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Neil Crone’s Journal
Neil Crone is an actor and writer and a national spokesperson for the CCAC. A Second City veteran improvisor, host and stand up comic, Neil also loves to write poems and stories for "big and little kids".
Neil has written a journal of his experience with colorectal cancer.
My Stay at the Hospital
Day 1: I awake in the recovery room. Not sure who I am, but figure I must be a fighter pilot whose plane went down. I am wearing an oxygen mask. Someone is torturing me by grinding his heel into my bladder. A voice, cleverly disguised as friendly, reassures me it is only the discomfort of a catheter I am feeling. ’Right comrade,’ I mumble through my airhose, you’re not getting jack outta me, Mr. Ho Chi Minh. Not for all the tea in...
Suddenly I am moving. Lights are flashing by overhead and I am banged and jostled, as we play chicken with other gurneys, medical carts and walls. There is lots of laughter. All of it female. I must’ve said something funny. I am a freaking hoot.
I am taken to my room. Partition curtains are swept back and there is much chatter and bustle and cranking of levers. "Mr. Crone we’re just going to transfer you onto your bed. Can you help us out here?"
"Sure, no sweat, just as soon as this Gorilla gets off my chest."
Nurses come and go, pleasant and efficient and kind and funny. Prodding and poking and always leaving the sad sack of pain feeling more human than he surely must look. And underneath all of this, the blissfully cool touch of loved ones hands across the scorched hardpan of my forehead.
Day Two, Three, Four, Five (who can tell anymore, morphine has arrived)...
I have a morphine pain pump. It looks like a toy. The Fisher-Price Pump’n Play. Morphine is my friend. I squeeze my pump and the Gorilla goes away. Unfortunately, no matter how many times I squeeze my pump it cannot make my room mate go away. I call him Lou, because he is a lunatic. I don’t think Lou has a Gorilla on his chest. He is far too active for that. But I am beginning to think he has a monkey on his back. Lou does amusing things like pull his IV out so he can go have a smoke. He calls the nurse’s bad names and swears at himself all night long. He puts all the lights on at night and runs back and forth in his wheelchair, smacking the foot of my bed with each passing. Lou is more fun than TV. But I don’t want fun. I want to sleep. The Gorilla wants fun. I don’t say anything to Lou. Partly because I am a morphine-soaked, titanium-stapled lump, and partly because I feel sorry for him. But then, Lou crosses the line. I open my eyes in panic one night. It sounds like there is a fire in my room. I push the Gorilla over a bit so I can look around. What I mistook for the sound of flames is the crinkling of cellophane. Lou, nocturnal as a wombat, is at the foot of my bed going through my fruit basket. I shout at him to beat it and frantically hammer the nurse call-button like an angry senior at a crosswalk. The nurses come. They are righteously pissed at Lou. Maybe they will yank his catheter out or something. I would stay up to watch that. Instead, Lou is restrained and I am moved to a private room. Sorry Lou, I know we’re each dealing with our own personal primates, but nobody touches my fruit basket.
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