1622 Things.

Maddison isn’t super subtle.

I decided to go to the store on my own yesterday. Just going out by myself to feel like a regular human for a change. I’ve been feeling well enough that I can do my daily walking and I hardly got sick at all from being in the hellish atmosphere in my grandparent’s house. I figured it would just be a nice outing where I could get away from my room for a little while. I already had the sketch done for tonight so I could just come home, finish it, and everything would be cool. In fact everything was fine until I started home. I realized that the back passenger wheel sounded funny and the truck started to list to that side. I pulled into the nearest lighted, empty, parking lot and saw that my tire was completely ruined. It was pretty cold out, but I’m always feeling so hot it doesn’t really get to me, so I decided to just change the tire. I had my spare ready and always have the tools to do it in the truck anyway. It’s not like changing a tire is super difficult or strenuous. I was breathing hard by the time I almost had the spare on then it suddenly dawned on me that I couldn’t catch my breath. No matter how much I took in it was like I wasn’t getting any air. I went from breathing hard to gasping and then I started to pass out. I recognize the signs now. It’s happened enough times, recently enough, that I’m familiar with it. Then my chest started to hurt. Which isn’t abnormal. My sternum always hurts so I tend to ignore it. There’s something wrong with it as I’ve explained before. But the pain started to spread down my arms and my sides. I quickly imagined myself passing out in the cold and freezing to death from just not waking up fast enough. I thought about trying to walk to the convenient store but took one step and realized I couldn’t make it. My thoughts are starting to get muddled, but I’m panicking now so I’m thinking very fast. If I pass out in my truck I could suffocate from not being able to breathe sitting there. If it’s a heart attack no one is going to stop because I’ve already been out here obviously changing a tire in the cold and many, many, people haven’t stopped to see if I needed any help. So before it’s too late I call 911. I’m starting to slide in and out of awareness but I hear the voice of the operator ask me my age and emergency. I tell her where I am, and what’s happening, and the line apparently goes dead. I know the hospital is really close to where I am so it won’t be long. I reach into the truck and lock the door. Then there’s a blank spot in my memory. I’m not sure what happened. Some part of me must have reached in and grabbed my surface because I become aware of it being really cold in my hands. I’m in some kind of autopilot. The part of me that is conscious of what I do is not the part of me that’s driving though. I’m aware that my chest still hurts and it feels like someone is trying to pull my arm out of the socket. Then I get into the ambulance somehow. I start being aware of myself in a more normal way about the time that the EMT tells me that my blood pressure is high. I don’t know the number system for it so I don’t know exactly how in danger I am, plus I’m not all there. He gives me aspirin and nitro glycerin just to be safe. He asks if I want to go to the hospital and my response is “I’m not the medical professional. What should I do?” And he says it’s probably a good idea to get checked out. I am starting to pass out but I call my dad and tell him what’s going on before I dip out again. I don’t remember the actual ride to the hospital. I vaguely remember getting on to the ER bed. I see someone sit my stuff on a chair. My chest is on fire. I can feel my heartbeat in my ears. It feels like they are going to start bleeding. Then my dad gets there. I know, logically it’s been at least 15 minutes since I called him. Because that’s at least how long it takes to get to town. I don’t remember that time passing. I know I get a chest x ray at some point and I can tell no one is very concerned about my condition. I must not be in any real danger because they have a shift change and I’m basically left alone for… hours? At least 2 I think. My chest starts to really hurt and I finally tell my dad so he flags down a nurse. She gives me this white cup of lidocaine? Which numbs me from the inside apparently. For a half hour or so I have less pain than I have felt in months. My dad who has been watching my BP the entire time notes that is suddenly drops down to something more like normal as soon as the stuff kicks in.
The whole time I’ve apparently been messaging and tweeting, but I don’t become aware of that until about this point. I’ve been having conversations that I don’t fully remember, took at least one picture, posted it, and who knows what else. Even now I don’t have full memories of what I was doing. If not for the phone keeping track I might not know I did anything at all. Which is insane. The idea that there’s part of my brain that can function without me being fully conscious blows the part of my mind that’s capable of being blown.
Eventually a doctor shows up and says that as far as he can tell there’s nothing super wrong with me. I haven’t had a heart attack. He then asks about the various conditions that I already have, which I’m aware of so he’s like “Okay, so this is stuff you’re already being treated for.” I tell him about my blood pressure meds and he posits that since I take them in the afternoon that when I did the strenuous work they caused my body to do all the stuff it just did. Basically I shouldn’t do really strenuous things after taking it for several hours. Although I don’t see changing a tire as strenuous, so I guess you have to kind of know your body… I’m going to need to follow up with my actual doctor soon, but there’s probably nothing wrong with me apart from doing stuff I shouldn’t with the medication I’m on and in the shape that I’m in. Of course this whole thing is probably going to cost a minimum of $1000 dollars, so that ruins a lot of stuff I wanted to do for a long time, but I’m not dead at least.
Eventually a nurse came and asked if I felt well enough to go home. I said “You tell me, medical professional. Am I okay to go home?” She said that as long as I felt like I could walk I should be fine, so I walked out on my own. Dad and I gathered up my truck since I was nearly done changing the tire anyway. Although my spare was flat for some reason, so I would have had to air it up if I hadn’t started to pass out. I drove it home and was wide awake, so I finished the page and here we are.
I spent almost all day in bed today. My body is sore like it’s bruised all over. My hands and feet are the only things that don’t feel like they got beaten up. That said, I should be fine to do the next page. Hopefully I’m not super sore tomorrow, since it’s always sore a little first then the worst day, then back to normal with muscle pain it seems like. In any case you’re stuck with me for a while longer.


