For those of you who have been reading my blogs on TB&ME, but who haven't seen the Youtube videos that I made about my experience with TB, I wanted to give you a bit of a chronological look at the time that I spent in Sydney Hospital between December 2009 and July 2010.
I was originally diagnosed in early December 2009, about 4 weeks after returning home from a trip to South America. When I was in South America, I visited Argentina and Brazil, and had a wonderful time. But when I got back, I had a bad cough, which got worse and worse, and I began to lose weight rapidly. I found myself waking up in pools of sweat, and then when I started coughing blood I took myself to hospital. They gave me an X-ray and had then diagnosed me with TB within days.
9 Days after I was admitted, I was already so bored that I had learned how to make songs on my computer, and I even taught myself to film a rap video, edit it on my laptop, and upload it to Youtube. This is the first rap song I ever made, and it's called "Im not Sick, but I'm Sick Sick". The Debut single from The Fully Sick Rapper! This took about 8 hours of writing, recording, filming and editing.
This video got a whole bunch of hits on Youtube pretty quickly, and I realised that I had stumbled on something that could keep me busy, take up time in hospital, and allow me to share my experience with my friends. It was also going to be a way that I could try and poke fun at myself, and feel better at the situation that I was in.
I went for a while without making another rap video, but then one of the local news channels called because they had heard about my situation, and I got to talk to a sexy and very beautiful TV host named Leila McKinnon, whom I'd had a crush on for some years... Unfortunately she was married to the boss of Channel 9 (the TV Network who owned the news show that had approached me) so I would have to tread carefully if I was going to flirt with her... Anyway, they decided to skype me in for a conversation from my hospital room.
But after meeting the beautiful Leila McKinnon, I thought that it would only be fair that I write her a song... She was too beautiful not to have her own song:
Shortly after making that video, I was released from hospital, because it had been 3 weeks that I had been quarantined. Normally, in the case of standard TB, 3 weeks is long enough to ensure that the patient would be no longer contagious. Since I had shown improvements in my medical results, the Doctors had no reason to assume that my TB would be of any other type than the normal garden variety TB... But very soon my symptoms returned, and I lost even more weight, and got even sicker still, and began coughing even more blood, and so I took myself back to hospital. Some test results came back in and showed that I had MDR TB, so they re-admitted me, and there I would be staying until we got it properly sorted out... At this point none of us were sure how long that would be.
There was a limbo period where we did some sensitivity testing on the bacteria, to find out what drugs if any would be effective against the TB that I was carrying, and then once those results came in, they got me started on a new batch of 5 different anti-biotics, all from the 60's and 70's. It was old school treatment, with heavy side effects.
But the side effects helped twist me just enough to want to stay in the game, and so after 33 days of quarantine, in a particularly angry, anarchist, punk rock, f*ck the world kind of state of mind, I decided to get real punk and write a Ukulele punk song, called "F*ck You, I'm a Ukulele".... This was where I was starting to get a little extra creative, thanks to the side effects of my hardcore medicines.
It took a few days to let the bad language wear off, but once it had, I decided to give the world an update on my current health situation.... This next video has had the most hits of all my Youtube videos, and it went viral around the world, being featured in news stories and TV segments world wide. After 55 days in quarantine, The Fully Sick Rapper released his "masterpiece"... Life in Quarantine.
One of the side effects that I felt pretty heavily was paranoia... And I got it about everything. I thought that nurses were trying to poison me, that doctors didn't want to fix me, that people were stealing from me, that people were telling me lies... and that there were bugs everywhere! I was turning into a total germaphobe, because I had been doing so much reading about TB, and bacterial diseases, and had read so many terrible stories about infections that started in hospital that lead to people losing limbs or much worse... And so I was freaking out about bugs in my room all the time. This was getting so intense that I needed to let it out, so I decided to let The Fully Sick Rapper do it for me. After 69 Days in Quarantine, I released Germaphobe... My looney tune.
