steph K. The competition was fierce as no one was willing to give an inch, and we all sat intensely watching the screen to make sure of having all knowledge necessary to answer a question. As Steph K came back and won game number uno the penthouse residents booed in disgust (not really…no one cares about three dorks playing harry potter games). Game two again was a heated match, but I was not to be denied my victory. Jess almost became a patient here in the ICU with how heart broken she was from her double defeat (again not really, but shit got REAL during this game in the party room of the penthouse as it is always the envy of all other rooms)(and seriously there is a sign that points into my room that says “the party’s this way”). So as I bid the two lovely ladies adieu I was able to sit back and take in my victory, until we meet again in harry potter battle. So obviously uconn wins, I win harry potter scene it, shit was looking up. Who cried earlier today? I don’t recall anymore. The icing on the cake came with an article about a proposed bill to help increase organ donation in Connecticut, and my story was a big part of the article. I will always reiterate I have never felt my story is more important than anyone else’s but if I somehow, in any way, made an impact on something like that occurring, well then throw my pretty face on TV and call me ryan seacrest. Salerno out!
My guide to living in the hospital while waiting for a new heart to fall out of the sky.
Seeing as it is about to hit March and I have been here since December it becomes necessary to do things to get a person through the day. Now I don’t know how others that have come before would have passed the time, but because I have a 12 year old boy that lives inside my brain I tend to find things to do here and there. Yesterday was one of those days. I have always thought of the nursing call bell as a drive thru window but never tested out the response I would get if I tried it. Yesterday I hit the button and Bones (great nickname) the secretary’s voice came on and said how can I help you. I responded with “can I please have a ten piece mcnugget, and a medium fry and a dr. pepper.” Quickly Bones responded with “Do you want the value meal?” I said sure and she said ok please drive up. Completely impressed with her rapid response to my absurd request I got Brenda to undo my wires and I took my good old IV pole and wheeled on up to the nurses’ station and asked for my food. I was told the price was $8.50 but only carried $6 in my trusty fanny pack so I was unable to purchase the non-existent mcnuggets. So for whatever reason that provided me with enough entertainment to keep the mood in high spirits for the day. To further my enjoyment of the day I turned to my nurse Brenda. She is what some may call “bite size”. So I would go and stand right behind her to where I would lose her from my sight and start calling for her and asking her where she disappeared to. Again I probably found more entertainment than she did in this, but I am the patient so it’s totally kosher. The final thing that totally set this day apart as one of the more entertaining I have had while I have been here came at 1 am with my nurse Stephanie. So me and Stephanie are like teenage girls when we get together and just gossip like crazy. Night number one we stayed up till 2:30 am with the gabbing, and night number two Stephanie came in around 1:30 and thought I had fallen asleep. I had my eyes closed and she had to change my tubing so as I sat there knowing she thought I was asleep it became clear to me I had no choice but to scare her. So as she is fidgeting behind me I quickly turn over and yell her name. The result was better than I had expected. The sheer terror in her face was like a 5 year old girl getting told a scary camp fire story for the first time. Jaw dropped, eyes bulging, and looked like she wanted to grab a hold of my arm and hold on for dear life. There was quick mention about how she almost involuntarily wet herself. Luckily for her she was able to compose herself in time. Needless to say she will probably shake me and see if I am awake from now on and I guess it is deservedly so. After the initial shock of it all we were able to get to the late night harry potter talks. So like the majority I too feel living in a hospital sucks, but take it from me if you make it enjoyable for yourself and those around you, you can at least save your sanity. So the next time your living in the ICU awaiting a heart transplant make sure you keep that 12 year old version of yourself with you.
Today marked the departure of Frank the tank from the penthouse, leaving only myself as the remaining member from the three stooges photo. Frank the tank is definitely an appropriate nickname because he was here for so long and stuck it out like a trooper. In my opinion no one is more deserving of the gift he received today than he is. I learned today that Frank and I both have pacemakers and they are able to record when we are being more active. Frank’s recorded his as doing nearly 2 hours of exercise daily. I don’t know what mine will say but Frank and I agreed it will not be nearly as much. Frank I have been told was a principal and math teacher and in only the way a principal can say it, he informed me today that I should walk more. I guess it is only fair that I walk more in the honor of frank and jack. Those two walked more in this little square of walking room than I ever thought possible. Going with the stereotype of normal age range I was always sleeping in and they were always up early. Jack hasn’t been here in about a month now but frank sure does enough walking to make up for it. I would always know he hadn’t gotten a heart yet because I would wake up and hear the damn wheels running across the floor and turning around outside my door in typical frank fashion. Totally fond of the guy, but nothing is worse than trying to fall back asleep after the initial poking and prodding from the nurses when those wheels are rolling back and forth on the floor outside. Frank was a man on a mission though. Having been alive for 70 plus years the man still wore ankle weights when walking these halls and did step ups on a little step in his room. Definitely a role model for all heart transplant patients out there. Grizzly bear was the perfect animal representation of the man if I do say so myself. Him and his wife invited me to a party they are having on candlewood lake in June. I think jack will be there as well so I am excited to see the old grizzly bear and chimp in their natural habitats. Now there is another gentlemen here by the name of Paul that is also waiting for a heart, but it seems to me I’ve always considered myself a part of the jack and frank group even though they were here roughly 2 months before me and with that said I do feel like it is just me here to finish out the stay of the penthouse roommates. I do believe in never leave a man behind but I guess I’ll let this slide that the two of them left me behind; they didn’t really have a say in their eviction. I learned today that we pass down these letters that spell out hope and transplant patients sign their name on the back when they get to leave. Jack had them first and then frank and the nurses swear those who have it get hearts and it does seem to follow that pattern. I have them now and have joked (but am serious) if Paul gets a heart before me ill burn the damn things. Now that I have seniority up in this place I don’t know if I am given any extra privileges, but I am hoping to soon find out. Things I am looking to have put in place are showers, big flat screen (with cable), personal chef down in the cafeteria, and walks outdoors. Now because none of these are really feasible I guess I’ll just chill and see if I can boss a nurse or two around and say it’s because I have seniority. Whatever the case the fact remains that three stooges has now become one stooge. I shall roam these halls in their honor building up my leg muscles till I too am evicted from the 10th floor and I shall meet up with jack and frank outside of this place and do some wind sprints with the both of them. Until then goodnight world.