I don’t think I have ever been bewildered more by a statement than “he gave me… nitroglycerin to keep me safe.” Then again, my primary and sole experience with the stuff derives from crash bandicoot. But I am glad to see that your harrowing situation did not result in catastrophic end. You are, if nothing else, a hardy bastard, Mr. Wohlenhaus. Thank you for your continued and inspiring existence.

Also, I’m not sure what kinds of things Maddie purports to like, but I am definitely interested to see where this is going.

Feel your pain honey. Whatever this hell is, it’s awful losing complete control of your body. it’s awful not knowing what can go wrong next.

Glad to have you still with us. Your hospital pic looked “thug” as my students would say. Keep pushing throug man! So many people are grateful for you and your stories.

Well, thank goodness you’re okay. I don’t often comment, but I’ve grown to love this story, and I have a lot of respect for how hard you work even in terrible conditions.

Jeeze, so that’s what all those tweets were about (such as “being the most metal cartoonist if you draw a page now”). I only saw them in passing while I was at work, but cost & stress aside I’m glad it didn’t turn into anything more severe.

That all said, Maddison went from “yay, food!” to “we gunna fuck” in no time at all :-D

I’ve tried a few blood pressure medications at low doses to try to control migraines, and a few migraine medications (ergotamine, triptans) that really crank down on the ability of blood vessels to dilate. Those things make it difficult for the body to rev up for increased physical activity, and I’ve had issues ranging from really slow ramp up to what I would consider normal strength and speed, to abnormal weakness, severe cramping, and feeling like a truck ran over me afterwards. (With or without the migraine symptoms as well.) No problems forming memories, though. I feel (some of) your pain, brother.

I am really sorry to read about your health problems. I wish there was something I could do for you.

As usual I really like this comic. Maddison has really grown on me and I want her to be happy, but I don’t know how well things would work out with her and Reggie. Reggie has grown on me as well and I am well pleased to see him simply smiling in the third panel… not smirking, not smiling in a snarky way, simply having a happy moment.

I hope you feel a lot better and have a bunch of happy moments of your own.

Man, Jackie! I’m really glad they got to you in time before anything bad happened. I really hope you can find a way to fix whatever is going on in your body, and I’ll keep on praying for you that things turn around.

yikes. I’m very glad you’re still alive. That’s terrifying, and … I dunno. Must hit hard, the reminder of what you can’t do.

Glad you’re still with us.

Good lord Jackie that day sounds more fucked up then a soup sandwich. Glad to hear your gonna be all right. Unrelated Madison looks great in that first panel

It really hurts me to hear about all the med issues you keep having. I wish they could find permanent solutions so that you could get better and be in less distress all the damn time.

