That last night in the hospital was uncomfortable but at least I wasn’t woken up so many times. I did wake up to use the bathroom around 17 times so I guess that could count as my walking for the night. Hell for the day. The temperature in the room was a balmy 95 degrees and if it weren’t for a fan being brought to my room by the great Albert Levy I would have walked out of the hospital on my own; butt baring gown and all.
“Hey superman, good morning.” The breakfast was brought in – I think it was kryptonite.
There was a white board with a handwritten sign on it saying something about “Healing fast” in an incorrect grammatical fashion. I am not one to be snobbish about miswritten or misspelled statements – but for some reason this irked me and throughout the night all I could see was that first grade handwriting. Thank God I also had a sign that Carol made for me with all the family signing it. I focused on that, internalized it and remembered just what it was I was fighting for.
That morning as I walked around the floor I felt a cocktail of excitement and fear – garnished with a major yearning to be home with my family again. I was concerned about so many things – especially my finances, my future and a fear of “whats next?” As I circled the corner I saw Jessica walking in with her beautiful smile – I threw away the fear and drank in the excitement.
“I want to go home.” I said to her.
“Today; the kids are very excited.” She said putting her hand on my arm.
“There is only one problem.”
“Only one? That sounds easy.” I said.
“I cant find your sneakers and you dont have any other ones in your closet. I went to the emergency room and they weren’t in the lost and found. So, I brought your shoes to wear with your sweatpants.”
“That’s OK, so I wont be my usual Don Draper self – I will be Oscar Madison.”
“I went all over the place looking for your size – its not easy finding triple E size 10.”
“Well that’s one of the negatives of having big feet – you know what they say about big feet.” I started to say.
“OK – you must be feeling better. Let’s get your stuff together.”
The day went slowly – Jessica ran across town looking for sneakers I could wear. I lay down and fell asleep only to be woken up by a gross lunch of fish and a salad that was made for an ant.
I closed my eyes again and had a dream about strange happenings and occurrences that have never taken place – only in my dream they were part of my memories. In the dream I was waiting on a platform with the sun beating down on me, a train rolled on in silently and I boarded the car in front of me. Inside the car was a library – books, magazines and newspapers from a past that I had lived once, apparently. Posters on the wall of Tom Seaver about to let go of a pitch, legs spread facing home plate.
Raquel Welch in an American flag wrapped around her.
John Lennon glasses were on a table as if he had left them there and “Catcher in the Rye” opened to Chapter 27 and an half-drunk glass of water.
A thick black darkness is behind the window behind me – a furnace flaming in front – is that heaven or hell and where the hell am I? Some people are sitting, oblivious and in their own worlds. Strangers I seem to know within my dream and family members I cannot identify. A poster is on the wall to the left of me – “Depression, it isn’t all in the mind. Get help today.” I still feel the heat from the sun on me although I have been inside this subway car which looks like a bedroom or some sort of time capsule from the 70’s or 80’s? It cant be from that time – in the poster about depression there is a picture of Kurt Cobain…and right next to that Justin Bieber with the words “Never say Never” are leaving his mouth and then vaporizing into a smoke cloud that sits just below the top of this car. I am shaking now and I hear moaning and painful moan and its coming from right behind me.
I jump, it was all a dream I am OK. I am – I hear the man next to me moaning as the Nurse comes in and tells him no pain killers unless he takes the medicine and eats something. I think quick trying to remember where I was a couple of seconds ago – I begin to type on my Android (I Love my Android) and quickly the memories of just a few seconds ago are vanishing. The images will come back to me when I revisit this time some six weeks later or so – hence the words above.
The Nurse from the surgeons office comes in and says, “Alfred are you ready to go home?”
“Freddy is ready – ready Freddy.” I laugh. But this nurse, a Russian lady with a take no shit attitude who obviously feels it is a sin or illegal to smile or laugh. The nurse who came in with her smiles though and that is a bit comforting.
As she checks my blood pressure, scars, bandages, etc. I ask her if its ok if I take a nap during the day if I am tired.
“Why do you need to nap? Are you a baby? You are a grown man.” She says in her Stalinesque manner. Me feeling ignorant and scared shitless that I will not do enough or do too much once I get home believe her and I get scared. She explains the care of my scars to me and what I should use to clean, etc.
“OK you can go home once the pharmacists comes in and explains the medicines to you.”
They walk out and then the nurse that smiled came back and tells me. “Its ok if you nap – you need to heal. Just make sure you walk a little more each day. Its normal to need to rest just don’t stay laying down all day.” She smiled and walked out. I felt much better.
Jessica came in with my clothes and we waited for the Pharmacist. When he came in with what seemed like a truckload of drugs Jessica paid attention since I was still in a daze. My brother Marcos had told me that the Anesthesia would warp my dreams and my thinking and boy was he right. If my ADD was bad before it was worse now. I gave up thinking a couple of days ago, as I have said countless times and I was blessed to have a smart wife by my side the whole time. Otherwise I would have definitely taken the wrong meds and ended up even more dazed and confused.
It was time to go home – as I sat in the wheelchair and was brought downstairs I would love to say that I felt great and excited to go home – I did – but I felt overwhelmed and kind of scared into depression. What the hell just happened? Its Tuesday, four days ago my chest was opened up and whatever – and now I am going home? I was pushed to the door and stood up and walked towards Jessica and the car. It was cold and rainy out, there were cars honking, people running with umbrellas, a yellow school bus across the street and overall what seemed like chaos but was just another afternoon for everyone else. For me I felt like a newborn child leaving the hospital and going home.