When people look back on their life I bet no one really remembers their 24th birthday. I would have to say for me unfortunately I will remember. I bet your thinking it’s because I spent my bday in the hospital and who can forget that. I think the real reason is because I didn’t blow out the candles; I just faked it. Can’t really have an open flame up here in the penthouse so when the final “happy birthday to you” was sung I leaned over and blew on the candles, I did not blow them out. The candles read “24”. Most people don’t feel 24 is very old, but today it sure did feel it. Maybe it’s because my roommates are many years my senior and make me feel that way. I joked that I must be old because I am spending my birthday in the hospital. If there was one thing my birthday was not lacking its sweets. I had two cakes, 60 milanos cookies, eight red velvet cupcakes, some other frosted cookies, and a partridge in a pear tree. I see the nurses always checking the sugar levels of everyone else but me. From what I can tell they should be checking me before everyone else. As a heart transplant patient I do believe I should be eating healthy and have low salt content and what not. Well I definitely don’t follow those rules. For my birthday dinner I had some chicken and basil pasta dish with parmesan cream sauce (extra sauce) from the cheese cake factory. I followed that up with a blue moon beer provided to me by one of the great nurses: Matthew. I must throw out another shout out to my dad for this metabolism because I should seriously be 300 lbs. by now. As today comes to a close I will have spent Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, and my birthday here on the tenth floor, and am currently turning the Valentine’s Day tree into a St. Patrick’s Day tree. To me these are all holidays you spend with your family and closest friends and I guess that is what this has become, and why it was matt the nurse that stayed late after work to enjoy a brew with me for my birthday. I guess that is also why I feel comfortable enough sticking my bare feet in Glenda’s face while she is trying to clean off the scale or why Diane walking in on me doing my business is no big deal, and why Melanie uses my computer to find photographers for her wedding or why me and Brenda can do some zumba together out at the nurse’s station. Regardless I think it says something about how the penthouse bond is formed and formed strong (I still really want to move out though). So as St. Patrick’s Day nears we here in the penthouse prepare to spend another holiday together even though the plan is always to not see that day come. But if we get through that then I will be forced to make the dreaded Easter tree and see if the Easter bunny has the inside track to dropping off new hearts. Or he will just be like the bunny from the movie hop and poop out jelly beans. I guess jelly bean poop is the next best option to a new heart. On a completely absurd side note my next goal is to get the nurses to make a music video. I really think it could be a big YouTube hit. I am really wondering if when they ask to take my blood pressure and I say no unless you dance on camera if that will actually work. I’ll find out when they read this and decide if I am insane or in complete agreement with the entertainment possibility of my music videography. We shall see but until then I guess I’ll keep on keeping on.
