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HARD TO SWALLOW

Swallowing is more important than getting dressed in the morning; and essentially connected to always breathing.

My altered breathing at 4am alerted Michelle something was wrong. She tried to wake me and I was unresponsive so she called 911. Michelle saved my life, beginning a horrifying two weeks in the hands of our overworked health care system. Excellent  doctors and nurses, just not enough of them.

When the fire truck, paramedics and ambulance arrived, my blood oxygen level was 80% and my blood pressure was dangerously low. When I arrived at ER Michelle was asked for permission to intubate me (put me on a ventilator).

A new medication, begun at too high a dose,  had put me into respiratory depression. None of the food from the previous evening had been digested and there was a small bleed in my stomach. All of this had to be suctioned out. I was transferred to ICU, on a ventilator and in a medically induced coma. The respiratory depression had also caused aspiration pneumonia.

I was in the ICU on a ventilator for 6 days, tied to my bed so I wouldn’t choke or dislodge the tube, and spent a further week on a regular ward. During that time they tried to reintroduce some medications and I had a second respiratory depression as I was only breathing 6 times a minute. “Studies show” drive me nuts, but to get it down, recovery is considered to take one week per day of intubation. This is to recover basic physical strength and mental clarity. I re-entered consciousness frustrated beyond belief.

LOOK is connected to my manuscript ALWAYS BREATHE, and the poems I have in my notes strengthen my manuscript. I now know what it’s like to really have my breath taken away. There is a large backstory, my wife is talking to the Director of Primary Care, Central Okanagan, trying to find a Family Doctor (a GP) to guarantee consistent care. I am also committed to finding a Dr. Psychiatrist who will be as comfortable with psychotherapy as prescriptions.

LOOK show has been postponed and potentially changed. We’re doing the production bits first and collecting everything we need for the show to go on, virtually for certain and physically most likely in April 2023. I’ve seen some of the work, one piece actually finished, and it’s disappointing not to exhibit October 1st as planned. Waiting is not one of my stronger virtues.

All artists will be paid their commissions, and their work will be exhibited potentially imagined shown in several different ways.  My writing for the “show” won’t be finished until I examine my swallowing as well as my breathing. I was pleased to read” Victor is a 67 year-old- poet and writer,”at the top of my discharge papers recognizing I work.

I am back at my writing desk today Wednesday, August 10th, after being admitted to Kelowna General Hospital on Tuesday July 19. A long time, especially if you are trying to complete the Abject Alphabet In the Time Zone. Making choices is even harder now, a problem born out of depression. Do I rewrite the 500 words about lungs in Pieces of My Mind/My Body in Parts, Or do I add a sequence to ALWAYS BREATHE, oh, and then there are those pesky Dead Mennonites. May my muttering and choices never cease.

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2 Comments

  1. Pam Klassen-Dueck
    Posted August 11, 2022 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Don’t know any words of comfort but I keep listening (reading).
    -PKD

    • Posted September 21, 2022 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Writing, reading, singing all aided by knowing someone is listening.

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