My Throat

Imagine food going down the wrong way and piling into your lungs. Oh, right MY lungs. I’ve been a mouth breather most of my life. Contributions to my snoring accepted, but not the noisy chewswing, even with my mouth closed from ear to ear. But I’ve looked up throat, wondering of course. I must be able to get picture of my throat there must have been some.

One illustration looks like the outside of our vacuum-cleaner hose. My mother used a vacuum cleaner to do a quick spot clean of the paper on the bottom of the birdcage. She glot the birdshit, but sucked up the canary, an unexpected consequence. The canary was pronounced dead on removal from the dust bag, a broken neck the diagnosis by my mother, a biology teacher.

I am still alive, thanks to my wife, and the teams of paramedics, doctors and nurses in E.R. and I.C.U. though they did tell my wife several times they doubted I would make it. I was inturdbated um intubated, and put into a medically induced coma, while they took to me privater room in ICU and got down to the hard work of vaccuming out my previous evenings dinner and snacks. There were no recreational drugs or alcohol consumed at all. The problem started with the widely publicized horrors of opiods.

I don’t have the heart to go into much detail, but I could not get a prescription renewal for a small amount of opioid to manage my chronic pain, for that I would need a GP where I had been a patient, or an addictionist. The addictionist was an unhappy one, and will have lost patients. The assumption was that I was an addict, and the pain management thing was just a white collar cover. Whatever they thought, the doctor insisted I switch to methadone and wrote a prescription that he would write for an addict. This was three times the dose I could handle from my minimal opiod OxyNeo dose I had been prescribed by a new GP that was convinced to return to Alberta. Too bad. I took the prescribed dose of methadone at bedtime July 18th, 2022. I nearly died.

July 19th, at 4 in the morning, my wife noticed I was having difficulty breathing and couldn’t wake me and called 911. She saved my life by not hesitating to make that call. This story becomes hers and the health professionals that cleaned me out top and bottom. I just had a moment writing these words, talking to my heart as Grace Paley writes she was taught by her father or grandfather, tell your heart to keep beating to remember its work, as I wasn’t yet finished mine, I added.

It was a hugely difficult situation for my wife, having married me just a year previous. Three years before her husband of 22 years had died of oesphagal cancer, throat cancer. A heavy smoker and a scuba diver; having given up both well before his diagnosis. He didn’t have the lungs for it, but most of all he did not have the throat he needed to live. That my wife remained calm in this crisis is remarkable, while me going ape-shit on regaining consciousness and finding I was tied to a bed, on a pile of my poop, not so surprising.

We spent our first anniversary in hospital, about to sign our will that week; but with no DNR handy for Emergency workers. Heroic measures that were described to me after I was conscious and on a ward with the other nearly dead had not been taken. The hospitalist  said how about signing a DNR now. Because of the circumstances my wife said NO and told me to say NO as well, so still no DNR and our will will be signed as revised after this experience.

The hospitalist was a young doctor, who, to make sure I understood, mimed the heroic  measures he had not been instructed to be  used or not used. Making the decision seermed the real problem. He mimed each heroic measure like cracking my chest, like using the defibrillator, all of a sudden we were playing charades with my life because I am hard of hearing. And I had previously the same morning hallucinated a row of suited up hockey players walking down the carpet between our beds to confess their sex crimes and be sentenced to community service.

So taking no chances, no real idea whether there had been brain damage with the low levels of oygen in my blood, or I was deaf,  he mimed the heroism for which he was trained. Answer was still no. He sighed, and turned tail wearing his red bespoke suit and hat for the  fête outside in the park by the lake nearby. I survived. I am most grateful for my wife Michelle willing me to be rescued and to stay alive. She has suffered these months as I have, but much more during the week I was in an induced coma with health professionals leaving my bed shaking their heads.






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