So today marked 2 months spent in the penthouse. That means I have spent 63 days here which in turn means I have spent 1,512 hours in here. 2 months really didn’t seem that bad, until like an idiot I calculated how many hours I have been here. That is so many flippin hours. When one month of penthouse life concluded I thought to myself “well that wasn’t so bad” now that two months have concluded all I can think is “MISTA MISTA GET ME OUUTTTAAA HEEEERRRRREEEE!!!!!!”. Those of you that haven’t seen Happy Gilmore really missed out on that one. Now Frank has been here for 4 months plus change and being that he is a math teacher I wonder if he has worked out the number of hours he has been here. I really hope he hasn’t because he has been here for somewhere around 3000 and that’s just insanity. To try and think about what can be accomplished in 63 days instead of being here would also be absurd. There are a few things I have accomplished while here though. I did apply to 10 schools, and I did create a new fashion statement as 2 other patients have worn the cut up shirts based on my look. I do believe I have made 3 future friends in the forms of jack, frank, and jose. Not to mention the numerous staff here that I know will love me forever. If they say they won’t they are lying, especially Stephanie, because she totally thinks I am the best patient ever. The fun part about this blog is that I now know the staff read this so when I say Stephanie definitely thinks I am awesome I know it will find its way to her whether it’s her reading this or via another staff member. Don’t worry Stephanie I think you’re alright too even though I woke up soaked in a puddle of saline thanks to you. So beyond my numerous friends and newly developed style you also learn things while living in the penthouse. For example showering is overrated. I do wonder if I went 63 days without showering outside of here if I would still have a girlfriend or even friends for that matter. I also found out that if you take the worst meal your mother ever made for you it is still 10 times better than low sodium hospital food. I also am now aware huge buff men make great nurses, because even if they weren’t good at their job they’re good to have around to talk sports with. Some of the accomplishments I am proud of in these 2 months are that I have kept my weight the same for the whole time which is pretty impressive considering my sedentary life style. Gotta thank my dad and the metabolism he passed down to me for that one. Also pretty impressed that I have only been walked in once while sitting on my throne, aka my toilet. I can’t help but worry that I have at least another 2 months left here as Jack and Frank had both waited that long. At that point I think we will redecorate the room, by making it all white and adding padding to all the walls. My birthday is in 6 days and I think all of you can guess what I am hoping to get this year for it. You guessed it: a new bed. I had saved up money for it but now due to my little predicament my ma and pops are gonna buy it for me instead. Why a bed? Because I still have a twin bed and this 24 year old body of mine needs some spreading out room. Funny how a little thing like needing a heart transplant can get you a new bed. You know what I would have gotten if I didn’t need a heart transplant? A card. But I guess every situation has its upside. Ok so in reality I do want a bed but that isn’t what I really want. You all know what I really want. My college loans paid off. So now all of you reading this please bring checks made out to Colby Salerno up to the 10th floor of Hartford Hospital. I promise to give you at least a hug. So just kidding about all this. Really could just use a new heart and get my ass outta here ASAP but since I don’t know when that will happen I guess I shall count on a new bed. One day I will grow hearts and deliver them to people on their birthdays. A guy can dream right. Happy 2 months of tales from the 10th floor…peace out.
My grandma asked me this morning if I had stopped blogging. The answer is I didn’t, but I find it much harder to write about things. The reason being is that I enjoy writing with humor and light-heartedness and I feel I am in search of that again. The penthouse has lost the pep in its step. I still got mine, as me and the nurses are still able to joke around, but my way of handling things is no new news and most of the areas I found humor have been discussed in full detail. The problem lies in the fact of how long can a person sit in an Intensive Care Unit before the penthouse is no longer the penthouse but just the 10th floor prison of Hartford hospital. I say prison because well I have not breathed fresh air in almost 2 months, I am stuck in one room, and one room only. My toilet is in my room. I don’t know about you but it seems to me most TV shows show the toilet in the room in prison cells. Welcome to my nightmare. My sister works at a prison, and she says they also get better food then me. Obviously my abundance of visitors and the food they bring me from home make it far from a prison, but I think your picking up what I’m putting down. I still think it has to be mind over matter. Medically I am stable. Yes my heart is as good to me as water is to lungs but that will be fixed in time. It is whether my mind will allow me to get there. Back to what I was talking about earlier though, and that is the penthouse has lost its pep. No longer are the obstacles in the hall when I am working out fun, but instead are an annoyance that I have to get around. Outgoing friendly folks like my boy jack have been replaced with those just finding out they need a heart transplant, and take it from someone that knows, that shit hits you like a ton of bricks, being carried by a freight train, on a space shuttle, that is falling from space on top of a meteor. So I struggle to get by. But you best believe I get by. Its things like re-nicknaming glendy “la sapa” which means “the frog” in Spanish because she is forced to wear all green now, or telling one of the nurses cough lauren cough that she consistently sucks at her job. Tonight however I was determined to write. My grandma likes reading my flippin blog, and damn it I am going to give her something to read. So tonight I set out trying to find the pep the penthouse had been missing, so I went out for a late night workout. While working out there came a moment when I laughed out loud. BALLS! They blinded my eyes the way the sun would when leaving the movie theatre. And there it was, when you least expect humor all it takes are some old man’s balls to bring you back to life. Now here in the penthouse there are those that are intubated and unconscious and really not looking too good, so there is no humor if you see their privates; however tonight that was not the case. This gentleman is a “walker” like myself. A “walker” is someone who is able to get up and walk about the floor bringing there IV pole girlfriend along with them too. So while walking I passed their room and got the sight of all sights. And well because I got to view it, you shall get to picture it. So this man was wearing the traditional green robe, and was obviously free ballin it underneath. Those of you unfamiliar with old man balls must know, those bad boys sag. So he is on his side, legs together, and poking out from between those thighs are a glorious pair of testicles. Why I laughed out loud, I don’t know. I have seen old man balls plenty as an EMT and ER tech, but it was one of those moments where the fun and humor had been sucked out of the place, and a man lying on his side watching tv, with his baby makers showing that really finds a way to bring a smile to your face. To that gentleman with that great pair of private jewels I thank you, because you, and you alone (along with your saggy sack) were able to bring the penthouse pep back. Some may be offended with the overabundance of twig and berry references in this post, but I feel most will feel privileged to hear all the different names you could have for a pair of testes, and all those in the medical field reading this I feel all they can do is relate. I have high hopes that when you read this and can picture it, that too will add pep to your step. You stay classy readers, because this blog post was far from it :-) !
