Friday, April 04, 2008

Benadryl Adventures

A bit before noon today I found out that I was getting my 27th transfusion, this time of platelets. No surprise there, my platelet level has been hovering around the threshold for a transfusion for a few days now. However, the very first time I had a transfusion of platelets I broke out in hives, so now I get dosed with Benadryl through my IV before the platelet transfusion starts. The thing is, the Benadryl puts me to sleep pretty thoroughly, and I hadn't had lunch yet. And I was starved.

The platelets arrived pretty quickly, so I was started on the Benadryl not long after I was given the news—around 12:30, I'd guess. After about 15 minutes, I started to feel its effects, but lunch hadn't arrived. One of the housekeeping dudes showed up to empty the garbage cans and clean the room, and I started working on some variety sudoku to keep my brain going so I wouldn't just conk out. (I use puzzles like smokers use cigarettes—they can get me going or they can mellow me out, depending.) I had just solved the second puzzle when he finished mopping and put the wet-floor warning on the ground—and not two minutes later, my lunch arrives. Sharlene, who brings us our meals during the week, was rightly apprehensive about carrying the tray (it's not light) on a slippery floor, so she said she'd leave it on the reception desk just outside my room and bring it in in a few minutes. No problem, says I.

I'm just about finished another puzzle when I hear my name being spoken outside. I catch just a few bits:

"...Mr. Townsend's lunch."

"Is he not eating?"

I suddenly realize my lunch is in danger of being thrown out. I jumped out of bed, reached out for the IV pump, missed, realized that I was getting spacey and had to be careful, and got out there and asked the dietitian to bring my lunch tray in (she just happened to be the first person whose attention I could get). Phew! Lunch was saved.

I ate at a brisk but reasonable pace, did another puzzle to give the food a chance to settle a little bit, then curled up under the covers and fell asleep pretty much immediately. I then proceeded to have a really, really weird dream involving a shape-changing, dimension-hopping assassin who wanted me dead for some reason. Fortunately, I was also a dimension-hopping shape-changer, so I wasn't defenseless. The entire dream was epic, action-packed, at times psychedelic. It was also extremely vivid, and felt utterly real.

Suddenly I snapped awake. I shook my head at the strangeness of it all and went back to sleep—and wouldn't you know it, I have another bizarre dream, in which Steve Jobs has hired a goon to have me severely beaten because of something I've done. Turns out it's a case of mistaken identity, and his actual target is another Emru, a woman who is also a well-known but unstable amateur folk singer who has uncovered a government conspiracy involving bone marrow donor centres and is somehow, but for unrelated reasons, threatening Jobs. Like the first dream, it was very tangible.

I usually have pretty loopy dreams, but these two back to back were something of an experience. After I woke up, I had to spend a few minutes grounding myself in reality again.

I'm not sure if I'm looking forward to the next platelet transfusion or not.

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