Friday, July 01, 2005

Bill's not-so-excellent adventure

If you're a long-time reader of this blog you've met ensemble member Bill Ereñata before...whether during Candide, Ragtime or now Brigadoon!

Bill had a scary time a couple of weeks ago, and he's such a good story teller it reads like a suspense novel. I'm just going to ruin things and tell you there's a happy ending, but check out what can happen when you're a a really deep sleeper!

As Bill tells it:

"I awoke Saturday morning with a left arm which was not working. Thought I had slept wrong, and that it would soon return to normal. As it hadn't by the time I was ready to leave for the day's rehearsals, I called our trusty stage manager, Karen, to let her know that I suspected that I might have had a stroke during the night, and was instead pointing my car in the direction of Good Sam Hospital. Of course not knowing what might happen, and knowing that they would be interested in the prescriptions I was taking, I grabbed a plastic bag and filled it with all of the bottles from the medicine cabinet (I sure wasn't going to sit down and try to make a list of everything); stuffed it into my tote. Then, as I knew that if they kept me there, I would have to take out my contacts, I found my pair of glasses; that too went into the tote. Of course, if they didn't keep me, I needed my music and dancing shoes; they too went into the tote. Hospitals like to get paid, so I had to ensure that the tote also contained my Medicare and supplemental cards. Finally, ready to go.

Oops, there was the "Brigadoon" VHS tape I had rented from Hollywood Videos; due by midnight on Sunday. Should I risk it? No, better drop it off on my way. So, it too went into the tote. Ready to go at last.

[Ed.: OK, at this point I was already completely amazed that the guy thinks he's had a stroke, and he's got the presence of mind to remember all this stuff, the optimism to bring his rehearsal clothes...and returning the video? That blew my mind! But let's get back to Bill.]

"Lugged the tote to my car and then the fun began. I have a low-riding Honda Civic Del Sol, so usually sit down, swing my legs into place, grab the door with my left hand, close it, reach back and grab my seat belt (again with my left hand) and I am on my way. It wasn't working that way and I had to find innovative ways to get those things done."

[Ed.: My S.O. has a Civic del Sol, and they are damn hard to get in and out of.]

"Finally, I was on the road. Midway was Hollywood Video. Stopped, dropped off the video, and then had to repeat the innovative antics to make myself ready to drive again. I arrived at the hospital and dragging my tote, made it into the emergency desk and told the triage nurse that I thought that I may have had a stroke. She calmly listened to me (no slurring of speech), had me smile big time (so sagging of one side of the face), and of course, asked what prescriptions I was taking. Digging into my tote, at the bottom I found the plastic bag and handed it to her. She smiled, took down the data, and then ushered me into the emergency area.

"Disrobe down to your undershorts, put on the hospital gown, and get onto the guerney, and the doctor will be right in."

Depositing the laden tote on a vacant chair, I attempted to comply with the orders. Under normal circumstances a hospital gown is a challenge; in this case it was an impossibility. I somehow managed to try to maintain my modesty, and then the next challenge was to get onto the gurney. Didn't realize how much my left arm had served me in the past; without it to help, I had to make jumping up and roll maneuver to get on. Of course then the untied hospital gown was then no longer
doing much to maintain my modesty. At least I was now in place, trying to relax. Then it was many many tests.

Finally, the doctor comes in and says that all of the tests did not show any indication of stroke, but ... unwilling to just let me go, they were having my doctor called to come in and sign my release. Finally got release about 4:30; no food or coffee ever offered; no bed pans offered, and I had to twist and squirm to get to the call button, and to find a pencil in my tote to poke at the drapes so that I could open them enough to get someone's attention to disconnect me so that I could get ready to leave. It was not the way I would have chosen to spend 9 hours of my life!!

So, it is now Tuesday, and I can now raise my left arm up and touch my head; still can't raise my hand into the air, but it is getting there. The probable culprit; sleeping on my side I had most likely pinched a nerve and caused the surrounding tissue to become inflamed, which would eventually cure itself.

Phew. I know this will never happen to me because I never sleep in one position long enough to pinch a nerve. All I can say is that I'm thoroughly amazed by how calm Bill stayed throughout. Returning the video is the part of the story that really kills me! Oh, and I think I skipped the part where he called Karen mid-way through the day to tell her he definitely wouldn't be able to make it to rehearsal. Ya think?!

Glad you're OK Bill, thanks for sharing your story.

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