As you may be aware or maybe not because you probably don’t search my blog every morning to see if I have posted I have not written anything in a few days. I feel that may become the theme over my final time here as the days drag along and all that the penthouse has to offer has pretty much been discussed. One major fact I have not written about is how the three stooges are now two. Luckily we are all still alive and kicking, but Jack aka the grey haired chimp is now kicking a floor below us with a new heart in his body. Jack getting a new heart has been bittersweet. Of course I wish it was me, but he has waited way longer in the hospital, and it’s not fun to have a friend on the floor depart. The sweet part comes in the fact that I am very happy for him because he has reached the ultimate goal and is doing great. I couldn’t help but think about how morbid it is that our ultimate goal is having our chest sawed open and our hearts cut out of our body. But the truth remains I guess that is better than the alternative. The days now consist of just sitting, walking, and sleeping, and more sleeping, more sitting, a little more walking, more sitting, and finally a little more sleeping; and obviously these are all done with a much quieter surrounding now that Jack has left. One of the nurses has turned my Christmas tree into a Valentine’s Day tree. Something that I am seeing for the first time, and would find it hard to believe if someone else had one. I figure it would be cupid who would be delivering the gifts left under the tree. What gifts he would deliver I am not sure. I was thinking he would just shoot someone with an arrow and deliver a heart. Chances are he would probably just deliver roses and a heart shaped box of chocolates. I was hoping more along the lines of furry hand cuffs and massage oils but I guess I will leave that up to cupid to decide when he leaves me gifts under my valentine’s day tree. I wonder if there is anything in the bible about that. I wonder how we got santa giving gifts under a tree for Christmas, and if Jesus would be cool with that. I wonder if the pope will get it put in the bible that all those who follow the bible should be organ donors. I wonder if the pope is an organ donor. I wonder why I am thinking all these religious things when I am not very religious. Don’t judge me based on that I am just a Biology Major and the two go together like oil and water. However, those of you praying keep that shit going because who I am to say what the real deal is. On a completely different note, I wonder who invented deodorant. I gotta tell you whoever it was did not go sleeveless every day. Even the clear gel ones get annoying when you’re sleeveless every single day. I don’t know what it is about the protection of the sleeve that allows for the comfort of wearing deodorant but it most definitely needed. That being said I have recently stopped wearing deodorant. I still yearn for sleeves however so there is no winning this battle. I also feel the fact I am hospitalized gives me all the excuses I needed to not care at all about my hygiene. Once I leave this place though it will be of utmost priority. I do believe this blog post has been my first where I had no direction or goal of my writing. It may be my favorite one yet. I would love to put a prisoner in front of a laptop and tell them to just type and see what sort of shit they print out because trust me isolation and entrapment can drive a man bonkers. One last note to bring back from a previous blog post. My ass is still killing me. No there are no pressure sores or places in my skin that are red and need some looking at by my nurses but I have been self diagnosed with a little syndrome called dead ass. How it is cured I do not know. I am thinking something along the lines of leaving this place where the activity list contains mostly sleeping and sitting would help the syndrome known as dead ass. Damn I sure know how to ramble. Goodnight.
As I have mentioned many of times the thing that occurs most in the penthouse is sitting around just thinking. Today’s thoughts wandered in the direction of what if? What if I never had a heart condition? What if I never needed a transplant? What if no one ever found my heart condition? What if I died right now? HA! Just kidding I would never have such a horrid thought. Well that’s not totally true. I did recently tell my girlfriend my memorial service would be bigger than Joe Paterno’s. His was held for 16,000 people just to give you an idea. Cocky, you ask? No. Confident that at least 16,001 people would want to attend a 2.5 hour service directed at just singing my praise? You better believe it! The question that really struck a chord with my brain though was what if I never had a heart condition? Those of you that don’t know I was one hell of a soccer player. Granted I was only 12 but just ask Europeans, you can tell a kids skill by that age. Well I had it. You can try and tell me I didn’t, but that will fall on deaf ears. Especially because I was good, and was playing with the inability for my heart to pump. I can only imagine the possibility of what I would have been like with a healthy heart and full on training in my high school years. The point is I would have won the world cup for America for the first time single handedly, and you can’t say I am wrong. I can’t say I am right, but still you can’t say I am wrong. Instead I had to quit all competitive sports at the age of 12. I mean I was still a sick athlete. Just ask camp sachem, as right before being listed for transplant I won 4/7 dodgeball tournaments. However, I almost would faint every time but totally worth it in the end. My girlfriend will tell you otherwise but I totally made her melt with my winning dodgeball ways. So back when I was twelve instead of competitive sports I took part in competitive girl hunting. Try and say I wasn’t good at that. Again you will find deaf ears. But what if I didn’t have a heart condition? I was so wrapped up in soccer I probably would have led a totally different life style. Would have had different friends, different girlfriends, and different career path most likely, because it is my heart condition that made me want to be a doctor. I would have went to a different college, would probably be living at home with my parents for different reasons than I am now, and most of all I wouldn’t be spending my 7th straight weekend deciding what to write about in a blog while sitting in a hospital. Honestly, I would probably be in Europe dominating some soccer league, throwing back some brews, and letting all the chicas take photos with me. But, like I said I am here writing a blog post. One that is completely filled with my over confidence, but a over confidence you might all wish to have and you don’t even need a heart transplant. Pretty impressive in my mind.
