Friday, October 29, 2021

The Horrible Thing On The Seventh Floor

stilton’s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n’ change, Kathy, leukemia, Halloween, cancer

Halloween is just around the corner, and it seems the perfect time to share a spooky story that I've only hinted about in the past several weeks of hospital tales: The Horrible Thing I Saw On The Seventh Floor.

When Kathy first entered the hospital with a terrifying diagnosis, I was in a constant state of panic. Every day felt quite literally like a matter of life and death. And I displayed pretty much every symptom of stress that bodies are capable of: shortness of breath, speeding heartbeat, chest pain and...and...the screaming trots.

I'm not talking regular diarrhea here, friends. No, this was noxious, still-bubbling green stomach acid which burned like a blow torch. And when it was time to go to the bathroom, every second counted.

Mind you, I couldn't use the bathroom in Kathy's room because everything that came out of her was being weighed, measured, and analyzed. So I'd have to hotfoot it to the only public bathroom on the 8th floor - a single-seater unisex bathroom which was first come, first served.

On Wednesday, September 29th, I felt the stirrings of blazing doom rumbling in my bowels and left Kathy's side to hit the bathroom. But the bathroom door was locked from the inside. I could hear someone else in there, shuffling around. So I waited. And waited. And waited.

Beads of sweat appeared on my brow. I was getting stomach cramps. The urgency got worse and worse. And then...there was a flush from behind the door!

I waited...and waited...and no one emerged. I heard more stirring from the bathroom and realized that someone was camped out for the duration, perhaps giving birth, having a heart attack, or enjoying a picnic lunch on the cool tile floor.

In desperation, I decided to make a run for the elevators so I could go to the 7th floor, hoping that the layout would be the same as the 8th. The elevator came, the door opened on the 7th floor (which was the same as the 8th except for dimmer lighting, fewer people, and everyone wearing gowns, masks, and hair coverings), and I bolted for the bathroom. It was open! Oh, sweet joy of joys! Blessed, scalding relief!

My business finished, I washed up and headed back through the dim hallway towards the elevators. And then I saw The Horrible Thing On The Seventh Floor.

It was a sign. A sign tilted in such a way that you couldn't read it when coming from the elevator, but was perfectly legible when going the other way. A sign that said: "COVID-19 Floor. Do Not Enter Without Authorization."

The bowels which had so recently held a reservoir of lava were suddenly packed with ice. 

In a daze, I returned to the 8th floor and went to Kathy's room. I told her that I might have been exposed and so had to leave immediately because of her weakened immune system. But she wouldn't hear of it and wanted me to stay with her in that frightening environment. And so I did, for two more hours.

It was on my way home that the full horror of what I'd done hit me: if Kathy died of COVID-19, it would be because I'd been too tired and confused to do the only logical thing and leave immediately. Instead, I'd taken leave of my senses and suddenly turned into Typhoid Mary.

I thought I had killed my wife. It felt like one of those awful nightmares in which you do something horrible and completely out of character, making you grateful to wake up to the realization that it didn't happen. Only it did happen and there was no waking up from it. I didn't know that I could feel even worse than I'd been feeling before, but I could and did.

A subsequent COVID test showed I didn't have the virus. And the month that has passed since that awful day showed that Kathy didn't have it, either - no thanks to me.

So you can have your Halloween ghosts, ghouls and things that go bump in the night. But none of them can ever be even vaguely as scary as The Horrible Thing On The Seventh Floor.


Need a little last-minute decorating for a Halloween party or a really uncomfortable Thanksgiving? Then print out this painting by my Dad to hang on your wall! (Click this link to download a 20MB printable version)

stilton’s place, stilton, political, humor, conservative, cartoons, jokes, hope n’ change, pa, man eats head, halloween, painting


Jim Lane said...

Glad you dodged the Gorp, Stilt---and thanks, but I'll take a pass on the painting. Just... HELL no!

Mike said...

Hey Stilt,

Hell will at least need to double in size to accommodate the number of covid-flogging power-mongering things that have enslaved portions of our nation over the last several months!

You never endangered your wife. Your presence kept her alive! I've been there.

Many prayers for you both,


G Cooper said...

Glad you still have your sense of humor during your difficult times. Our prayers continue for you and your family.

Thanks for the positive things you bring to your readers.

