About My Recent Hospital Stay—1: Friday night, December 1

So Friday evening, December first, about ten-thirty at night, I asked my wife, Janine, to call for an ambulance. I could barely breathe. I had been barely breathing for days; for weeks, I had found it difficult to take in a breath when I did something as simple as stand up or walk five steps; and for months, for more than a year, I had been told that I had (1) long Covid, which affected my breathing, and/or (2) COPD, the result of my smoking for 26 years, even though I quite 27 years ago.

Once admitted into the hospital, I waited hours before being taken to a room. Lying on the gurney in the emergency room bay was not a problem; moving even the slightest cost me my breath. When I was taken to my room at three in the morning, I was gasping like a landed fish for a long minute or minute and a half at a time—an eternity. Sitting up on the gurney triggered it. So did trying to place my feet on the floor.  Anything did. I told the attendant techs to let me die. Let everything in me go into collapse. I was kind of in shock. Later, one of the nurses told me he was ready to start CPR on me at any second.

Once in bed, I relaxed, even as the nurses treated me like a human pin cushion. I was extremely anemic. But I began to receive blood, eventually 4 liters, and, later, 2 liters of iron.


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