I next turn to what if I get this new heart what is next. Well it is simple. Take the skills that I had when I was twelve playing soccer and begin my preparation for the NFL. Obviously I will be trying out as a kicker. You may say dream on. I say kiss my ass. Yes the same ass that will not be viewed by nurses until I am darn ready. I shall be an NFL kicker, and a famous cardiologist, and famous writer, and owner of my own company. This will all be done even after my own heart that carries these insane goals with it is taken from me. So do I really feel this is going to happen? No. Obviously the NFL kicker thing is out of the question. But I had dreams of soccer fame at 12 and will continue to dream of amazing things now. I may not have had all the European chicas all over me like I thought, but I did all right with the American ones and I am not even famous yet (insert wink face here) (and just kidding Brittany). So if you are looking to come away with anything from this blog post its dream big, because if I can here, anyone can. Back to my typical Friday night now of popping those red bumps you get on your face, watching last nights jersey shore, and having a one hour vibrate session on my bed to stimulate my booty. Later folks.
So today marked one month and seven days here on the 10th floor. Seven days ago I was going to give a month in review post but decided not to due to feeling very ill from a disease called laziness. Today however marked an important day, because my neighbor Jose has left us for the 9th floor. I will not get into Jose’s medical situation, but he will be leaving the 9th soon as well and be waiting for his heart at home. Sad thing about him leaving is that the average age in the penthouse is now about 75, not including myself in the calculations. You statistics gurus out there would know me as an outlier. Unfortunately I did not see on the penthouse brochure that this was a retirement home age range when I signed the lease. That being said it got my mind thinking; which is the best thing to do here to entertain myself__I won’t get into how I talked to the nurse manager today from under my blanket pretending I was in a tent. So I was thinking about my roommates up here joined in with things I have seen on TV. What I mean by that is on TV I have seen numerous times the friskiness of those living in an old folks home. So I couldn’t help but think if I were old and single how would I be picking up the ladies here in the penthouse. Next you will read pick up lines I find would be used best by an older male patient on a fellow older female patient, or if they were so lucky maybe even a nurse:
WARNING: may be a tad bit inappropriate
“I don’t know if you noticed, but I did 6 laps around the nurses station pulling my IV pole today. If I had a woman like you walking along side me I know I could hit double digits.”
“How about we get your food tray delivered to my room and enjoy a nice dinner together.”
“They won’t give me Viagra in here, but I bet I could still get it up for you.”
“How about you let me play nurse and check your butt out.”
To the nurse: “Since you make me show you my butt all the time, how about a look at yours.”
“I still want you, and you haven’t showered in a month, if that’s not dedication I don’t know what is.”
To the nurse: “I have these stress balls here to squeeze, but I bet your boob would do the trick just fine.”
“I am on 24 hour bedrest, but that doesn’t mean I have to rest while in bed. Care to join me?”
Now whether these would work or not I do not know. Jack has a very lovely wife so I wouldn’t be able to coerce him into saying them, but maybe some gentlemen out there will read this one day and put them to good use. If an old folks home gets their hands on these I apologize for any trouble it stirs up among the population. Goodnight from the penthouse retirement home. May you all find someone to spend a 24 hour bedrest with.
As you can tell from my writing I don’t talk very much about the serious stuff. So I am not going to write about how due to political bullshit my status has been changed back to 1B and how the system of organ donation has some serious flaws. But, don’t worry my doctor will have me back to 1A in a day or two. It’s ok though because I am not going to write about it. I am also not going to write about how there was a possible donor one night so I went to bed thinking I might have a heart, to find out in the morning the donor was 51 and wasn’t an option for me and was never told of that until way later when I could have slept soundly knowing it would not be an option. But again not going to bring that up. Instead I shall discuss something my lovely girlfriend got me thinking about. What if the donor heart changed you more toward the way that person was. We all know sayings like “follow your heart” that people say when it comes to for example your feelings about someone or something. Now any person with half a brain would have to know that your heart has no part in the way you feel towards something. It is all in the brain. Sorry if that was like telling you santa isn’t real for some of you. But let me reiterate, all those things are done in the brain not in the heart. But, what if that wasn’t the case. What if the heart really was part of the decision making, and what if when mine was taken out and replaced by someone else’s it brought that with it. Well let’s just say all heart transplant recipients would think twice about a heart they accepted. So naturally my brain instantly thinks about what if I received a female heart. The saying of “follow your head not your heart” really would mean an internal battle of my vital organs. My head would be loving my girlfriend, but my heart might just be in their saying “but did you see the ass on that guy”. The real question would have to be which organ holds the ultimate power? Do I buy this pair of mesh shorts or do I buy a pair of these super-hot skinny jeans that would totally show off my curves? Do I wear this pink shirt because I am a confident male and can get away with it, or do I wear this pink shirt because it makes my heart tingle and the guy in the mall always winks at me when I wear it. Decisions, decisions. But, on another note what if I had gotten that 51 year old man’s heart. Would I wake up in dire need of the love of my children? Meanwhile my brain is telling me your 23 jackass you don’t have any damn children. The meeting of the donor’s family would be out of the question. How would my girlfriend feel when all of a sudden my heart does summersaults at the sight of the donor’s wife? Talk about weird. Annnddd Lastly what if I somehow received a 10 year old boy’s heart? Would I pretend my hospital room was an aquarium, but I was a zoo animal in an aquarium? Would I make up stupid games to entertain myself, or give myself a Mohawk to look cooler? Who knows, you tell me. Well I guess we are all just left to ponder what life would be like if hearts led the way on who and what you loved, and what life would be like for heart transplant recipients after that. Luckily though my brain calls the shots so regardless of the heart I receive I will still have that 10 year old boy in me. However, if I do receive a female heart I might just use it as an excuse for the love of shopping, just to fool all you dummies out there. Annddd I’m spent…Peace out cub scouts.
