No one needs to be awakened at 5am to be served blue jello.  I speak from experience.

I spent most of the last few days in Barnes Jewish West County Hospital recovering from a gall bladder infection. It hit me, hard, on Wednesday night, and you don’t want to know the details. Ironically, I was scheduled to go into that same hospital first thing Thursday morning for surgery on my spine to relieve some rather intense pain that I’ve been enduring for over a year now. But that’s been postponed until later this summer because of this recent incident.

Being stuck in a hospital bed for a few days is less fun than you’d think.  All you want to do is sleep and let the medication take its course.  Unfortunately, long periods of sleep are hard to come by, because the medical staff has to enter the room to take your blood, your blood pressure, your blood oxygen level, and your temperature. They have to administer another antibiotic through the intravenous tube, they have to replace the bag of saline solution, they have to stop the IV pump from beeping because you rolled onto your side, and they have to empty the catheter bag.

Ah, the catheter.  What a chick magnet that is.  Forget about puppies.  If you want all the women in the neighborhood to pay attention to you, get a catheter inserted in your manhood (if there’s a more emasculating procedure, I’ve yet to endure it). Then, watch their eyes follow you as you hobble down the hallway, trying to get some exercise while pushing your IV stand with one hand and carrying your catheter bag in the other.  With these twin marvels of modern science at my disposal, I was just like Brad Pitt.  At the beginning of Benjamin Button.

That’s where the blue jello comes in.  There’s a knock on the door and a very pleasant voice says, “Good morning, Mr. Harris, I have your breakfast.”  Even through the early-morning haze, I know that this cheerful announcement doesn’t mean anything good has arrived.  No one wakes you up with good news at 5am.  Because of the infection, my diet was limited to clear liquids, which meant breakfast consisted of a couple of ounces of apple juice, a cup of soup that someday hopes to be upgraded to bland, and a small bowl of blue jello.  

That’s how sick I was.  I was living in a world where “clear” and “blue” are synonymous.

Eventually, all of this care and modern medicine got me healthy enough that I could go home, where I am doing fine, thank you.  I’ll be back in the good graces of the BJC West County Hospital staff in a few weeks for some more work on my gall bladder and then, ultimately, get that spinal problem taken care of.

For now, I’m planning on returning to work for the poker radio show on KFNS/St. Louis Tuesday night and an early-morning fill-in gig at WLS/Chicago on Wednesday.

Most of all, I’m happy to be looking up at a clear blue sky instead of down at a bowl of clear blue jello.