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

And here I was thinking it was Tickles the Clown...

Hang in there, Stilton, and remember that NO germ can withstand the power of CLAN MACGREGOR! ;D

Hammer said...

Phewy, talk about pins and needles, Holy Moses. Keep your dauber up!

Mike aka Proof said...

As we get older, the things that scare us most don’t live under the bed! Glad the story had a happy ending!

She’s A Beauty said...

That thing in the distressed “photograph” is pure nightmare fuel. Thanks for that. Continued straight & narrow on the road to recovery.

Fish Out of Water said...

Quite the story.

As to the decoration, I was thinking along the lines of the Village Idiot president sniffing Terry McAwful while Lefty Lucy, in the background was waving pom poms.

McChuck said...

You were never in any danger of killing your wife. Do you think that the hospitals really scrub the air in the circulation system? Do you think that every single doctor and nurse in the building hasn't been exposed? And, at this point, 80% or more of the population has already been exposed.

Besides - there are much, much worse bugs floating around the average hospital than Covid. Happy Halloween!

Bobo the Hobo said...

Glad you did not turn Mrs J into the Cootie Queen.

And thank you for your generous offer of that download but we already have a picture of Nancy Pelosi to scare the l’il buggers.

Jess said...

It takes some careful maneuvering to remove the catch tray, set it on the floor, and then take care of business in the closest toilet.

Whoever invented the phrase "Necessity is the mother of invention" probably had the same experience, and there's a patent for toilet device very similar to the mechanism of revolver.

Nancy Dickerson said...

Wow! Your dad's painting is scary! But the hot trots story is horrifying! And then realizing that you might have exposed Kathy--that was just too much! May you and Kathy both be blessed with calm and peace. Healing needs to come to both of you. This has been traumatic, to say the least. Blessings. May God touch you both with His comfort.

Igor the Obscure said...

May God grant you peace as you and your wife journey through her illness. We pray regularly for you and your wife.

One of the multitude of sins that the medical commissars and media axis have inflicted on the suffering world during this scamdemic is the nigh-hysterical panic that gripped you when you were confronted with the possibility that you might have infected your wife.

As other have noted, it was highly unlikely that it would happen, especially since I'm sure you are bathing in clan MacGregor (externally and internally) on a regular basis.

TrickyRicky said...

Quite the hospital story. Glad everything came out OK.....

Cheers for continuing good news in Kathy's long and trying journey back from the brink.

Love the illustration, I know how much you love the Halloween season of macabre.

alan markus said...

Perhaps there was an "aura" emanating from you that no virus dared to penetrate.

Wishing the best to you and your wife - my wife has had 2 kinds of cancer this year, several surgeries. Surgeries have done what they were intended to do. No need for chemo, life returning to "normal", but that would be a political discussions.

And with about 60 excursions to clinics, cancer care, ER, and hospitals I must say that COVID precautions were not that big of a deal - mostly temperature checks & masks upon entry, and COVID tests before surgeries. I had thought it would be an environment where everyone was wearing haz mat suits & breathing through special masks.

VideomanSS said...

Thankfully you and Kathy weren't exposed to Covid. More power to her in her recovery And Your Recovery. My daughter-in-law went through all that and much more. No outside contact for over 30 days so medicine has progress. Blessing to Kathy and you.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Jim Lane- Oddly enough, my Dad didn't do that picture for Halloween. It was just the sort of thing he liked to do.

@Mike- I have so much frustration and rage about Covid (and the politics thereof), but I'm having to back-burner it all for now.

@G Cooper- I'm sometimes unsure whether I'm blessed or cursed by my sense of humor, but it looks like it's permanent.

@M. Mitchell Marmel- True story: I went to the liquor store yesterday to buy a few jugs of Clan MacGregor and they didn't have any because of this supply chain idiocy. Damn you, Biden!

@Hammer- I won't lie; my dauber was drooping there for a bit.

@She's A Beauty- The doctored (ironically) hospital photo is indeed nightmarish, but nicely captures the feeling that hit me when I saw that sign.

@Fish Out of Water- Don't we get enough of those images the other 364 days of the year?