If you’re asking if I just referred to men as man candy the answer is most definitely yes! So what does this have to do with anything? It’s simple. Take what you stereotypically think about nurses and nursing units and realize the penthouse does it a bit different. What I am getting at, is that stereotypically there are way more female nurses than male nurses, and on a hospital unit there is normally a couple of males mixed in with many females. Not here on the 10th. If I were to ball park it I would say there is a 50-50 split of men to women, however because male nurses just stick out more when you see them, due to that nasty little stereotype, it makes me feel this floor is male dominant. So does that mean anything when it comes to care, or how well they are as nurses? No, they have all done just fine. However, there is something also peculiar about this floor. These aren’t just male nurses; these are MEN! What the hell does that mean? It means I am going to be super stereotypical again and say these are the male stereotype. Big ass dudes. One guy here looks like an NFL linebacker. Another looks like a shorter version of Vin Diesel. Another looks like Dr. Sloane from Grey’s anatomy. And lastly another kind of looks like Glenn Dorsey. If you don’t know who Glenn Dorsey is, google him and you shall get a good idea of what one of the men looks like from this fine nursing staff. So what does this all mean? Not a thing. Unless you are looking to start a fight with a bunch of nurses, then I suggest taking on any group other than the penthouse pimps. Penthouse pimps literally just came to me as I wrote that. They mentioned once about how the male nurses here could do a calendar. I wonder if they would call it “Penthouse Pimps”. People sure would be surprised when all of them were wearing scrubs.
One thing this testosterone factory got me thinking about was old men. Honestly, old men are kind of creepy. They always stare at women in just a way that makes you wonder what they’re thinking. Now of course not all old men are like that. I should have just named this blog post “Me stereotyping people”. Anyways the reason I thought about this is because I have some female nurses that are on the older side, and that’s what we have been accustomed to so it is no big deal. Now with this large new influx of male nurses some of these men are going to work well into their later years for whatever reasons and then we will have to try and debunk the stereotype that old men are creepy. Because honestly if we don’t, there is going to be a problem when some old dude walks into my room and says I need to see your ass. When my lovely nurse Kim did it I really wasn’t into it, but would have had no problem with it if I felt it was really needed. Now I don’t know what it is, maybe it is just me but if it was an older man I don’t know if I could handle it. You are all probably thinking: What about old male doctors? I am not sure what it is, but I feel much better about that. I believe it is because we seek out our doctors and build a rapport with them, so if they want to see my booty then they can go right ahead. You find me some 60-65 year old man rockin royal blue scrubs and he walks in and wants to take a look at my backside; well I am just going to say it, too much bad stuff in the news that makes me not trust that. However, I do believe it is because it will be new and a change from the norm; and people don’t like that. But will it slowly fade so that we accept old male nurses the way we currently accept my penthouse pimps? Yes I do believe it will. I’ll even bet my backside on it. (Then again I could be the only person that thinks this). Goodnight from the 10th, time to watch some more Californication.
So to me when I think Media day, I think of right before the super bowl when all the players have to get interviewed by numerous television crews. The players normally take this day lightly and dress up in weird outfits and what not before the big game. Today was my , and well.. I wear the weird outfit everyday so I was all set. Does that mean my super bowl is in the near future? Man I sure hope so. Now my media day was no where near super bowl level, but for a hospital I seem to have made a mark. Two local TV news crews interviewed me, followed by a call from a newspaper doing another story. Now do I think I am a big deal? You bet your ass. But, do I think I am a big enough deal that my story deserves more coverage than everyone else’s? Hell to the no. I in no way think my story is more important. If anything others are dealing with even worse than I am. But I do know one thing: not enough people are signed up to be organ donors. So if it takes me to be the one to get the news out there well then I guess I’ll take one for the team and be the face. But let me reiterate everyone else’s journey is just as important as mine. However, they may not have one hell of a mother who is not willing to sit by idle while I am living it up in the penthouse. Not to mention, she will never admit it, but she flippin loves seeing me on television. Then again I guess any mother would.
