It’s Carnival Time In The ER

August 1, 2013

Felt like I was drowning, so I asked my brother-in-law, Sal to take me to emergency at Mount Sinai. Unfortunately it was bad timing. Early evening isn’t ideal. Usually means a long wait.

There were 2 paramedics and four cops for one patient. Not sure what he did but the nurse told me not to sit near him. Then there was a young pregnant mother yelling at everyone. First she accused them of hiding her son in the back. Later she screamed she had to pick up her son at 5:15. The paramedics told her that her neighbour has her kid. Sal chucked and said that’s going to be rather hard since it was 7:48. Her mother and grandmother arrived a bit later and the daughter said why won’t they let me leave? They checked her anal cavity and everything else. Her relatives told her maybe if she behaved herself, they would let her live.
There was one guy who looked like he had flesh eating disease on his toe and another guy who looked like his appendix was in trouble. I felt sorry for him cause that looked painful.

Eventually I had my blood tested and a chest scan which revealed that my lungs were full of fluid, particularly the right side (which was partially collapsed due to an earlier radiation treatment). They told me I had lung mets. Because I was already on oxygen to breathe, they had to put me in one of their glass rooms where I spent the night. Otherwise I would have been in the hallway because they had no beds available in the hospital. They had to keep me until the next day to drain my lung.

It was in my glass compartment that I saw Jessie James across from me. His name? was tattooed on his arm amongst a variety of other tattoos. When Sal was in the hallway he asked him to come in and count his money. Sal thought he was blind because Jessie James was wearing big, black sunglasses on his face. So he started counted the money for him and one of the bills fell on the floor. Jessie told him he dropped one. Sal was speechless. Why was he counting the money for him if he wasn’t blind? So Sal returned his money and told him he had $230. Then he came to my room and told us what happened. My sister Angie arrived by then and we laughed.

Then another patient with an accent arrived next door screaming that Via Rail poisoned him. He put up quite an alarming fuss until a nurse came in and told him to stop being so loud. He protested and kept yelling. Jessie James overheard the conversation and ran out of his room and in a very big voice yelled, “SHUT UP!”  The poor nurse then told Jessie to go back to his room and that he is NOT ALLOWED to YELL at patients. He said he was only trying to help. She ushered him back to his room.

Shortly thereafter the guy next door started puking his head off. It wasn’t ordinary puke either. It was seven unbelievably loud waterfalls. It sounded like his vomit was exploding all over the room. Thank heavens I couldn’t smell it or I would have died. Just hearing him barf was enough. That poor nurse had to change twice because of that patient. I seriously don’t know how the cleaners in the hospital and nurses do their jobs. I could never do it. Never, ever.

Bobo then came to visit with Frick and Frack. We told them about Jessie James and Bobo walked out over to his room, sat down and started talking to him. Figures. Frack kept peering through the curtains to see what was going on outside. Bobo went to buy Jessie James a hot chocolate (amongst other things) and quickly became Jessie James best friend. And you how I know that? Because Jessie came to my cubicle in the middle of the night and told me that Bobo was his best friend. That’s why.

Jessie also disappeared for some time and came back with about 10 packages of candies (like Jube Jubes) and hospital security staff on his tail. Earlier, Jessie could be seen walking the halls in nothing but a diaper….until the nurse caught him and told him he needed to put some clothes on. I didn’t see the diaper when I looked out the glass door because of a partition. I thought he was stark naked as he looked at me through the door.

At 2:00 in the morning, just as I finally started falling asleep, Jessie came to knock on my door and say, “God Bless”. Bobo told me he was Christian and had some sort of terminal liver disease.

During the early morning, I looked outside to see Jessie carrying two “Its a Boy” and “It’s a girl” balloon bouquet entering his room. “He must be a kleptomaniac,” I thought. No wonder he had three pairs of sunglasses in his room. Five minutes later, an angry woman ran into his room, grabbed the pink bouquet and said, “This one IS MINE”. I wonder if Jessie made it all the way to maternity to get those.

Eventually, I was sent to have my lung drained. They froze my back and put a needle near my shoulder and drained 1.26 litres of honey coloured fluid. Luckily I had my oxycocet pills on me because I didn’t want to feel the pain. I coughed a lot after the procedure trying to expand my lungs. Best case scenario was that the remaining fluid would dry up and I’d be okay. (But that’s not what happened).

Went back to the ER and waited until they had a room available. Both Jessie and I got a room at pretty much the same time. Jessie told me to tell Bobo to come visit him in Room 312 so they could play chess.


The decision to leave the hospital was an easy one. The old lady next to me in the semi-private room had a commode next to her because she could get to the bathroom. I think she broke her hip, but truthfully, she could get around much better than me. So when she had a dump, it was so intoxicating I would start to heave. I would jump out of my bed and try to run out the door. That’s kind of hard to do when you are attached to a bedside oxygen hose that was too short for my quick getaway. The only way out was with my portable oxygen tank which took some time to set up. I would look at my older sister with tears of in my eyes, pleading her to “Get me Outta Here”. She warned me once that something was happening but I didn’t get what she was getting at. But I did after that.

