by | Chapter 1

A week went by, time to remove the stitches from my belly. I was very happy, actually, I was beginning to eat and swallow, not too much and hard food, either. For instance, any meats, beans, or tortillas, which were one of my favorite things to eat, were a big “NONO”, my stomach wasn’t strong enough to handle it yet, I was improving and that was what mattered. In those days, I was starting to get off the bed and walked a little bit, I was hoping to heal soon and get out of the hospital. It was Thursday, July third, a day before Independence Day, a doctor came to me to do his regular check-ups. He said, young man, because you’re doing so good, there’s no reason to keep you here any longer, you’re going home Monday, July seventh. I was immensely happy to hear that, I couldn’t believe it. I have to do a check-up on you, the doctor added. He checked my heart rate, my breathing, my whole body. Suddenly, he spotted a big bruised formed in my right side above my hip; it was huge, and every time he squeezed it, oh-gee!! it hurt. It was an infection, he explained, we need to applied surgery to extract all the bad liquid that is inside causing problems. Now, don’t be alarmed, it will be a very small operation, just to insert a little plastic tube to absorb the juice, and we will be done. It doesn’t change anything, you still can leave on Monday, “feeew! “ I sweated cold water. 

Around 5:00 in the afternoon, some medical staff came for me to take me to the surgery room. My brother-in-law stepped in the room and found me in the stretcher bed. Where are you going, Cuñado? He asked, the doctor found an infection in my right side, but it’s nothing too preoccupied, they just have to insert a little tube to absorb the bad blood inside, and that’s it. So,I didn’t think it was necessary to alert anyone and make you all worry about it, for no reason. Oh, ok!  They took me to the surgery room and promptly put me under anesthesia, I fell asleep, and they proceeded with their thing. I don’t know how long it took, when I woke up, I was already back in my room with a drainage thing hanging on my right side. It was already nighttime, and my brother-in-law was already gone. I was still drowsy from the anesthesia, so I just closed my eyes and go back to sleep.

The following morning, a nurse’s assistant interrupted my beauty sleep to take my vital signs, lame! I was sleeping so well. 😂  Then I had small breakfast pancakes with syrup, and got off the bed to go for a walk. It was Friday, the fourth of July, I spent it wandering around the hallways. At 9 pm, I went to the window to watch the fireworks from the hospital, many patients, and their families began to gather, as well to see the lights displayed. Boom, boom! The fireworks started to fill out the sky with brightness, amazing colors, and shapes. I was having fun enjoying watching the show and the people, with my IV pool aside like a weapon! The artificial lights kept going for about 15 to 20 minutes more. After the show finished, everyone returned to their rooms, and their relatives went home. I went to bed and tried to sleep too, but I couldn’t, my mind was so restless, all I thought was about Monday, my big day!. I used to say to myself, when I get out of here, I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that, be over here and over there, and why not, tried to be a better human being this time.

Monday arrived, finally! after a long weekend waiting for it. I got off bed bright and early, hoping to go home quickly. However, the nurses told me I wouldn’t be discharged until the afternoon. Oh, no! why not now? I asked, the person who is supposed to pick you up is not able to come in and get you at this time, oh well, better late than never, I replied. I walked down the hallway and back to the room, and took a glance at the clock hanging on the wall, hoping to see the handles advance quickly, but they seemed to run backwards instead. I was just anxious to get out of there, I guess, and because of that, a few more hours felt like an eternity. I laid down and got up, laid down and got up, and so on, until the time to leave the hospital finally hit the spot.

Around four o’clock, my brother-in-law arrived for me. We signed a bunch of papers, then the medical staff took me out in a wheelchair to the vehicle, we climbed into the car and headed to Sonoma! When we arrived home, my sister was working, luckily I have a wonderful sister; she requested to get off a little earlier. She got home a couple of hours after our arrival and made dinner for her family and me. She had a difficult decision to make regarding the food, because she did not know what to cook for me, as I was just released from the hospital. I wasn’t hungry anyway, I explained to her. She said in an upsetting voice, are you saying to leave you without dinner until tomorrow morning, are you crazy!? You know, I won’t do that, okay sister do whatever you think is good, and I’ll eat it. She cooked something very simple—simple but delicious—chicken noodle soup. Everyone sat down at the table and ate: my sister, her husband, my two nephews, and one niece. I glanced once in a while at their plates, because they had something different from mine. I thought, even though mine was okay, theirs looked pretty darn good! 

We finished dining and went to take a seat on the couch for a little while to digest the food. We were chatting and watched TV, and after about 30 minutes, I decided to go to bed. My nephew allowed me his bedroom that night because it was right next door to my sister’s one, so she could keep an eye on me.

I was sleeping and around midnight a sudden pain in the head woke me up. It was very severe. I started feeling very dizzy and without strength. I tried to get out of bed and sit down on the edge, but I couldn’t do that. The pain in my head was extremely high and merciless. I felt miserable. Everything was spinning around, and every time I made the effort to get up, my whole body felt weaker. 

Finally, after several tries, I managed to do it. However, I had to reach out and hold myself with a curtain that was over the closet by the bed because, if I didn’t do that, I would’ve fallen backwards again. My sister heard me struggle and shouted, “Pancho, are you ok?” I didn’t have almost any strength left to answer back, but I didn’t want her to worry about it; so I made the effort to reply and said, yes, I’m fine sister, even though I wasn’t. I reached out for a pair of pills that the hospital prescribed for me, I drank two and laid back down. After a while, I slept. 

Another terrible headache woke me up. It was stronger this time. I tried to get out of bed, but that time was way too powerful. It made me break down. My sister heard me moaning terribly and immediately ran toward me. She found me struggling in the bed, rolling and tossing and trying to get up unsuccessfully. She was so scared and freaked out. She asked me, “Brother, what happened? How do you feel? Tell me, what’s the matter with you?” I could hardly answer her. My voice was fading away. My sight was blurry. I felt like the room, the bed, and everything around me were spinning very fast. “I don’t know. I can’t get up, and my whole body is getting stiff.” 

Suddenly, I started throwing up weird green stuff and began shivering as well. My sister shouted at my niece to dial 911. She called for an ambulance and told them to come quickly. About 5 minutes after my niece called, the paramedics were knocking at the door. They questioned my sister about what happened, but she didn’t speak English, so my niece told them. 

Then, they asked me, “How do you feel? Can you get up and help us to get you into the ambulance?” My niece replied, “No, he won’t be able to do that.” Then they put me on a thick blanket, grabbed it from the corners, and lifted me up to bring me out of the bedroom and put me into the ambulance. I remembered them asking me questions like, “What’s your name? What’s your day of birth? What day is today?” All the basic stuff. But most of them I couldn’t answer. 

When we got to the hospital (a different hospital), everything was confusing. The medical staff thought I was high on drugs or intoxicated because I was still having convulsions and trying to vomit. Thus, they proceeded to make a lot of blood tests on me. My sister was very desperate to watch me (basically dying), but she did not know what to do. Because of her lack of English, and not being able to communicate with the doctors who were treating me, things were even worse for her. 

My sister’s daughter had to go to school, and her husband was on a job, so she was alone in these agonizing moments. She called her husband and asked him to come in quickly to the hospital because I had a terrible relapse. The last thing I remembered was watching my sister and her husband hugging each other, and crying bitterly, like there was no hope left, and they were expecting the worst. Suddenly, everything went dark on me. I lost consciousness and entered in coma stage, I was told.


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