So back to my media day. It started with my nurse waking me up to say we had to keep my room clean. I asked her is she was “one of those kind of nurses”. She replied with “Nope, gotta do it for the tv crews.” So I thought to myself “oh man shit just got real”. So me and the madre were interviewed by two squads of news peeps and then they went on their way. More importantly was the change around the penthouse when the cameras are rolling. First off all, all those obstacles that my good old ball and chain runs into when were walking were no longer there, and the halls were as clean as a whistle. Everyone seemed to be on their best behavior, and my room got hooked up. Three people in it cleaning it all at once. When we get VIPs up here on the good ol’ 10th floor, I guess we go all out. So now we get to what occurred once my oh so handsome face aired on TV. Jack of course had to bust my balls and ask for my autograph. His wife and son also decided to join in and ask for one on their way out. Numerous comments were heard from nurses saying things along the lines of “heard your gonna be famous”, “hey superstar”, and “damn i thought you were good looking in person you look even better on TV” (I made that last one up). [SIDENOTE: I encourage all of you to tell yourself your good looking a lot, especially if you have a mohawk and smell bad, it really is a boost of personal confidence.] Soooo the news coverage also led to Frank asking for this website so his wife can read the blog. I really hope she didn’t take offense to me referring to her husband as a burly grizzly bear, because it sure was just for fun. Not to mention its better than being called a chimp like Jack. I mean chimps throw their own poop (Sorry Jack). [SIDENOTE NUMBER TWO: I also refer to Jose as a sloth in that post and again just want to say it was all just in fun because Jose is one hell of a guy and I sure do admire his determination.] So now that I am famous I hope things can remain the same here on the 10th floor; unless of course the fame means they will bring me better food every day. Worth a shot right?
Goodnight all. You stay classy readers!
(My girlfriend watched anchorman tonight, made me want to say that again) Peace!
It is almost 2 pm here and I have yet to really do anything today. Then again that is what it is like every day. I am working on applying to schools and definitely should get back to studying because then I will at least probably feel productive while I am here. Today however the boredom is winning out. It has led to my revelation of the penthouse aquarium that I live in. The rooms here in the penthouse have big glass doors and giant windows so if the curtains aren’t shut you can see everything in my room, kind of like an aquarium. The doctors, all like 8 of them or so, go from room to room standing outside discussing each patient in a little thing they like to call “rounds”. You’ve probably heard that on some medical TV show you watch. Well today rounds to me seemed like a group of kids going from exhibit to exhibit in an aquarium. During my gym sesh I looked in each room and thought to myself what the tour guide would say about each exhibit if it was an aquarium. Instead of sea animals though each patient became a zoo animal because they related more to that in my mind. Exhibit one holds the elder female panda bear. She just lays around all day and really brings nothing to the table, but whatever it is about pandas you just can’t help but stare at them. Exhibit two holds the grizzly bear named frank. He is old and wise and burly and will get up to walk around sometimes which always is a crowd pleaser. The next room is the mysterious hyena. He is hidden in his cave all the time and he only comes close to the window for viewing when it is feeding time. Funny thing is i am not kidding this guy is never seen unless its food time where he eats by the door. Next is the grey haired chimp. This chimp is also elder but still lively and always goofing around with the visitors. He goes by the name of Jack. Next is my neighbor the sloth they call jose. Jose just chills all day every day. When it comes time for some movement, well lets just say his pace goes along with his animal name. Next is my exhibit. What the visitors see at my exhibit? A lion, tiger, or something along those lines. Hell no! I decided I would be seen as a meerkat. Two reasons: even when theyre old they look young, and a meerkat would look pretty damn good with a mohawk. Now if only these visitors were kids and talking about our mating and pooping habits instead of our health. Actually they do talk about our pooping habits. But that is not the case, this is not an aquarium full of zoo animals, although it would be cool if all the animals I just named were actually water animals. So I must return to reality and stop picturing Jack as an aged chimp who likes to goof around and pick bugs out of his mates head. I do sometimes wonder if I have a five year old living in my head as I tend to be just as imaginative as a 5 year old would be. I also tend to imagine us as horses racing around the track, my IV pole as my girlfriend, myself as ET with my glowing finger, and also myself as Keanu Reeves in the matrix wondering which pill I should or should not take. Does this make me crazy? I think not. I think it makes me the guy who can live in the penthouse and stay sane by imagining his new friends jack and frank as a chimp and a bear respectively. I wonder if Frank would eat me in our animal forms or if we would still be friends. Welp who knows. Come check out the penthouse zoo sometime, I’ll probably come up with some animal form for you too.
