Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Vital Signs

"We are here to take you pulse Miss Helton" the nurse told me.
"Do they ever let you sleep in this fucking hospital?" I asked as I put out my arm.
 "Can you provide me with your date of birth?'
I pointed to my wrist "It is right on my wristband 5/29/1970."
The nurse smiled at me with her best fake smile as she tried to take my blood pressure.
"When will I get some more morphine?" I asked.
"I am not sure," she told me "Are you in pain?'

Yes. Yes. Yes. I am in fucking pain. I want to get the fuck out of here. There is one small problem- I am hooked up to all these tubes. I have a tube letting fluids in and a tube letting fluids out. I don't remember exactly what caused the abscess. I sort of remember jamming a syringe into my arm of unfiltered tar heroin few times when I was sick. I developed two infections close together to the point the doctors felt it was necessary to slice me open five inches long.

Yesterday, when they pulled off the bandage to change the dressing, I started to cry. I really did. I felt this unfamiliar feeling. There was this hot wetness streaming down my face. I remember taking the air and setting it out the window of the passenger side of my friends' car. I loved the way the wind felt against it as we drove around. She had no air conditioning in there. I liked to think my hair looked better blowing in the breeze as I imagined myself escaping Ohio for somewhere else. Now, my arm was sliced open. The red, raw scar looked like a massive cavern of puss and hamburger. My tattoo was sliced down the middle. I felt myself crying. I almost lost my arm but I am crying over my god damned tattoo. These fucking medical residents here could have done better, I tell myself as I sink into my bed.

At least, I won't be kicking this time. I am not just in any hospital. I am in jail. When they arrested me, I didn't even make it through medical triage. I have four abscesses. One in my thigh. I left the bandage on for a month. It stank so bad, the police argued about letting me go. Neither one of them wanted to take me to the hospital. I had one in my wrist. That one was the size of a golf ball. I guess I didn't notice. Then I had tthe twin towers in my upper arm.

My mother said that jail saved me this time. Maybe it did. When you don't care about your life, it becomes hard to fear death. All I care about is my next dose of morphine and getting out of here.

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