@McChuck- I think I was in danger of killing Kathy, but you're right that I certainly wasn't the only risk vector. When a hands-on nurse wearing a nearly pointless paper mask is talking about how much she enjoyed being in the stands with a crowd at a football game the previous night, you realize that "risk containment" isn't a big priority even on an oncology floor.

@Bobo the Hobo- If you've got a picture of Pelosi up for Halloween, OSHA requires you to also have cardiac paddles available. It's not just a good idea, it's the law.

@Jess- I wasn't going to mess with the catch tray and risk effing things up. Plus, since Kathy was packed with chemo, all of those effluvients were highly toxic if they touched your skin. Or licked your fingers.

@Nancy Dickerson- I won't lie, I spent a number of really bad days after the Covid scare. I was already having every bad emotion possible (I thought) - then added "guilt" to the list.

@Igor the Obscure- I try not to get TOO hysterical about Covid, but fail when it comes to Kathy's immuno-compromised state. And would I have fed her "horse dewormer" if the doctors wouldn't give her Ivermectin? Quite possibly.

@TrickyRicky- I DO love Halloween, and I don't think I'm going to be able to do anything for the trick-or-treaters this year which is really weighing on me.

@alan markus- I'm so glad to hear that your wife's surgeries have been successful! And like you, I was surprised by how few (and pitiful) the Covid precautions were in the hospital.

@VideomanSS- If Kathy gets a stem cell transplant, I think she'll still have to go the "no visitor" route for 30 days or so. But we'll surse that bridge when we get to it.

@Everyone- Thank you for the ongoing good wishes and prayers. In the past, I've sometimes wondered if such things really make a difference during tough times. And it turns out they really do!

Ole Scrapper said...

Houdy Stilt, the 7th floor eposode was scary, howsomeever 8th floor release was a story common to some of us old farts. How in the name of all thats holy did you contain the lava flo for that long? Emaressing is the most over used word in those critical relese times (know it well). I don't cuss as a moral condition :) but at such moments I need great forgiveness from on High. The Lord receives abbuse not deserved. Best wishes to you and Kathy and may your innerds stay strong.

Anonymous said...

It is so heart warming to read all the comments. Good to know the world wide web is being used for good. Hope the left never find out and send us all to jail. Yes prayers are wonderful medicines. Please don't loose your humor. It is a blessing to us all. We never know what others are really going through and it cheers us up. Prayers will continue for you and yours.

Mikey said...

On top of everything else you have to put up with the "runs". I think you are an incredibly strong person, so hang in there. Best wishes as always.

Radar1972 said...

I suspect you and Kathy both have been exposed to the corona flu numerous times, just like everyone else in the world. Like any other flu, some handle it better than others.
Prayers for Kathy’s continued improvement.

John the Econ said...

High stress on the digestive tract rarely produces happy results.

The good news was that even if you were exposed to a heaping dose of Wuhan Flu heavy air, the odds that you'd have exposed Kathy to it in such a short time was minimal, if at all. (Besides, you were wearing a mask and all the smart people say that masks are awesome, right?) And of course you later learned that all that angst was for naught, right?

Still, I am sorry you went through that added layer of stress that you definitely didn't need at that moment. Hang in there, buddy!

Shelly said...

There's that patented Jarlsberg humor. I love it.

American Cowboy said...

"No, this was noxious, still-bubbling green stomach acid which burned like a blow torch."

Not to be indelicate, it could be worse. Three older fellows, one 60 years old, one 70 years old, and the third 80 years old, were discussing the trials of getting older.
The 60 year old guy says, "It is terrible. I can't pee like I used to."
The 70 year old says, "You think that is bad? I can't poop like I used to."
The 80 year old says, "You guys just wait until you get to be my age. I pee at 5:00 A.M. then I poop at 6:00 A.M."
Both other guys ask, "What is wrong with that?"
The 80 year old says, "I Don't wake up until 8:00 A.M.!"

Just a little humor, perhaps very little.

Sortahwitte said...

Continued prayers and salutations for Kathy, Stilt and Daughter J.

Sometime I will tell the story of working in Hazardous Materials and contaminating the entire main entrance of our hospital. Hey, I did'n do nuttin'.

Love, Glen and Sioux

JustaJeepGuy said...

The seventh floor can't be that bad. I have read that using a porta-potti (TM?) is WAY more likely to expose you to the 'rona.

