Like the proverbial cat with nine lives, I still continue on in my soap-opera life. I have been hospitalized for (and this is not a complete list) a broken neck, brain tumor, ruptured intestine, paralysis, heart attack, and sepsis. And what soap opera would be complete without a character suffering amnesia?* I had that, too; the number of lives I have run through would far transcend the nine said to be allocated to a cat.
Fortunate for me that I love hospitals! What is there not to love? You get to stay in bed and you can read all day. The bed does not have to be shared with other people/animals. Food (and it’s great compared to my cooking) is served to you, three times a day. People clean the floor around you, imagine that: kind of like a kharmic reward for all the times you’ve vacuumed, and kids and husband would just pick their feet up to accommodate you. Everything you do is greeted with a “Great!” or “Perfect!” or “Look at you, going to the bathroom by yourself!” It is like being a toddler again, but with infinite knowledge and experience, like going back to high school when you are your adult self – the stuff movies and tv shows are made of.
Speaking of fantasy, I had the privilege of acquiring a surgeon whom I nicknamed “Dr. Love.” He looked like a t.v. doctor, I told the nurses. If I had to die, and his countenance was the last face I looked upon, I could leave this world a happy person, and if his was the last voice I heard, I would have basked in hearing his delicious accent once more as I faded away. When I graduated from his hospital rounds to office visits, my paradise continued, until the day that I was told I didn’t have to come back any more unless I experienced problems. I envisioned eating shards of glass to create another emergency in which I would need his caring, undivided attention, but no. When I absolutely needed another Dr. Love fix, I would look him up on the Internet and sigh.
Okay, it’s true, there are some uncomfortable, some downright painful, aspects of hospital life for patients, but those are accompanied by blessed opioids. All you have to do is press a button and they appear. After these are taken, you can sleep. For as long as you want. Well, until you are awakened by someone sticking a needle in you or rustling around with your IV pole. And while we’re on the subject of IV poles, I once thought that the pole was speaking to me in the middle of the night. It was near Halloween, and the “voice” emanating from the pole was saying things like “black,” “cat,” “track,” and “big hat.” When the nurse came in, I asked her if she heard anything. She did not, and I volunteered nothing. I knew then that it must have been the drugs talking. Things could have gotten serious, though. There was a Dairy Queen right around the corner from the hospital; I could have wheeled my friend over there, ordered, and fully expected him to pick up the tab.
My latest experience involved a doctor who said the dreaded words, “Uh oh,” at the exact time that he was trying to direct a foot-long hollow piece of rebar into my side. I questioned him and he stated that he was just responding to something he heard on the intercom. When we laughed about it later, he confided that there had been a real uh-oh moment a few minutes after that and he had been glad that I hadn’t looked down at myself.
Hospital time means that there is no gender equality. Women can expect atrocities and outrages such as taking turns with the dual anatomy of the upper torso as it is shoved into a machine that is much like a manual hamburger patty maker. All is crammed in there, like a stubborn horse into a trailer, and the door is slammed shut. Very few parts of the female anatomy were designed for this, and the previously D-cup flesh is now transformed into a flat hamburger patty. Upon removal from the machine, the D-cup miraculously springs back into its shape, like in a cartoon. If men were to be forced to undergo such a proceeding with their anatomy (they could call it a manogram!!!), I guarantee you that procedures would change.
Now I am about to embark on another adventure – a new melodrama is about to begin. I had a year of reruns so I was sort of expecting a new season and I was not disappointed. The stage is set for the return of the ubiquitous needles, x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans and MRIs, talking IV poles, and perhaps, if I am very lucky, the reappearance of last season’s surprise guest star, Dr. Love! Uh oh, indeed!
* Please see blog entry - "My Life as a Dog"