In the hospital with Amy Fisher

Kevin Cowherd

January 15, 1993|By Kevin Cowherd

Even in the hospital, it was impossible to get away from Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco and Mary Joe Buttafuoco -- who, it seems to me, looks pretty damn good for someone who took a bullet to the head.

So I never knew if I was getting well or not. I'd be feeling better and then I'd look up at the TV and see that sleazeball Joey on "Donahue" saying: "I dunno . . . she musta been obsessed with me."

At this point, my health would begin to deteriorate rapidly. Pain, fever, chills . . . suddenly my entire immune system would shut down, overwhelmed by yet another massive dose of shlock.

The story of how I landed in the hospital is a dull and dreary one, so of course I will lay it all out for you now.

It started two weeks ago with a sharp pain in my elbow which grew steadily worse. The doctors diagnosed it as cellulitis, which turns out to be a big-time infection of sorts.

But I thought: No big deal. I am The Man. I can do cellulitis standing on my head.

Suddenly, though, the conversation took a turn for the worse.

"Look," the doctors said, "we'd like you to come into the hospital so we can put you on round-the-clock IV antibiotics and poke and prod you, and turn your life into a living nightmare."

Well. I don't see how you pass up an offer like that. So I checked in two hours later, spurred on by the fact that my elbow was now the size of a honeydew melon. Plus my constant screams of pain were starting to bother the rest of the family, particularly my wife, who kept looking up and saying: "Hey! I'm trying to watch 'Knots Landing' . . ."

The first thing you notice as a patient in a hospital is the total lack of privacy. Every five minutes, someone is barging into your room to take a blood sample or dispense medication or pick up the breakfast tray, etc.

All in all, it was like trying to get some rest in a train station; the only things missing were a homeless guy dozing on your shoulder and the Hare Krishna people hitting you up for spare change.

If there is one suggestion I could make for those who visit the sick, it would be: Don't sneak up on the patient.

One day I was dozing off when suddenly someone grabbed my wrist. I must have jumped 20 feet in the air. Then I started screaming -- this was shortly after seeing Joey Buttafuoco's lawyer on "Donahue" -- "PUT THE GUN DOWN, AMY!"

Mercifully, it turned out to be an old friend who informed me with a straight face that he didn't know I was sleeping.

So I had to explain to him that, see, when a person is lying in bed with his eyes closed, it generally indicates that person is sleeping. Or he's dead. But since there wasn't an orderly unzipping a body bag nearby or a priest saying prayers over me, it was a pretty good bet that -- stay with me here -- I was sleeping!

Another thing to bear in mind when visiting someone in the hospital: Go easy on the horror stories.

I must have had a half-dozen people stop by to tell me that they had had cellulitis, too. Then they'd launch into the gruesome details of how infected their limb was and how painful it was and how, after many days of suffering, they were finally rushed into the operating room.

Then there would be this long pause and they'd add: "Not that that'll happen to you . . ."

Of course, I got the usual amount of crank calls in the hospital, too. One crazy woman called and said: "It's a damn disgrace that they're wasting a valuable hospital bed on a deadbeat like you."

I said: "Look, Mom, I don't like this any better than you do. I'll send you some money next week."

Anyway, by the sixth day in the hospital, despite the wonderful doctors and nurses, I was slowly going nuts. And I thought: What can I, as a layman, do to accelerate my departure from this place?

Then it came to me: Hostage situation.

I would grab one of the nurses with my good arm and shove her into the room and barricade the door. A tense standoff with a SWAT team would ensue. From time to time, I would open the door a crack to reveal the terrified nurse with a jagged piece of glass held to her throat, at which time she would sob: "Please . . . he's serious. He wants to get out of here!"

Thankfully, it never came to that. After examining my elbow on the seventh day, one of the doctors said: "You can go now."

With tears of joy welling in my eyes, I whispered: "Doc, I . . . I want to bear your next child."

As I type this, however, Joey and Mary Jo Buttafuoco are on one of the talk shows discussing a new movie as well as a book deal.

And my elbow is starting to throb.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.