JOHN OSTRANDER: WHERE THE HELL HAVE I BEEN?

Medical-Symbol-tattoo

by John Ostrander

Frequenters of this spot…are aware I’ve been MIA for the past two weeks. Attendees at the Jedi Con in Dusseldorf, Germany, also know I was a no-show. Mike Gold has supplied the basic info but I feel I should elaborate.

I’ve been sick. Really, really sick.

It started with the Rock of Gibraltar, a 7 mm kidney stone that took up residence in my right kidney. The doctor went in and yanked it out in one piece, leaving a stent to help me pee.

My penis had an opinion on all this. “No no no! Things go out that way; they don’t go up!” The penis was overruled and has been very sullen ever since.

The stent was removed about ten days later in the doc’s office in a sort of “wham, bam, thank you ma’am” procedure. No ceremony. They just inserted a tube and pulled out what looked like a long green worm. It took longer to fill out the paperwork than to perform the procedure.

Four or five days later I was back in the ER. I’d developed a fever, a bad pain in my back, and my bladder wasn’t emptying right. They told me that 400-600 ccs on urine would cause most people discomfort. 600-800 should have people doubled up in pain.

I had 2000 ccs.

Some nurses suggested that my bladder could have exploded. We’re all glad it didn’t I don’t know why it didn’t. Maybe he’s Iron Bladder. Bladder of Steel. Green Bladder. The Dark Bladder Rises.

I was admitted. A catheter was attached (further annoying Mr. Penis) and a bladder bag attached to it which I have taken to calling my Gucci Bag, or just “Gooch” for short. In addition to my fever, evidently I had sepsis and an acute urological infection.

Oh, and I also had had a mild heart attack. Don’t know when, never felt it, but the markers were all there.

My fever spiked to 103 degrees with some interesting side effects. I was watching my TV when one of my doctors dropped by. I just stared at him since I was convinced I was home watching TV and wondered what the doctor was doing in my living room. We rapidly established I was in the hospital and everything was cool.

Fevers can also give you interesting fever dreams. I had one where I knew I was about to be recruited both by ISIL and Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I was of the mind I needed to get out of there but in the morning I was still there so I’m assuming I didn’t escape.

I had a cardiac catheterization where a catheter is stuck into a vein in either your arm or your groin (anyone else see a meme here?) to go look into your heart. They splash around a dye and then take x-rays to see how the blood flows through my heart and check for damage after the heart attack.

The good news according to my cardiac doctor was that my heart was pretty healthy; he said if it was a six-cylinder engine it was running on seven cylinders. No, I don’t quite understand what that means either but I was assured it was a good thing.

The bad news was that I needed a triple coronary bypass. One of three veins going into the heart was 89% blocked and they couldn’t roto-rooter it out. That’s been scheduled for the end of October. Good news is that this sort of surgery has become much more common than it was at once time; the bad news is that it’s going to hurt. Better news is that, if I behave myself and do what I‘m supposed to and eat what I’m supposed to afterwards, I could be healthier than I’ve been in years. My Mary has already decided that I’m going to do all that.

The hospital cleared up the infections and sent me home to recoup a bit before the operation with strict orders that I am not to do anything.

“Gee, honey, I’d really like to help with the dishes but the doctors said. . .”

“You know I’d take out the garbage but doctors’ orders say. . .”

“I’d be happy to clean up the cats’ litter boxes but doctors said. . . “

And one small part of brain keeps whispering, “I wonder how long I can milk this.”

Actually, I really do wish I could do things around the house. My Mary has been so fantastic about taking it all on and watching over me that I wish I could pitch in so that it didn’t all fall on her shoulders but she won’t let me. Time enough afterwards, I guess, when I’m better.

One thing I’ve also been aware of – when in the hospital, express your appreciation to those who are taking care of you. Say “thank you” to the nurses and NAs and everyone. Yes, they’re just doing their jobs but gratitude is appropriate.

I’m also appreciative of all those who have expressed good wishes, kind thoughts, and have included me in their prayers or sent me energy. I can feel the good will and I don’t ever take such things for granted.

So – that’s what I’ve been doing on my autumn vacation. At some point, I’ll disappear again. Mary will keep Mike informed and Mike will pass it on. In the mean time, think good thoughts. I know I am.

NOTE FROM LB: We all love showbiz, I know. And many of us in the biz came to it as a way of escaping real life. But the hard truth is that reality is in fact inescapable. Here’s hoping that John’s reality has the best possible next step. Get well soon, John. I’ve been where you are – quintuple bypass – and I’m still standing. Looking forward to seeing you run rings around me soon.