What is it With Me, Holidays, and Hospitals?!

My friends and long-time readers probably recall how I ended up in the hospital the day after Thanksgiving, 2011. Tara was visiting from Nevada, so it put a damper on her trip…but also brought us closer together. The gall bladder surgery and six-night stay were hell, but our relationship blossomed.

Guess where I’m writing from, folks?!

That’s right. I’m in that very same hospital, and will be for a few more days. Happy New Year, huh? I have been poked and prodded all night long, every hour on the hour, which of course translates to no sleep. But because I am the type who always looks for the silver lining, I am enjoying this view as I write.

Hospital Sunrise

Hey, if you’ve gotta stay in a hospital, you might as well enjoy a room with a view.

Unfortunately, breakfast came next. This is what I got:

Hospital Menu

To add insult to injury, instead of salt – which might have given the broth a little bit of flavor – they left me with a tiny package of pepper instead. WTF?! Don’t get me wrong; I love pepper, but that broth needed a little sodium in the worst way.

And if you think I’ll be able to pop open a bottle of champagne and watch the ball drop tonight….ha. Fat chance. I’ll be slurping down clear liquids and, with a little bit of luck, Jello while having blood drawn every stinkin’ hour or two. But I am trying to remind myself there are people going through much worse things than this. I follow a couple of bloggers who are dealing with cancer, and I have it so much better than them. So I am thankful for that. Perspective, yo.

You’re probably wanting me to cut to the chase. Before I announced what I was dealing with on Facebook, my extremely witty friends were guessing the diagnosis. Their answers included:

  • Bunions, extreme flatulance, prolapsed colon?
  • Species reassignment surgery? Chronic explosive diarrhea? A boil on your butt?
  • Ruptured family jewel
  • Splinter
  • Human werewolf syndrome
  • Foreign accent syndrome
  • Ken Doll facial reconstruction
  • Extreme case of jock itch
  • An erection that lasted longer than four hours

Nope, none of those things, my friends – though I am impressed with your creativity. Here’s the real scoop…

About two weeks ago I suddenly became extremely thirsty. I started downing liquids all day long, anything I could get my hands on – water, iced tea, orange juice, Gatorade, milk, etc. Try as I might, I could not slake or quench my thirst. Tara and I were lying in bed one night and I told her I was fantasizing about a lovely, tall glass of orange juice. That’s when I knew something was wrong. My fantasies very rarely involve fruit!

And then, my vision started to suffer. I’ve always had good eyesight, but suddenly – in a matter of days – I couldn’t see worth shit. That’s pretty frightening! And then I stepped on the scale and discovered I was losing several pounds every day. Plus, I was extremely weak and had zero energy. Because I write about medical conditions, I had a few ideas about what might be going on. I went to the doctor, she told me to quit self-diagnosing and ordered a bunch of lab tests. Stupid me waited five days to get them done because I wanted to enjoy the Christmas holidays. Ha! They weren’t exactly enjoyable since I felt like a blind, thirsty slug. Late Monday night, another doctor called and told me I was diabetic. Not just diabetic: insanely diabetic. My blood sugar level was 635; normal is around 100. This just perfectly sums up my attitude: go big or go home.. He told me to call my doctor first thing in the morning and get an appointment. When I called her, she pulled up my lab results and sent me into an absolute panic. “You’re extremely diabetic, your cholesterol is sky high, and your kidneys are operating at 40%. You need to drop everything and go to the ER right away! You could lose your kidneys!!”

I literally said “Oh, shit!” and practically dropped the phone. I called Tara at work and told her she needed to take me to the emergency room immediately because, guess what, I might be dying!

Nobody can ever accuse me of downplaying things.

So we sped to the ER, and when they admitted me my blood sugars had risen to 782. There I go, overachieving again. I was put on an insulin drip and here I am, 24 hours later, my blood sugars much lower but it’s a gradual process to drop them; too fast is a bad thing. Fortunately, my kidneys look fine.

But I’m stuck in the hospital for 3-4 nights. And facing a dramatic lifestyle change. Talk about deja vu. Like last time, Tara has been my rock, helping me through this difficult period. I don’t know what I’d do without her.

I’ll post updates as I receive them. I might even try to convince Tara to join in on the conversation, much as she three years ago.

In the meantime…happy new year!


29 thoughts on “What is it With Me, Holidays, and Hospitals?!

  1. I just came off the soft diet myself after having surgery the week before Christmas. So, I feel your pain, truly. Glad to see you have a room with a view. Happy New Year, Mr. Petruska. Feel better soon, you gotta shop for that Mini Cooper! 😃


  2. Mark, I laughed my ass off at the list of guesses your friends shared on Facebook. OMG…how funny!

    Even though you’re in the hospital, I am so glad to hear that they figured our what was going on and that your kidney’s are fine. And I love that you still have your sense of humor.

    You take care, buddy, you hear? And know that you are in my thoughts; sending you healing vibes!

    Happy New Year to both you and Tara!



  3. OMG, Mark! I’m so glad you went to the ER and didn’t fool around any longer! I had no idea that one of the signs is rapid weight loss! Good to know!

    Wishing you better health in 2015. XO and take care, my friend.


    1. Trust me, I am not one to go to the doctor very often. But when somebody is telling you your vital organs might SHUT DOWN, it’s time for action!

      Happy new year to you and your family.


  4. So sorry to hear you are back in the hospital. By the way, is that the hospital way up on the hill? Our cousins took us up the gondola last time we visited Portland. Anyhow, I was afraid you were going to say diabetes. Glad it was caught in time and your numbers are going down. This will be a real challenge to a foodie like you. Hang in there. Good thoughts and prayers for you. SoCalGal


    1. SoCalGal!! Long time no see. Or read, lol. You are thinking of OHSU in Portland – the hospital on the hill. I actually AM in a hospital on a hill – but it’s a different hospital and different hill. Thanks for the well wishes. It will be a challenge, but if anybody can make it work, I can. Hope you and your family have a happy new year! BTW…message me sometime. I have news for you that you may not be aware of.


  5. Thinking of and praying for you and Tara… see if you can’t break this holiday-hospital trend, hmm? It makes for a nicer Valentine’s Day if you aren’t sleeping in a hospital bed. (Unless that’s your thing, I guess; who am I to judge? Just be healthy enough to enjoy it…)

    Anyway I hope 2015 is only up from here — get, be, and stay well, my friend!


    1. Well…we did curl up in the same hospital bed last night….but that’s another story. I will certainly do everything in my power to make sure we aren’t exchanging chocolates in the warm glow of a heart monitor.

      Wait a minute…I’m diabetic. No chocolates for me!


  6. My friend,
    I am just catching up on my reading – and I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been going through this! Keep looking for those silver linings, because they are there and they are real – and keep that sense of humor. Wishing you and Tara a much better year than the beginning of it has been.


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