Louis Fowler is Back from the Dead (Or How I Spent My Summer Vacation)

If I’m being honest with you—and I’m always honest with you—it’s been my secret fantasy to shower with two hot nurses, a-scrubbin’ and a-bubblin’ my body and its assorted ephemera until the sun comes up in the break-a break-a day.

Sadly, that fantasy came true in the most horrifically embarrassing way possible as I sat in a handicapped shower chair with two fully-uniformed nurses watching me (one was an actual nurse, the other a trainee from Oklahoma Christian) just in case I pass out and drown in my own tracheotomy tube, helpfully handing me soap and towels and the like. It was a new key low-point in my life and obviously God’s way of telling me to clean up my hedonistic fantasies, quite literally.

Looking back, I can quite honestly say I’ve have had a Hell of a few months there, cumulating in my Grandmother dying, my dog Hoogie dying and getting gentrified out of my beloved house, all in the same week. As I was packing, getting ready for the big move, all of a sudden I couldn’t talk, walk or even reach that bag of tacos I had bought earlier that day—my whole right-side had become paralyzed. Thinking I could sleep it off—I mean, I had before, kinda—I woke up a month or so later at OU Medicine.

You see, in the simplest terms, I had a hemorrhagic stroke. Well, it started out as a hemorrhagic stroke and then ballooned into my lungs deflating (for some reason) and my kidneys failing (for some reason) and other assorted bodily traumas, forcing the esteemed Doctors to place me in an ethereal realm between medicated sleep and forced coma as I made a permanent home in the Intensive Care Unit. Don’t ask me about that month or so, though, because I have absolutely no memory of that period of knock, knock, knocking on Heaven’s door.

And good riddance to bad memories, I say. Family and friends tell me I was a bit of a lovable nightmare, sleepily pulling tubes out of my throat and arms, flashing my lower nethers to whomever would look and screaming nonsense about the might of the Disney Channel, forcing the nurses in the ICU to tie me down and inject me with mind-altering opioids.

At least that is what I’ve been told.

(Wait a second…I take that back. I kind of do remember one thing: eating ice cream in a wood-paneled room out in a backwoods country hospital while watching something about Choctaw Indians on the television. Everyone says I was dreaming, but that had to have happened…right?)

Regardless, when I finally fully woke up, mostly cognizant of my surroundings, I was in the non-ICU part of OU Medicine, my hands tied down, a catheter on my penis and a hole it my throat. I couldn’t speak, scribbling illegibly like Helen Keller on a dry-erase bard and, even worse, for a time I was experiencing deep Cotard Delusion, where I believed I was dead and in some type of spiritual holding pattern, studying everyone and not trusting everything as I plotted my escape.

While now I can describe that as a coping mechanism, I do know I really did die inside a little as two beautiful nurses watched me bathe while I was at Valir Rehabilitation, the otherwise excellent rehab center I went to for a couple weeks after getting out of OU Medicine.

But, for real, I am far luckier than others: they said I was so close to death that I would have brain damage and, at the very least, live the rest of my life somewhat paralyzed. But, utilizing my sheer Mexican/Native American power of mind and body I’m so well-known for, I got out of this whole mess with a little bit of paralysis on my right hip and a (hopefully) temporary tracheotomy.

I’ve also got a handicap parking tag—line starts to your left, ladies.

To answer everybody’s question, yes, I’m doing better. I can walk (mostly), I can talk (regrettably) and I’ve lost about a hundred pounds (only a hundred more to go!). Still, I get tired very easily and finding size 6 Shiley disposable trach tubes in this city has been an absolute nightmare, but I’d rather be doing that than the opposite of what was expected of me, which, of course, was rotting in a casket.

So, in the end, I have learned and grown as a person from all this, but if this stroke junk ever happens again, I’ve decided that next time I’m going to the Philippines for some of that famed  psychic surgery. Chicken innards or not, I’ll be damned if I ever see the inside of a hospital again.

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Special Thanks

Thanks to everyone, from the writers to the readers to the outright dangerous sycophants from the Lost Ogle family that donated to the GoFundMe that Patrick thankfully set up. Each dollar donated has helped me pay off not only my massive bills from the past couple of months, but also helped to get me things I need like trach tubes and so on. Thank you all for the caring and compassion. And, in particular, I’d really like to thank Patrick for being there for me from day one, doing everything to make sure I’d be financially okay when I got back on these mean streets of OKC again.