Home again, but is it really?
Is this the first Monday, or the last? I feel inside out. Time feels like a strong wind into which I walk. I meet this wind with a fierce but humble persistence. I work hard, but do I work correctly? This broken body, carried through the day on sheer force of will, it’s internal conditions unsure, a perfect reflection of its contextual conditions.
Waking sometime between 1 AM and 3 AM in a fit of anxiety for one aspect or another of this life has become far too commonplace.
This happened less at the hospital. I think at home, I can feel the total weight of responsibility for the infrastructure upon which I rest. At the hospital, it was more a sense of total surrender.
Five nights there, the first three in the emergency room, although I had been admitted after the first 12 hours, they did not have beds available for another 53 hours after that. I was fortunate at least that I had a small quarters to myself, others I heard were sleeping in the hallways.
The acuteness of that small ER bed station, felt close and somehow comfortable. Beeping sounds and light, phlebotomist and nurses at all hours, yet somehow it drowned out my own existential uncertainties. Rest was not great, but it was not disturbed by fits of anxiety. Perhaps the body needs calm for those to emerge…
I was in the hospital for a total of 106 hours, the first 65 in the ER. The last day and 1/2 or so I was moved upstairs. The room was more spacious, with a view onto a courtyard – a contrast to the windowless, timeless quarters from the days before – quieter, and more still. Anxiety for my situation in the larger sense began to creep into my dreams, not yet quite waking me. Not quite that still. Not quite that quiet.
Saturday morning arrived, the final day of formal engagement for Greg as my trusted caregiver. Greg is moving on to an internship in the journey towards a formal PhD as a clinical psychologist. Greg and I have been working together for nearly a decade, and this Saturday morning arrived with me in the hospital, and him coming to spring me out.
Greg arrived at 7 AM as usual. I began to stir and we made our way through the casual morning conversation, a hospital breakfast (they brought burrito and omelette, so enough for both of us), the usual range of motion exercises and bowel evacuation. The doctor arrived early and easy with the discharge orders, a rarity in my experience.
Our nurse, Oscar, was in the room to draw blood. Apparently I had been missed on the 3 AM round – a little grace as I had managed to sleep soundly through the night between Friday and Saturday. I was uneasy, Oscar had indicated an understanding that I was “a hard stick” and he was a self-proclaimed second rate vein finder. While the timeframe is smaller, I do think I might actually have more anxiety around needles than I do this current seemingly impossible situation of my life.
Oscar had the tourniquet around my arm and was just coming in with the needle when the doctor poked his head around the corner.
“If I’m getting out of here just now, do we actually need to draw this blood?” I said.
He thought about it for a moment before replying with a shrug, “I guess not.” A sigh of relief and a chuckle went through the room.
At the stroke of 10 AM Greg and I rolled out the front door into the sunshine, across the parking lot and into his car for the ride home.
A half-hour after that I was pulling up to my desk to begin the game of catch up, and a half hour later, Greg and I were giving each other a hug goodbye in the last moments of his last shift, and the end of an era of sorts. Having been in the hospital and sick instead of minding business, I had not managed to schedule his replacement for the following morning. Fortunately Cassandra had come to my aid.
Naudia would arrive the following, now yesterday morning to get me up. A stranger to me when she came in the door, she also arrived to do the same today, now a friend.
Thanks to Cassandra’s initiative, insight, and encouragement, I will at least have robust care for the month of March as I manage myself into the next state of affairs, whatever that may be. The crop of folks she has invited to interview have thus far proven a very hopeful bunch, giving me even greater incentive to discover if there might be any way at all to retain their care going forward.
For now, I was unable to move money from the hospital and I’m just hoping I don’t bounce any checks this week. Having been perfect with my bills for decades, this makes me very uncomfortable, but I have far too much on my plate to worry about this, at least during the day…
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…