On a completely unrelated note, I saw a trailer for a movie the other day that really made me think. It was for a movie about the 1988 Demo_Rat nomination race. Remember the Gary Hart story? Can you believe the mainstream media once used to do actual investigative journalism? In 1988 they helped to bring down the then-frontrunner Demo_Rat. Four years later they no longer covered the Demo_Rat, they COVERED FOR the Demo_Rat and they have been doing that ever since. It would be a crying shame, except that the Demo_Rats no longer have any shame.

Mrywidow said...

Sheesh!!! NO WONDER you two were so glad to finally be home!!! I hope Kathy and your bowels are doing a little better these days... ;-)

bill wald said...

I am very familiar with that feeling which is why I now hate traveling outside my immediate neighborhood. I live in a business district, the West Seattle Alaska Junction.

boynsea said...

Imodium, for the win!

Life's experiences have taught me to not leave home without Imodium.

Maoz said...

Boynsea -- imodium for the commodium?

Stilt, Kathy, Daughter J -- hang in there, gang, we're with ya!

M said...

Praying for all of you. God blessed us with your humor, May God continue to bless you and your family

Gonzo'57 said...


"For Better or Worse". You are a bright, shinning example of what one does for someone you love and to honor the vows you have voiced. You are a true MAN! I truly believe that with your help and Kathy's determination that she and you will come out on the winning end of this battle.

I don't mean to detract from your personal trials and tribulations but I felt I had to share this article from Newsweek about Fauci's foibles. I know I can count on your followers to spread this article far and wide.

"When the pandemic hit, America needed someone to turn to for advice. The media and public naturally looked to Dr. Anthony Fauci—the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, an esteemed laboratory immunologist and one of President Donald Trump's chosen COVID advisers. Unfortunately, Dr. Fauci got major epidemiology and public health questions wrong. Reality and scientific studies have now caught up with him.
Here are the key issues:

Natural immunity. By pushing vaccine mandates, Dr. Fauci ignores naturally acquired immunity among the COVID-recovered, of which there are more than 45 million in the United States. Mounting evidence indicates that natural immunity is stronger and longer lasting than vaccine-induced immunity. In a study from Israel, the vaccinated were 27 times more likely to get symptomatic COVID than the unvaccinated who had recovered from a prior infection.

We have known about natural immunity from disease at least since the Athenian Plague in 430 BC. Pilots, truckers and longshoremen know about it, and nurses know it better than anyone. Under Fauci's mandates, hospitals are firing heroic nurses who recovered from COVID they contracted while caring for patients. With their superior immunity, they can safely care for the oldest and frailest patients with even lower transmission risk than the vaccinated.
Protecting the elderly. While anyone can get infected, there is more than a thousand-fold difference in mortality risk between the old and the young. After more than 700,000 reported COVID deaths in America, we now know that lockdowns failed to protect high-risk older people. When confronted with the idea of focused protection of the vulnerable, Dr. Fauci admitted he had no idea how to accomplish it, arguing that it would be impossible. That may be understandable for a lab scientist, but public health scientists have presented many concrete suggestions that would have helped, had Fauci and other officials not ignored them.

What can we do now to minimize COVID mortality? Current vaccination efforts should focus on reaching people over 60 who are neither COVID-recovered nor vaccinated, including hard-to-reach, less-affluent people in rural areas and inner cities. Instead, Dr. Fauci has pushed vaccine mandates for children, students and working-age adults who are already immune—all low-risk populations—causing tremendous disruption to labor markets and hampering the operation of many hospitals.

School closures. Schools are major transmission points for influenza, but not for COVID. While children do get infected, their risk for COVID death is minuscule, lower than their already low risk of dying from the flu. Throughout the 2020 spring wave, Sweden kept daycare and schools open for all its 1.8 million children ages 1 to 15, with no masks, testing or social distancing. The result? Zero COVID deaths among children and a COVID risk to teachers lower than the average of other professions. In fall 2020, most European countries followed suit, with similar results. Considering the devastating effects of school closures on children, Dr. Fauci's advocacy for school closures may be the single biggest mistake of his career.

Gonzo'57 said...


