Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Return of Doug The Thug.
     First of all, you may not want to read this entire blog and I wouldn't blame you.  I have been gone from "Live From Studio 5!" now for exactly twelve weeks, (84 days)  A QUARTER OF A YEAR!  So I got some splainin' to do.  Originally we joked about my exploits, in the Himalayas, taking in the Grammies, partying with Sir Paul McCartney, going to the Academy Awards but I gotta fess up.  It was all BULL SHIT.  Yes, I must admit.  The real story was something else. 
Doug The Thug has anger issues.
Here's the story:   
About three months ago, I started feeling weak and out of breath.  Everything was very hard to accomplish.  I kept at the radio show because it was mostly computer, internet work, culminating in about a six hour shift at the station culminating in a live radio show every week.   A good 40 hours of work every week for each show.  I'd go in each week and pretend to be healthy but I could do less and less until the week of January 9th when I took my co-host home, dropped her off and headed home.  That night I barely made it in the door.  I dropped everything in the doorway, went down to my bedroom, took my shoes off and crawled into bed with my clothes on. 
   I continued to become weaker day by day until I could barely get dressed in the morning.  On Jan 19 my heart finally about gave up the ghost.  I was taken to a hospital where they had to stop and restart it. "Heart Failure" was the diagnosis, but why?   After a week there they sent me to a nursing home to either die or get better if they could figure out what the problem was and what to do about it.  It ended up being a serious infection in my heart valve.
   The nursing home was a dreadful place!  I was the youngest person there.  At the time I just wished to die.  Bad food, people propped up in wheel chairs, lots of moaning and wailing and worst of all…. chemotherapy injections around the clock, every four hours, each one taking about one hour so for the one in middle of the night, they'd wake me at two o'clock, hook up the IV, then come back in one hour to disconnect it.  I never got more than a couple of hours of sleep.
    I finally told them can I PLEASE go home and do this myself?  They finally tested me to see if I could do it and after a few days I was OK to go home and take care of it myself.  When the nurse came out to get me going she said I would be hooked up to a machine 24 hours per day.  I briefly freaked out but then immediately I realized that I had to only change the IV bag twice a day, morning and evening,  a much better situation! 
   So I did that for just over a month, carrying this purse around, getting the tubing tangled up and snagged on everything.  As the days wore on I got weaker and weaker until I was like a zombie, literally.  They said that's common with that medicine.  I could only inch around the house.  Every normal task was like climbing Mt Everest.  Getting up from a chair, getting in and out of bed,  AND losing my mental capacities.  I didn't care if I lived or died.  The only thing keeping me going was Karen and my radio crew and the fact that after 6 weeks of this I would take a test and my heart infection would be gone.  Absolutely no doubt about that.  I eagerly counted the days. 
   O n Thursday March 17, I went in for the test.  It was gruesome.  The Dr made me gargle and swallow some nasty throat paralyzer, then he kept spraying something else in there and jamming his entire hand down my throat.  If I gagged he'd spray some more in there and do it again, about 3-4 times until he could jam his whole hand in my throat and I wouldn't gag.  THEN I was ready for the camera to go down there to take pictures of my heart valve from the inside. 
    As expected, it was PERFECTLY HEALED, HOORAY!   BLOOD CULTURES ALL NORMAL SO he said "NO MORE CHEMOTHERAPY."  I was elated.  The nurse pulled the IV's out of my arm and now I'm a a free person!  Can't quite get used to not dragging that thing around all the time.  Now I'm anxious to come out of this zombie state.  I was hoping that in about a week I would have 75-80% of my old self back.  But NO-O-O!   I'm still very wobbly on my feet.  I'd hoped I'd be chipper and raring to go by now but alas, this could take weeks, maybe months, I hope not. 
   I finally got to take a "normal" shower.  I had taken a few showers but it's quite an ordeal.  I could disconnect my pump between cycles but have to put a plastic bag around the arm where the IV's and tubes go in and tape it up good.  With that gone now, I just take a regular shower but boy am I wobbly.  Getting in and out of the shower is treacherous and getting someone to help me is out of the question-- what could they do??
   So throw in a stroke here, a seizure or two there, bad side effects from the drugs and I'm still a damn basket case.
   I could wait til hell freezes over to get better but I don't have any problem TALKING or pushing buttons or shooting videos so I'm just going to bite the bullet and get my ass back to work and help out my dear, DEAR, long-suffering, hard working L5 crew who have been really struggling to cover for me in my absence.  No, I wasn't traveling the world visiting the Grammies, and Oscars, hanging out with Paul McCartney or the Grand Ole Opry.  I just didn't know how to deal with it, and I certainly didn't want any sympathy.  So I'm back, and twenty-five pounds lighter!
   So that's my story and I'm sticking to it.   I thank all of my dear co-workers for their indulgences, for covering for me and for keeping a secret. 

  Now if I can just keep that weight off……