We couldn’t return to my room for hours because of the smell. It was that bad. Then I just wanted to leave.


Returned to the ER the following Thursday at 6:00 in the morning at the urging of who Bobo calls Dr Kavorkian, my palliative care dr in Vaughan. He gave me an expiry date. October 8 on the bell curve.

It was very quiet in the ER with only one other patient. I finally discovered what it would take for the ER department to move super fast like on TV. I sipped some water which went down the wrong way. I started coughing like crazy. Couldn’t catch my breathe. Security ran to the back and alerted everyone and suddenly I had an entourage of nurses and doctors around me. “What’s wrong?”, Someone asked me. “Can’t breathe” and all of the sudden I was whisked into a back glass room. “Cool” I thought, now this is fast service. Then the next thing I knew a crazy dr started digging into my arm with a needle to find a vein. She didn’t get it right away so she started moving it sideways, back and forth, back and forth as I’m screaming my head off.

She asked me why I was there. I told her my palliative Dr saw me last evening and I needed a permanent drain for my right lung because it was full of fluid. “Why didn’t you come last night?” she questioned. “What is your Drs name?” I didn’t want to get him in trouble so I told her I didn’t know, it was the first time I met him. She was mad.

Wasn’t looking to promising to get the procedure done, but they did manage to squeeze me in between two patients at 2:30. Drained 900 ml of more fluid. I now have a tube in my side between two ribs. I won’t be able to take baths anymore and if I get an infection I’m as good as dead, I think.

They discharged me quickly and told me to get out of the hospital. Germs.


Things are not looking so great. I’ve had a lot of fluid drained from my lung everyday by a home nurse. If it was only 300 ml, the nurse would only have to come every other day. But I’ve had 600, 700 and 500ml over the last few days. And to make things worse, when I drink water, it sometimes goes the wrong way. The nurse said my muscles in my esophagus aren’t working and neither are the muscles in my chest to breathe. So I would have to buy a thickener to put in my liquids by Nestle. My sister bought it. You know what’s in it? Corn starch and sugar. GMOs and sugar to feed my cancer. Lovely.

By the way, I had a CT Scan. I have a fractured pelvis and something is going on with my tailbone. It hurts. My ilium bone (left hip) is gone and is being taken over by soft tissue. Osteoporosis and cancer. My liver is still clean. I attribute that to the artesunate therapy I get from Germany. Really wish my lung was okay but it’s not. Time to face reality. I gave it a good run, but am suffering from battle fatigue. Eight years is a long time for a person in my condition. I know I would have been dead a lot sooner if I did conventional treatment. I just think my amalgam toxicity, mould exposure and Lyme disease didn’t help my immune system keep the cancer away. And stress didn’t help either.

I just worry about my kids and not being there to help them through the good times and bad. Too soon to lose their mother at their ages. It’s never a good time, really. Frack cried and said I wouldn’t be at his graduation and I wouldn’t be a grandmother and it wasn’t fair. Why couldn’t it have been somebody else? I told him his wife would probably still have a mother and she would be his children’s grandmother. I worry about him. He has trouble expressing himself verbally. I think Frick will be okay. She is so mature for her age and I know she will take care of Frack. It hurts me that I want to be there for them and I can’t. It really isn’t fair. My heart is broken.








6 thoughts on “It’s Carnival Time In The ER

  1. Oh Mary, I can’t even imagine the pain you have to deal with on a daily basis (you are a strong women and your kids get to see that). You are absolutely right your kids shouldn’t lose their mother at their ages, we will pray that they won’t, God Bless, and may you find the strength you need everyday to stay strong!!

  2. Mar…My heart is breaking reading this blog – don’t give up you are a fighter – you are a very strong woman and we all know that…you have a very strong support system for you and your family – know that we are ALL here for you and your family…don’t be afraid to ask for help…a shoulder, an ear to listen…or a hug…we are praying for you – LOVE YOU!!!

  3. Maria, our friend and co- TLC member. You are loved by the God of the universe. Trust in Him and He will watch over you and your children, providing , strengthening, and protecting all through the days and years ahead.
    You are a beautiful and wise Mother and you have taught your children many important things that they will carry through their lives to build a foundation of strength and productiveness. They will be a portion of you and you will live through them.
    The best book for them that I would recommend and that will build on that foundation of wisdom that you have begun in them would be the book of Proverbs.
    Loving you as always
    Doug and Grace

  4. Dear Maria,
    Please do not worry about your children (I know this is easy to say, difficult to do). All their lives, you have given them everything you possibly can: your love, your support, your caring. You will always be an amazing role model to them. Your determination, creativity, love of life, and gusto will live with them forever.
    I am with you.
    Your Art for Cancer friend.

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