Second half of my post:

Masks. The gold standard of medical research is randomized trials, and there have now been two on COVID masks for adults. For children, there is no solid scientific evidence that masks work. A Danish study found no statistically significant difference between masking and not masking when it came to coronavirus infection. In a study in Bangladesh, the 95 percent confidence interval showed that masks reduced transmission between 0 percent and 18 percent. Hence, masks are either of zero or limited benefit. There are many more critical pandemic measures that Dr. Fauci could have emphasized, such as better ventilation in schools and hiring nursing home staff with natural immunity.

Contact tracing. For some infectious diseases, such as Ebola and syphilis, contact tracing is critically important. For a commonly circulating viral infection such as COVID, it was a hopeless waste of valuable public health resources that did not stop the disease.
Collateral public health damage. A fundamental public health principle is that health is multidimensional; the control of a single infectious disease is not synonymous with health. As an immunologist, Dr. Fauci failed to properly consider and weigh the disastrous effects lockdowns would have on cancer detection and treatment, cardiovascular disease outcomes, diabetes care, childhood vaccination rates, mental health and opioid overdoses, to name a few. Americans will live with—and die from—this collateral damage for many years to come.
In private conversations, most of our scientific colleagues agree with us on these points. While a few have spoken up, why are not more doing so? Well, some tried but failed. Others kept silent when they saw colleagues slandered and smeared in the media or censored by Big Tech. Some are government employees who are barred from contradicting official policy. Many are afraid of losing positions or research grants, aware that Dr. Fauci sits on top of the largest pile of infectious disease research money in the world. Most scientists are not experts on infectious disease outbreaks. Were we, say, oncologists, physicists or botanists, we would probably also have trusted Dr. Fauci.

The evidence is in. Governors, journalists, scientists, university presidents, hospital administrators and business leaders can continue to follow Dr. Anthony Fauci or open their eyes. After 700,000-plus COVID deaths and the devastating effects of lockdowns, it is time to return to basic principles of public health.
Martin Kulldorff, Ph.D., is an epidemiologist, biostatistician, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Jay Bhattacharya, MD, Ph.D., is a Professor of Health Policy at Stanford University School of Medicine. Both are Senior Scholars at the newly formed Brownstone Institute.

My input: Please keep in mind that the NIH has admitted to funding gain of function research on the bat Covid virus. Dr. Fauci is the head of the NIH.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Readers- Great comments from everyone above, and bonus points to Gonzo'57 for the Covid data. By the way, it's been found that a cheap and common generic antidepressant (also prescribed for OCD) cuts serious harm or deaths from Covid by one third. Which means it will never be recommended for use in treating Covid and will be ridiculed as fit only for Horses who keep repeatedly washing their hooves.

Today, Tuesday Nov 2, we're heading back into the hospital for a few days - all previously scheduled. The first round of chemo is called "induction," to try to kill all the leukemic cancer cells. This subsequent round is called "consolidation" and aims to kill any cells hiding away in the shadows.

Kathy should have a 3-5 day stay in the hospital (the smart money is on 5 days) after which she'll come home for a closely monitored recovery and regular blood work (at the hospital lab) so she can receive blood and/or platelets as needed. All of which is necessary, but it's not much fun to end our week of "just being home."

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

Norma Bates Kitteh and Sylvia Siamese send snugs and purrs.

Fish Out of Water said...

Keep hanging in there.

Colby Muenster said...

Still keeping you and Kathy held up in prayers of healing! Hopefully you two will be back home in 3 days where there is real food, real rest, and Clan MacLighterFluid.

Great post! Is there any doubt Fauci is getting filthy rich off this? In the USA, we are suffering with Fauci, backed by the progressive power grabbers. Per, our Covid death rate per million is 2,275. Sweden mandated nothing, and their death rate is 1,492 per million. LET'S GO BRANDON (and Fauci)!

My sister in law has a cat named Sid Vicious, aptly so, I might add.

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

@Colby: Norma Bates Kitteh comes by her name honestly. Her former owner is a meth-head in prison for killing her boyfriend. Norma, by contrast, is one of the chillest, friendliest cats around... :)

M. Mitchell Marmel said...

So how goes things, Stilt? A little progress report would be appreciated. OTOH, no news is good news...

cintaroja said...

Please hang in, Doc, and know that you and your bride are in our thoughts and prayers.

Paco said...

Question about the painting by your dad: what kind of wine goes with Al Gore's head?

Best wishes to you and your bride. God bless you both.