It's A Mess: It's my party -- I'll cry if I want to

You know when you go to a party, any party really, and the beginning starts out really fun but then it gets late and everyone is sloppy and suddenly the party isn't so fun? My stem cell birthday party was no exception.

Let's set the scene -- it's Thursday evening, July 22. The city is sparkling beneath me -- the people know it's almost the weekend. Meanwhile, I've lost track of the days -- it doesn't really matter what day of the week it is when you're in the hospital. You start measuring days in symptoms, procedures, medications, and progress.

Mazzy, my 17 year old sister, has come prepared with bags of snacks, pajamas, extra clothes, volleyball clothes, and toiletries -- she's in charge of me tonight.

"Well, looks like tonight is going to suck for you since I'm here," my sister laughs.

She has a reputation of bringing bad luck in airports and hospitals. She's like a black cat -- every flight she takes gets delayed; I had a panic attack from a medication the last time she was here.

"I don't know why mom and dad let you stay here tonight," but I'm actually happy she's spending the night with me. We get to watch The Bachelorette and talk about the latest ~drama~ in her life.

My stem cells: the strongest hallucinogen out there

My parents fuss over me, asking me if I'm sure I'm going to be okay. I shoo them away and tell them to call us when they get home.

Then the party started getting sloppy...

I make Mazzy pause our TV show, "I'm going to take Ativan and go to sleep. Is that okay? I'm not feeling good."

"No, it's not okay," she sarcastically retorts as she rolls her eyes.

She starts her sound machine, and I am lulled to sleep by the crashing waves and the Ativan coursing through my veins (mostly the Ativan).

*I'm going to tell this story from two different perspectives --  from my perspective and then my sister's. You'll see why. 

I'm starving -- absolutely ravenous. I have an insatiable appetite, but only for Asian cuisine. Little sushi rolls dance above my head, and I can smell chicken coconut korma with fresh garlic naan. They're so close, but completely out of reach. Everyone denies my requests for the delicious food surrounding me. I'm angry.

I feel like an egg on a hot, summer day left out on the sidewalk -- fried. I'm burning up. I consider calling my nurse, but I'm terrified she'll be upset with me. I do not want to do anything to upset the doctors and nurses. I think to myself, "I'll just die here instead of bothering them."

Massive ocean waves crash over my head. The frothy, white water is unforgiving as it pulls at my limbs and forces me under its current. I'm crying out for someone to help me, pull me out, turn it down, but the waves just get bigger and louder. I'm drowning, and no one will save me.

I'm covered in a layer of sweat. My pillow is soaked through. I reach for the call button, "I think I have a fever." I wait hours for someone to come and help me or take my temperature. They don't care about me. Meanwhile, the waves keep crashing down on me.

"102.4 degrees -- we're going to have to do a few tests..." The rest is drowned out by the waves. I have a fever, and I'm dying. My nurse hands me a cup and motions to the bathroom. I manage to pee in the cup while I'm profusely vomiting into the trashcan (and they say people can't multitask). I give her my cup of urine and apologize for throwing up in the garbage. She leads me back into my bed. "I'm scared," I manage to whisper. I'm left alone in darkness for what seems like two nights.

The light right above me blinds me when it is flipped on. I'm on a surgery table. There's at least 20 people in the room, scurrying around me like ants when their mound is trampled by a careless toddler. They wheel in a huge machine and usher my sister out. The people begin to explain, "We're doing a chest x-ray..." but my own thoughts interrupt them -- a CHEST x-ray? I'm definitely dying.

A woman is putting a needle into my arm. I frantically ask her, "DO I HAVE A BLOOD INFECTION?" She gives me a confused look. Back into the waves, back into the darkness.

I come to a realization. They've trapped me. They're using witchcraft. There's absolutely no science backing up anything that these people are doing to me. I have to get out or they will kill me. I begin planning escape routes. I can make a run for it with my IV pole out into the hallway, but they will surely catch me. There's only one way -- I need to break the window with my IV pole and scale down the 15 floors below me. They'll never know. I'm a genius.

Dr. Burt comes in for his daily rounds. His presence is calming. He tells me that my medication is being made in the pharmacy right now -- it will break my fever. He promises me the medication, but then disappears. They've tricked me once again.

8:30 AM: I wake up, like actually wake up. My head feels cool, but my body is sore. I recount my nightmarish reality that I've just awoken from. In this moment, I decide I will never do hallucinogens.

My poor, bloated face the morning after chaos

*Mazzy's POV

1:00 AM: Ivy is talking in her sleep. She just mumbled something about sushi. I turn up my sound machine to tune out her mumbling.

2:30 AM: Despite me turning up my sound machine, I am still able to hear Ivy mumbling. I turn it up a little louder so the sound of waves drown out her voice. I fall right back to sleep.

3:00 AM: Ivy just called her nurse. She says she has a fever.

3:01 AM: The nurse quickly responds and takes care of Ivy. I'm not worried at all, she's in great hands. I just feel bad that she's throwing up and has a fever. The nurse gently explains to Ivy that she will be totally okay. They just have a fever protocol; meaning they have to take a chest x-ray and draw blood on the off chance it is a blood infection. They're almost 100% positive it is not a blood infection -- just being safe. Most patients spike a fever after their stem cell transplants.

3:05 AM: The x-ray machine is wheeled into Ivy's room by two techs. I exit the room for the 30 seconds it takes them to take the x-ray.

3:10 AM: A woman from the phlebotomy team comes in to take Ivy's blood. Ivy's panicking about a blood infection even though the nurse just said that she probably doesn't have one. Like okay Ivy, chill out.

6:00 AM: Dr. Burt comes in to check up on Ivy. He assures her the medicine will be ready in 45-60 minutes, and she'll be fine.

7:00 AM: Ivy's nurse comes in to check on her. Ivy greets her with some less than pleasant words, "This sucks @$$." To be fair, it does, and she's on a lot of drugs right now.

8:30 AM: Ivy's awake. I ask her how she's feeling, but I can see in her face that she's feeling a lot better. She begins telling me about how crazy the night was, and I can't help but laugh because her descriptions are absolutely ridiculous. We're both laughing now.

Do you see why I had to tell two different stories now?

The night of my stem cell transplant was easily my worst night in the hospital and maybe the worst night of my life. I was absolutely petrified with fear that night, irrational fear, but nevertheless, fear. But you know what? I laugh about it now. Because come on, it's hilarious.

Fear isn't permanent. It won't last forever. It okay to feel scared sometimes; just don't let your fears convince you to do stupid things -- like try to bash an IV pole through a window and scale down from the 16th floor.

P.S. I got my "Asian cuisine" the next day


  1. Hilarious! It is fun and funny to relive this in your writing. I remember hearing about it from you and Mazzy the next day and laughing at the 2 perspectives. Mazzy did say it felt like a rave was going on with all the people coming in and out and the lights coming on and off. In addition there was a hallucinating raver that was not making much sense to anyone.

  2. No hallucinogens for ivy. Also, thank goodness for Trader Joe’s orange chicken. Also, I love this post. I laughed and I cried. I want to read it again and again.

  3. Ivy, you are hilarious! Glad you've eliminated one class of drugs you'll say "No" to, and that you survived your "trip" that night! Love you! Aunt Rachel

  4. It is really a helpful blog to find some different source to add my knowledge. I came into aware of new professional blog and I am impressed with suggestions of author. Portable Sound Machine Baby


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