Like some kind of bizarre flashback, I have a quick moment where I feel like I am sitting in a fat, cozy recliner. There is a large screen TV, but its an old rear projection model. There are aged wooden shelves running along the sides of the set from floor to ceiling. There are some books, and a clock with a pendulum. I can't tell what time it is, and I find the pictures on the television uninteresting.
Young women come and go, as if they are here on a lunch break. Some of them are wearing their scrubs, while others are wearing casual fitness wear, and backpacks wrapped around their shoulders. They point with their cell phones and coffee drinks, as they talk to one another about current school projects and exams.
I feel like the school bell just rang, and we are in between classes as they come and go. I hear them in the hallway, and it sounds as if they are in some sort of dining area. Others are headed out, sucking the last bits of a snack off from their fingertips. With a glance in the mirror, and a flick of their hair, they head out with purpose.
Many of them speak to me like we are old friends when they ask, "How you feeling today"?
"Great. I'm doing much better." I am a terrible liar.
I tell one of them that I am in need of a movement. She agrees when she hands me a flimsy plastic tray. Its shaped like a scooped out butternut squash, and she wants me to put this toy under my ass.
"How am I supposed to do this", I ask?
The nurse thinks she is being practical when she says, "Its pretty self-explanatory. Just put it under you, and do what you've gotta do. Pretty simple."
Hm. "Um, no. That's not simple. I don't have the strength to arch my back like that", I tell her.
"Well, its that, or you can use the commode," she says.
I agree. "Yes. That's exactly what I would like to do."
The nurse goes about her business when I have some friends appear in the doorway.
"Hi guys", I say with apprehension.
"DWT! Hi. What..., is this a bad time?"
"No, no, no. Its just, the nurse is about to help me into the restroom. No big deal."
While, I am saying this, the nurse begins to set up a portable toilet in the middle of my room.
"Would ya'll stand out in the hall for a minute? Mr. Todd has to do his business."
"Whoa, wait a second." I lift my right arm, that could indicate that I am still in The Matrix. Pointing at the door that is no more than ten feet from my bed, I ask with disgust, "Why can't I just go in there? Like a normal person?"
"I'm sorry", she replies. "This is the way you have to do it. One of us has to watch you."
New rule? What the hell? "Ugh. Alright. Damn it." I don't want to do this.
My friends slowly make their way to the doorway. Their last view of me for the moment, is one of helplessness, and embarrassment. The door closes, I pull up my parachute hospital gown, and I sit.
The nurse turns her back, and the room fills with the sound of Archie Bunker's Bronx Cheer. Except, I'm not stifling Edith in Queens, but disgusting even myself in this 'private' hospital room. In the midst of the necessary relief of pressure, there is a quick knock, and simultaneous entrance through the door. Its another nurse.
"Oh, gosh. I'm sorry", she says with honesty.
I sigh, "That's OK."
This is just one more lash of punishment.
The punishment for my crime of reckless self-destruction,
and years of ego-maniacal debauchery.
About These Stories
About These Stories