Every year for the past eleven years, I’ve played Santa. You’d think sitting on your keister in an over-stuffed chair for a fer hours a day would be a walk-in-the-park. Not necessarily so. Many ills may attend.
In the typical year, all goes well for Santa until the first snotter sits in your lap. Red, watery eyes and green mucus running from his nostrils, the little mutt sneezes right in your face, spraying you with disease. Or, sure, you got your flu shot, but this kid simply has the common cold — which will plug up your ears and sinus, making you a mouth-breather for the duration. You hit the sack the moment you get home. A low fever too. Sometimes you get a chain colds, one right after the other until the season ends.
But for me, last year was different.
Last Christmas Season, while playing Santa, I got way, way dehydrated then contracted gastroenteritis thanks to norovirus donated by a pukey toddler (or was it the teenager who smelled vaguely like vomit?) Sick as a dog, I’d spent the Thursday before Christmas shitting and spewing and really out of it. That night, when Jo got home, she found me laying unconscious on the floor. I could barely move and was unconscious most of the time. Jo called 9-1-1. As the medics were ministering to me, Jo overheard one of them say my blood pressure was seventy-three over zero. Not good.
I was whisked off to the hospital (via ambulance) where I was put in a nice warm bed. As they were loading me into the bed, I caught sight of my legs; they were mottled with purple and pink splotches and looked like the skin on a three-day old corpse. When this grim-looking RN told me I was a very sick man and probably didn’t know just how sick i was, I took her at her word.
The 9-1-1 medics had started IVs in both arms to get some water back in me so, rehydrated, I needed to take another loose and massive dump; I told the nurse I needed a bed pan. The nurse told me I was in a hospital and was therefore free to let it go right there in the bed. Which I gladly did. Later, I also saw a nurse with a very large shot needle empty its contents into one of the IV bags, “Antibiotics”, she said.
Long story short, a couple of days or so later, I began to come around and found I was in isolation in the cardiac ICU. That was because of the heart attack I had. Why did I have a heart attack? Because of the sepsis that damned near killed me. So, then, dehydration, norovirus, sepsis and a heart attack. That covered all the bases.
On Christmas day, I was discharged. It took all of the following week to recuperate.
They tell me it was a near thing. If Jo hadn’t checked on me when she did, I’d be taking the dirt nap.
Today? All is well. For now.
Ho, Ho, Ho.