Keeping my fingers crossed that your health continues to improve.

I realize you have bigger problems at this phase in your life, and I pray your health improves, but Reggie means “fazes”.

Madison is quite a breath of fresh air for this cast. She’s so positive and happy-go-lucky. Contrasts really well with the rest of the cast who is generally pretty cynical.

Damn glad you’re alive, man. When they use nitroglycerin, at least you know they’re not in doubt. (My brother appreciated that when he had a heart attack in May.)

Noticed your tweet about how depression fucks off in the face of mortal peril. I suspect that kind of explains how the old folks survived ice ages and plagues and famines. Maybe the inbuilt paranoia that gets people through daily mortal peril has no outlet in safer times, and depression is a side effect.

So glad you’re safe. I admire the presence of mind you had when it started. I’d have probably tried to make it to the store anyway and nobody would’ve known anything for a while. That autopilot thing happens to me when I get a migraine sometimes, it is pretty weird. Anyway, we’re glad to have you around for a while longer :)

So in essence, for many multiple hundreds of dollars the medical profession simply gave you a safe place to sleep it off.

Huh! Another big win for American medical “care.”

And people ask me why I don’t apply for Obamacare.

In fairness to the doctors, there’s this old maxim: “First, do no harm.” If he had needed emergency surgery or something, they would have given it to him.

I once nearly went into shock and went to the Emergency Room, and all they really did was keep me warm, elevate my legs, and give me anti-pain meds… and keep an eye on me for a while. Other than the anti-pain meds I really didn’t need anything that night. But if my heart had shut down or something they were ready to do whatever. (It turned out that the cause of me going into shock was that my gall bladder had pretty much shut down, and I had to have my gall bladder removed; but once it was diagnosed it wasn’t an emergency. But if it had been an emergency, the hospital staff would have removed my gall bladder that very night, at 3 A.M. if need be.)

So, please don’t blame the doctors for not doing very much.

As for applying for Obamacare: I sincerely hope you do have some kind of insurance. If you don’t have any insurance, see if there is a plan you can afford. It would truly suck to have something really bad happen to you without any insurance to cover you.

The insurance I have doesn’t cost any money, but neither is it recognized by the gov’t. So I still get to pay several thousand a year in extra “taxes”. Still, it’s less than I’d throw down the toilet with the recognized plans.

When You said You reached into the truck for Your surface,
I was thinking “my god, he might be about to die, and he still was trying to update?”

Glad You are still “kicking”.

Jesus, glad you are still safe and sound now. By the way, you reacted quite calmly to the pain, and you took good decisions. As someone has already said, depresion scatters as you become aware of danger, and thus the surprising “cleverness of thinking”, it happens at random in great peril, something I was told when I serviced as a volunteer in the local Red Cross of my town. It´s a psychological defense we have since the days we were cavemen. We should be glad we still have that “safe switch” out of factory (heh), but I dunno if that´s really common. I don´t know if I could have that aplomb if that happened to me.

Either way, I´m glad the danger passed out. Take care, man.

Been reading you since freshman year, you sir are a genuine part of my coming of age, and a genius; thank you and i’m glad your alright

Not gonna lie, i panicked at the picture on twitter, having followed your blogs here. but i waited to see what you would post here before i started blowing up your twitter like a psychopath.

You are an actual hero for finishing up the comic after that :o I feel privileged to be one of your fans. Look after yourself hun.

Much love!

Woah first time I read the little description thingy at the bottom in a while and all this shit happens to you- Glad you’re ok dude. Hope we continue to be stuck with you for a long long looooooong time to come. Relating to the comic, I am so Maddison in this page, though hopefully a bit more subtle.

I can’t imagine Maddison and Reggie. Mainly because he Ike smart women. but I can see Reggie growing as a person.

Now Maddy might be eager to jump Reggie, but I think Reggie respects women more than that…unlike Wes.

I empathize, I’ve been dealing with a weird transient arrhythmia for over a decade now. When it first presented it was some scary world altering shit, and it involved a lot of ambulance rides. Once you make a little peace with it mentally, it will ease off a lot.

Also what’s wrong with truck stops? Some of my favorite hookers work there.

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