My brother studied film at university, and he had always wanted to be a film maker, so once my videos started picking up hits, he suggested that he could help me with the next couple of videos... This was his way of reaching out and being supportive to me in a time when I really needed it. I couldn't get a lot of visitors because of the health dramas that I was going to, but family were allowed to come in for short visits if they wore the correct safety infection protective attire, so he began to come in and start helping me film bits and pieces.... For our first video together, we decided to have some fun and see what it would be like if MTV wanted to come in and do an episode of Cribs about The Fully SIck Rapper, in his totally sick pad. So after 73 of Quarantine we made this short Cribs episode:
One of the only entertainment saviours that I had in hospital was a massive stack of DVDs, that had come in from friends, family, nurses, and anybody else that I could scab them from... And I was watching a lot of DVDs. Between writing, excersizing, and annoying medical staff, it was really the only form of entertainment that I could handle. I didn't have the patience for reading, didn't have the fuse for daytime TV, and didn't have the discipline for sports, so I was just slamming movie after movie... But it started giving me a bit of an entertainment psychosis, and I started dressing up as all sorts of characters, and talking along to movies, and laughing out loud, and cheering for characters, and all sorts of things that you don't really do when you're watching movies... or when you're a normal sane human being. So for the first co-production of a rap video, my brother and I made this one, about all the movies that I had been watching in hospital. It's called Fully Epic Rapsody (I love puns).
Obviously I couldn't see any girls, or touch any girls, apart from nurses, and it would have been VERY inappropriate if I made any moves on them... PARTICULARLY since I had a highly contagious deadly lung infection festering away inside me. I'm not going to lie, I like the attention of a woman (and/or women). It's nice to get a hug, a kiss always feels fantastic, and anything else is a big bonus... But I had been alone for a long time, and spent a lot of time sitting in that hospital room on my own. Having a disease can be a lonely thing in any situation, particularly when you are quarantined for having it... But by this time, lots of girls had been kind enough to write to me, touch base on Facebook, say hi on the internet and those sorts of things, so I was starting to feel a bit better about myself like that... Your ego takes a huge knock during disease, and little did I know, when I finally got out of hospital after 6 months I actually found it really hard to talk to girls... It was like I had lost all the mojo that I had worked so many years to build up! All of that confidence was gone... It took a few months after getting out of hospital before I even felt safe being within a couple of feet of people, because I was worried that I was going to make them sick... BUT ANYWAY! At this point I didn't know I was going to feel like that, and it was the furthest thing from my mind. I thought that as soon as I got out of hospital I was going to go out, meet a girl, and get it on like I just got out of jail!... So before I could do that, I needed to put the feelers out there... That's what this song was about... Finding a funny way to put the feelers out there, and see what kind of girls might be interested in a Fully Sick Rapper, that couldn't leave his hospital room... If a chick can handle me while I'm in quarantine with a deadly disease, she can handle anything right!!!??
You can tell that by this last video my Production Quality had gone up significantly... This was because I had purchased a new camera (a Canon 5D) and I was using that to shoot on...
So that was basically the last of The Fully Sick Rapper's songs from inside hospital, but what we moved onto was a web series... My brother and I wrote 4 short 10 minute episodes about The Fully Sick Rapper, his rise to Youtube fame, and his brother's plans to rise along with him, and gain notoriety in the performance community, so that he could find more work for himself as an actor/stuntman/director. We have not yet edited the second two episodes, but here are the first two, back to back.
So there are two more episodes of that web series to come shortly, but they have taken us time to edit as we've been distracted by other work in between...
But I was released shortly after filming those web series episodes, after a total of 187 days in hospital, and then went through another 12 months post treatment, but have since finished and so far have seen no further complications... Lets hope it stays that way!
Thanks so much for your time reading my blog, and I hope you enjoyed watching the videos that I made in hospital. If you would like to come and say hi, then please do so by commenting below, or by dropping by on my facebook page at facebook.com/fullysickrapper or on Twitter @FullySickRapper Cheers! Christiaan