Soft-Boiled Egg-Head

March 2007     San Francisco

Sorry I had to write a long not funny report on myself. This sort of attention is not really my style, but typing this is going to be easier than trying to explain it to people in person.

About 3 weeks ago I went back east for an event. I haven’t lived there in years and I don’t often do Tahoe in the winter, so I’m no longer adapted to black ice, but I sure found some while crossing a parking lot, and down I went, hands in pockets, cracking the back of my head and going out for a couple minutes. I awoke with one side covered in blood and the other in vomit, ended back at my hotel room, not actually feeling too bad.

Two things I’d like to point out in terms of the crushing irony that is my life: With a doubtless life-threating emergency on hand, I needed a paramedic, if not a medevac flight. Naturally, conveniently, I was the only paramedic on-scene, and was so confused, bloody and soft-boiled in the brain that I choose to go back to my room, unable to treat myself, but *sure* that I was just fine.  Just in case, I put a trashbucket next to my head and passed out. Nice work. That’s first aid.

Somehow I awoke the next morning, washed off the clots, dressed well and drove my rental car all around. Very poorly and swervaciously, with no real grip on reality. I wasn’t altogether aware: ok I am dizzy and blurry, I am a clutz, I’ll skip the stitches because the wound is not visible and I’m so tired. Such is the helpful nature of a concussion – good judgement is far gone and out. Obviously.

That night I puked and slept at the Motel 6 again, drove very poorly to the airport and flew back home (high altitude = bad idea). Now I came down with a headache finally, and the projectile vomiting began: In the airport, on the plane, on the train, in the train station, on my walk home, etc. I began to dully believe I was concussed, but opted not to go to the first-class trauma ER at SFGH about 500′ from my house. No, I slept for about 15 hours first, did not die, and went on monday night. At this first-rate ER though, I was treated and tested by a first-year resident doctor, who inexplicably chose not to xray, CT scan or admit me despite the multi-item list of serious and highly threatening difficulties that I had compiled and recited for her. Confused and dented as I was, though, I didn’t protest her, or her entire treatment to be of two Vicoden, one antinausea pill and go home.

Worth noting I think is that I was treated by a Dr Ngo (pronunced “No”) and a Dr Yeh (pronounced “Yea”) that night. Guess who won? Not me! They wouldnt even listen to my suggestion of “Maybe.”

So I went home, of course, and slept on and off for 48 hours, alternating with projectile puking up all my drugs and bile, and driving once or twice. My hearing was now ringing right out to nothing, i couldn’t walk or drive well, was dizzy and light-bodied, and immobilized by headaches, pain and general confusion. So my lovely female now dragged me retching-for-distance back to the ER. My former instructor senior nurse there was on duty – she adopted me, recognized the grievous hospital neglect from days earlier, got me a suite and stuck me with IVs and morphine, and ran all the costly tests, the paged the Neurosurgery chief, Neurology staff, and probably their lawyers.

There was no mistake this time: I had two internal skull fractures, pressure built up within the cranium, a 3 mm brain shift off center, two subdural brain bleeds, a bruised cerebrum, and a pocket or two or trapped old blood. Hmmmm.

I spent the next 6 days and nights on the neuro ward doped up, mostly conscious, not eating a damn thing, and admiring the head wounds, scalp scars and new-found mental limits of the patients around me. It was like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest. Fortunately, the bleeds stopped and surgery was not required. I got a lot of senior attention and hand-wringing apologies, which I am happy and lucky enough to be able to accept. On a rare occasion, mom and dad were in town, so are in on this misfortune. I tried so hard for the first two days at home to lie and conceal all this to them, but I looked like 100 miles of bad road and couldn’t stop repeating questions. Duh. Mom’s a nurse. They got fully involved.

I wasn’t into taking visitors at the joint due to the stress of then having to converse and explain. Thanks those of you who tried to come down. I was styled instead by my lovely girlfriend Anita. She catered to my needs day and night as my personal nurse, force-feeder, legal representative, caretaker, and entertainer. Thanks, night nurse!

On maybe the only positive notes along with the non-limitation, I am down 25 pounds of beef to my actual college weight and my leather pants fit my previously fat ass again. Yes, ya’ll.

And for those of you keeping track at home, update your scorecards from last year: these are bones number #24 and 25 in the career total. Nice. Yes, much to be proud of. Map ’em! Hard to believe that most injuries have been from odd, random accidents, and rarely drinking related. Must…be…less…clumsy. Sorry to freak any of you out. I was freaked out too, but I am improving every day now.

Finally, my Cali boy Tom W. from way back accused me of having just expired life number six or seven of the nine lives I was obviously issued this time around. Smart-ass. So what, hater? I still gots a couple left, sucker. One timer.

I’ll be cleared to work again, pilot the Mud Falcon, and get out on the town again within a month or so. See you then.

Humpty Dumpty



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