‘He got a pretty heavy dose of narcotics’

(This special guest post was written by the poor caretaker of Adam, his girlfriend Katie)

The patient has returned. Sort of.

Adam is back in the recovery room after 45 minutes. His eyes are barely open and he doesn’t talk much at first. The doctor instead turns and gives Katie the good news: No polyps, clean bill of health, come back in five years.

Adam is awake. Katie asks him how he’s feeling. “Okay, I’m okay,” he mumbles. Katie gives him his glasses back, which he fumbles with a bit and places them on his face.

The nurse offers snacks and drinks. “Water, juice, sodas …” Adam looks up. “Coffee?” he asks. Not even the drugs can take away his love for liquid caffeine. “No, I’m sorry,” the nurse responds. “You can’t have anything hot right now.”

They only have generic soda. Adam doesn’t comprehend. “Dr. Pepper?” he asks hopefully. “Sorry, we only have generic stuff, cola, Sprite, juice, water.” “Dr. Thunder?” Adam asks. He still wants that Dr. Pepper. “No, we don’t have that, either.”

What in the hell is Dr. Thunder, Katie wonders. 

Katie suggests a Sprite. “How about a Sprite, Adam?” Adam can’t seem to decide or form the words, so the nurse brings back two cups with small straws – one with Sprite, one with cola. Adam is handed the sprite. Katie keeps the cola.

She also brings a warm blueberry muffin. Adam takes both and promptly drops the blueberry muffin on the bed. Holding the sprite, he falls asleep, and the cup starts to tip.

Thirty second later he’s awake again. “Where did this come from?” He’s talking about the muffin which is now getting all over the bed. Katie breaks off a few pieces and puts them in his mouth. “Did you bring me this?” The drugs remain strong at this moment.

Katie tells Adam there were no polyps. A minute later he says again, “I need to wait for my results.” This would be repeated eight more times over the course of 30 minutes.

Adam falls asleep again and the nurse wakes him up. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude and shun you.” The nurse looks amused.

“Did I get a passing grade?’ Adam asks. No one knows the real meaning here. A letter grade? A test without polyps? “Yes, you get an A,” the nurse says. This same scene happens again five minutes later. 

The nurse tells Adam that he will be groggy the rest of the day but can resume everything normally on Thursday. “I can even run a marathon?” he asks. The nurse looks at him, in slight disbelief, and says, “yes if you want to.” Adam has never run a marathon, but a 2014 Chicago marathon shirt is sitting in the chair next to his hospital bed.

The nurse warns Katie, “He got a pretty heavy dose of narcotics. He’s going to be having trouble remembering for a while and asking the same things over and over. This is normal.” Adam is warned not to try and work or make big decisions. Or drive. No booze.

Adam has finished his muffin (with many crumbs among the sheets on the bed), but now he’s thirsty. Katie gives him the cup of sprite. “Is this mine?” he asks. Katie took the sprite and set it aside when it started to spill a few minutes before. “I have TWO SODAS?” Unfortunately, none are Dr. Pepper, or even the generic Dr. Thunder. 

The nurse asks if Adam wants another snack. She lists off the options: chips, pretzels and Cheez-its. Adam can’t decide at first but opts for pretzels. He swings the bag around in triumph.

It’s time for the IV to come out. The nurse apologizes for pulling his skin and arm hair. “I’ve been dealing with it all my life … guess it’s time to start shaving my arms,” Adam says. The IV is out. A moment later, he has forgotten. “They took out my IV already?” 

He looks around. “Am I all done now? Were you in the room with me?” 

“This bed is warm,” Adam says. “I could stay here a couple hours watching TV. There’s noise in the hall. I’m productive that way.” 

Up next is the task of getting dressed. Out of the gown, into the underwear. Adam is unsteady on his feet so Katie helps him sit back on the bed. 

All dressed and ready to go for a wheelchair ride. 

Colonoscopy complete.

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