If there is one thing I seem to have plenty of it is time. Time to sit, time to think, time to watch tv, time to wonder how I am going to pass time if I am in the penthouse for months. I personally feel I am a pretty clever person and can come up with things to do, like start a killer blog, might even use my new found art of writing and write a book, but I have been saying that since before I was even here and haven’t typed a word. However with my obvious interesting personality I find more amusing things to pass the time. Once I leave here I plan on being a doctor. Lofty goal, yes, but one I definitely feel will be accomplished when all is said and done. With that being said, I am obviously interested in what goes on here in the hospital. So one fun game I like to play is how can I mess with the monitors. My favorite one is with a monitor that monitors the pressures in my heart as well as the oxygen in my blood. So one day as I was using my thermos looking pee catcher I decided to dance. This dance consisted of a little bit jig mixed with the cha cha mixed with the cotton eye joe. So as I am doing this my numbers go wild as the oxygen in my blood is decreasing like crazy. Lucky for me this doesn’t send the nursing staff running in because they dont monitor these numbers except when theyre in the room with me.
Two days ago we also received new beds. These things are nuts with what they are able to do. But most importantly they can vibrate. I don’t know if anyone has ever laid on a vibrating bed but you can’t speak normally, everything is shaky. Even worse is when you try to sing. The best tune to sing while on the vibrating bed is definitely any Cher song. I mostly sing “Do you believe in life after love” whatever that song is actually called.
One part that I admittedly hate is the IV pump I am attached to. This thing won’t let me get more than two feet away from it. It is a real life ball and chain. Probably why Jack refers to it as my other girlfriend. Luckily though this thing is one hell of a dance partner. It’s on wheels so its got serious moves. Not to mention it always lets me lead. Sometimes I’ll turn the gym into a dance studio and just bust a move with my ball and chain to get the juices flowing. The old ball and chain is also fun to pretend its a car and the gym then suddenly becomes a road and you have to navigate the obstacles as you go. One point of advice, if you think texting and driving is bad in the real world, don’t even dare try here in the penthouse.
Lastly the best thing to do to pass time: find humor in the current situation. My favorite part of humor is my completely turquoise fanny pack. What I do here is totally normal, but then I think what if the things I did here with a fanny pack someone actually did out there with their fanny pack. For example I sleep with a fanny pack, and also sit on my cabinet toilet with one too. I can’t help but really want you to picture that. Pants on the floor, fanny pack still on the waist, ass on the toilet seat. When I do my pretend showers I keep my fanny pack on. I can only imagine what it looks like, but to me someone being completely naked but still having a full turquoise fanny pack on is absolutely hilarious. I really want to name my fanny, because he/she has become my trusty sidekick. Carries all my essentials: cell phone, gum, assortment of chap sticks, and the heart monitor. Not sure what to name him/her yet but I know it will hit me when the time is right. I know you are all at the edge of your seats wanting to know, so please stay tuned. Goodnight all!!
Holy jeez, look at the butt on that. Yea, He must work out.
So today marks day 17. Is day 17 a milestone? Not one bit, but it does mean I have spent 17 days in a hospital room; which adds up to a lot of sitting around. Being that my backside contains skin and skin only my bony ass gets a lot of pressure on it. Naturally my tailbone began to get a bit sore. The other day to alleviate this soreness I sprawled out across my bed making a t-shape with it in order to relieve pressure on my bottom as well as not put pressure on my right shoulder where my catheter site insertion is. Glendy my PCA walked in and found me like this. Her real name is Glenda but I call her Glendy and say were Glendy and Colby the dynamic duo. So Glendy sees me like this and wonders what the hell I am doing, and I inform her the reasoning for my positioning this way on the bed. Glendy proceeds to leave the room and return with my nurse Kim. Now Glendy is 27 and Kim is probably in her 60’s and as I am laying there sprawled out on the bed face down the two of them walk in and say “we want to see your ass”. I smartly reply “what ass”? Kim responds with “seriously ass pain is a big deal up in here so I think I should take a look at it”. She informs me that she has seen a lot of asses so seeing mine is no big deal. Now being that I have worked in hospitals I know where she is coming from. I too have seen a lot of asses and the pressure from laying around all the time can cause open sores that count as a spot of infection. So I mulled it over for a bit. I am 23 and they normally look at old dudes asses that could care less. Me? Only a select few lucky ones get to see my nonexistent backside. So I choose to inform them there will be no viewing of my ass today. Needless to say they were greatly disappointed. To make it up to Kim I told her that “if I ever do feel my ass is in danger of something definitely wrong I will gladly show her my butt.” This appeased her and the topic was dropped. So by admitting my rump was sore it led to a totally awkward moment with the nursing staff. Do I know when surgery comes I will be seen completely naked? Yes. But I will be completely unconscious so it is totally kosher. So going back to the awkward moment I was awarded for my openness, I also received the gift that can last a life time. I have deemed it the Swiss cheese pillow. It is a square floatation device thing with lots of holes in. You blow it up about half way and place it under your bottom. This thing is like heaven. It evenly distributes the pressure as your sitting so even my padless ass can feel comfort. A friend when trying it out described it as “sitting on a cloud”. When all is said and done this event of honesty led me to the revelation that all these staff members I have gotten to know might be checking out my behind many of times during my stay here, but if one thing can prevent that awkward stare down of their eyes and my butt cheeks it is this little slice of swiss cheese heaven that I am sitting on now as I write this. So remember that behind any moment of awkwardness might lay the gift of a lifetime or just a stupid pillow that I call the gift of a lifetime, but hey it’s the little things in life that count. Right?