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The Goddess of battle, strife, and destruction explains it all for you

The Neurology Ward



July 8, 2006



I recently got out of the hospital after spending 5 days in the neurology ward, courtesy of several seizures.


I had the whole work up while I was there: my brain was dyed, fried and MRI’d – and while it does indeed appear that I do have a brain, I’m now on a particularly nasty and expensive anti-convulsant called topamax.  I hate the stuff – it’s so impairing.  My neurologist assures me that I’ll get used to it but until that time I’m having a hell of a time in the interim.  I also have to inject an anticoagulant into my stomach daily and jeez, it’s expensive.  Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars and I have no coverage.  Ouch.


As an added side effect of the topamax, the average patient loses 10-20% of their body weight.  I started at 118 and I’m 5’5”.  I’ve been on it since June 21 and as of this morning I’m about 110.  This ain’t good.


The hospital itself was Dickensian – it was the filthiest place I’ve ever been in.  The smell of urine hit you as soon as you got off the elevators.  Most of the other patients there were in for advanced dementia or Alzheimer’s or similar disorders and God help me, if I ever get to that point, just shoot me.  They made me stay there while they switched the meds over to be sure that I didn’t seize during the process.  I paid $1000 for a private room because I simply couldn’t get any rest otherwise – money well spent and I don’t regret it but I could ill afford it considering what I’m now facing in ongoing medication costs.


I was the only one there not in diapers. It was like being trapped in a giant urinal surrounded by a throng of incontinent zombies.  That sounds cruel and I don’t mean it to be – I was quite heartsick at the state of some of these people – one in particular.


Her name was Sandy.  She was in her 90s and was quite gone with dementia.  She’d been transferred from an old age home and from the state of her, you’d guess that she had no family.  She was clothed in filthy sweaters and hospital gowns.  On my one-day pass, I went out and bought her some clean clothing and warm socks – she was always cold.  I sat with her every night, even though she never really had a clue who I was.   We sat and chatted about her life although she really couldn’t keep the thread.  If you left her alone, she would cry that people were trying to kill her – dear God, it broke my heart.  She wasn’t in any danger or pain.  She was simply terrified and disoriented but she would settle if she had someone to talk to.  The nurses had no time to tend to her so they would tie her into a wheelchair and leave her by the nurses station, as the rest of the patients were more or less completely dependent on them for everything.  I wasn’t doing anything anyway so I sat with her and once in a while, we had a good laugh.


“Do you want a drink of something, Sandy?” I asked her.


“Yeah – how about a highball?”  I gave her some apple juice instead.


Once she asked me what I thought of the men in the place.  She asked me if I’d ever “you know, done it”.  She was a sweetheart.  No human being deserves an ending like this, just sitting around in an increasingly engulfing darkness waiting to die.


She’d forget me from one day to the next but I arranged to have some treats brought in for her (timbits and tea) and some body lotion (her bedsores were horrifying).  I tried to read to her but she’d interrupt me every paragraph or so because she’d forget what I’d been telling her, so I’d just sort of go with it.


She talked about how she didn’t understand why everyone got so bent out of shape about “mixed marriages” – her version of that involved a union between a catholic and a protestant. She’d share gossip with me like I knew the people involved and she’d expect me to comment on it.   She was grateful for little kindnesses (like a manicure or a backrub) and by the end of the week, she was even beginning to remember me a bit I think.  The nurses said that this was progress.


The day before my release, I was furious to learn that she indeed had a son, one who was apparently quite content to let his own mother rot in filth and misery without even visiting her.  I was ready to knock his block off.  In the end, I just gave the nurses my business card and left instructions that if she needed anything, they were to call me.  I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at how low people can go, but everyone once in a while, the sheer assholery of my fellow man takes my breath away.  If this jerk had just made the effort to spend part of every day speaking to his own goddamn mother, maybe her connection to planet earth would be a bit less tenuous and her last days of life would be less terrifying and lonely for her.


What a fucking jerk.  I wouldn’t wish this fate on my worst enemy but I hope it waits for him.


Till next time,



Copyright© the Morrigan & Heartless Bitches International ( 2004
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