November 15th, 2005


What really matters

I hardly know where to begin. I guess I'll just go chronologically and ramble a whole lot. Sorry 'bout that in advance.

We got a call from alias_node on Saturday evening, letting us know that he's in the hospital. He'd had swollen glands in his neck, pressure in his chest, and a fever of 105.9 degrees, which the hospital had gotten down to 103. He'd actually been in the hospital last Tuesday and was discharged on Wednesday with antibiotics, potassium supplements, steroids, and an anti-nausea medication. His condition had deteriorated, so he'd been re-admitted on Thursday night. I somehow failed to grasp the gravity of the situation at the time. Things are a little clearer in retrospect.

I couldn't see him on Saturday, but I went over on Sunday to visit. A couple of his friends from Howl-o-Scream were there. alias_node looked like a mess. The left side of his neck is visibly swollen, and he is unable to turn his head. He was in a clearly weakened state, in no doubt due in part to having eaten no solid food since Wednesday night. He is, in fact, so weak that every time he laughs too hard he semi-passes out for a few seconds. If it wasn't scary it'd be really funny. He's on regular morphine, which he rather seems to like. Of greatest concern is that he wasn't wearing any black at all, and was watching football on TV- a sure sign of the apocalypse. I learned that his temperature was back down to normal, and they'd done CAT scans of his head and chest earlier in the day. The plan was to give it a day and see if the antibiotics and steroids reduced the swelling any (though his blood tests had come back negative for pathogens). His friend/my acquaintance Stasia soon arrived, and stayed longer than I did. (She'd originally gone to the hospital with him, and has been spending a lot of time there since then.) A couple of his friends from work also stopped by.

We kidded around about avian flu, implanted poison capsules in his neck, the Guinness sign I brought in and attached to his IV bag, and sneaking Doritos into the hospital (which I actually did, but nobody ate any (especially Ryan)). When I left he was in decent spirits considering the situation, but he smelled like he hadn't showered in days ('cuz, 'ya know, he hadn't). :-) I helped him stand and shuffle over to the bathroom at one point, and thereafter my shirt had a bit of a funk to it. :-)

My plan was to visit him after I got off work tonight, which I did. Before I left work though, I got a call from zensidhe. Ryan had been trying to get ahold of me, but my cell phone reception is spotty at work and it hadn't rung through, so he'd called Mike.

The news wasn't good, which is to say it was extraordinarily bad. (I believe the doctor had actually used the word 'frightening' when describing the CAT scan results.) He has masses in the back and side of his neck, and all through his torso, including just above his heart. Not much is known about them yet, but the doctors are deeply concerned that they're malignant. They've scheduled a biopsy of his chest for Tuesday, which is going to be a pretty invasive procedure. Almost as a side note, the swelling hasn't gone down at all.

I left work and went over. At Ryan's request I brought Guinness, though obviously he couldn't have any. He did seem happy to be in the presence of Guinness consumption, though. :-) His mom, Stasia, and his friends Susan and Heather were there when I arrived. It was almost a party. Well, almost.

Ryan's mood has understandably taken a downturn. He was understandably quite upset by the news earlier, and in constantly having to re-tell the story it got easier, but only a little. Even having three hot chicks in his bed with him could only lift his spirits so far, though when I pointed it out to him he did his laugh/pass out thing again. :-)

He has a bit more color to him today than yesterday, though I'm told that it's because they've increased his morphine dosage (which was below what's considered normal). They've also started giving him Oxycodone at regular intervals. He'd changed clothes (he said the last set was starting to grow penicillin). We all generally hung out and watched various videos on Gir (which he seemed to enjoy). He got several phone calls. He's gotten three stuffed animals, a bamboo plant, and a cactus. I brought him a couple of books, and we're going to see what can be done about getting him a DVD player (I'm prescribing him a steady diet of StrongBad and Invader Zim.)

Visiting hours end at 11. I stayed 'till midnight. Stasia was still there when I left. We don't yet know what time they'll be operating tomorrow.

I'm numb, but at the same time I'm so afraid for my friend. I'm used to that, of course, as anyone who knows him will understand. I'm used to worrying that he'll get arrested, or beat up, or possibly accidentally hurt himself, or get someone pregnant. He's irresponsible, unreliable, and an irrepressible bon vivant. Worrying that he might die- that he might miss all of the cool things the world has to offer, and the fun times we have yet to share- is a completely different experience. I have to say, after being involved in this for only two days, I have a new appreciation for the entire ordeal that redheadlass went through with her aunt Betty. By "appreciation", I of course mean "awe".

Ryan and I have supported each other through some very dark times in the past. I've cried on his shoulder more than once, and he on mine. And so it will continue. To that end, I may have to be a little more agile with my schedule and a little less available until we're through this. I trust everyone understands.

I would like to make one last thing clear, and I apologize to everyone for even bringing this up but I feel it needs to be said. Call it 'pre-emptive bitchiness', if you will. Among those whom I am blessed to count as readers of my Live Journal (and if you're reading this, believe me, I feel blessed), more than one bear varying degrees of animosity towards Ryan, for varying reasons. I don't begrudge anyone their grievances, and take pains to remain uninvolved and neutral, but don't bring it into my LJ. Post what you like in your own journal. Hell, give me crap about it to my face if you're feeling brave, but there's no place for it here, okay?

Thanks. I have an overdue date with a certain comfy bed and some snuggles from mia edzino.
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