Saturday, July 21, 2012

48 -What Have I Become?

Mid - November 2011

For a few days now, I have been feeling as though my hospital stay is coming to a close.  I am undergoing much fewer procedures, and tests.  On top of that, all of the staff that is caring for me seem as if they are on autopilot, and going through the motions.  The somber mood of all my visitors is puzzling, too.

All afternoon, my friends, family, and acquaintances have been stopping by my hospital room to wish me well.  I am beginning to think that the coincidental gathering is occurring because I have no tests to undergo, and the doctors, and nurses have run out of reasons to poke me with needles.  Whether the syringes are for dosages of medicine, or drawing blood for testing, I am running out of veins.

I am reaching my breaking point when one of the nurses fills me in, and tells me that there is nothing more they can do, and I will leaving the hospital.  The rest of my afternoon, and evening, I am preparing to go home.  I am finally leaving the hospital, after what seems like six months.  However, I am not returning to my home where I nearly passed away, but heading to my mother's house in Beaufort, South Carolina.

I have absolutely no money left, and no possible way to earn anything.  I am still unable to lift myself into an upright position, and need assistance for the smallest tasks, including lifting my cup, and taking a drink of water.  I am ecstatic to  be leaving the hospital, nonetheless, and I want to call my mother to tell her the news.  Unfortunately, I have not seen my phone since before I fell into the coma, and I do not remember my mother's phone number.

Meanwhile, every nurse, or doctor that enters my room is always a different person.  It is not outside the realm of possibility that I do not remember their faces when they leave for more than a few seconds.  My body is a block of ice, and my blankets are balled up by me feet.  My mind says everything, but I cannot vocalize anything comprehensible.  I need my blankets, I want my phone, I am thirsty, and I am unable to stick two words of English together, much less an entire sentence.

Right on time, a couple of my close friends arrive, and there is a girl with them that I recognize, but I cannot place her name.  I am sure she and I have hung out on several occasions, but I am completely discombobulated.  When she comes closer, I discover she is wearing blonde hair, and I have only known her as a brunette.  Her name is Caroline, and she wants to help me.  

She can tell that I am cold, and she helps me pull my blankets up over my torso.  I am unable to reach them on my own, as I have little of my abdominal strength left.  After situating the covers, I desperately attempt to let on that I want to contact my Mom.  After much back and forth, I manage to tell Caroline enough for her to understand that I would like to borrow her phone.  On the other hand, it is a struggle to point out to Caroline that my mom's cell number is on the dry-erase board behind her.

After we cross that hurdle, I am unsuccessful at attempting to dial mom's number, and refuse to let Caroline dial it for me.  In my mind, I am perfectly fine, and I don't need anyone's help.  No one understands me, so I don't need them.  In spite of that, I relinquish control of the phone, and Caroline connects me with my mother. 

Our conversation confirms I am leaving this evening, to stay under my mother's roof, and in her much needed care.  I feel just like I am a child again, and just about as needy.

I want my Mommy.  

Photo: Into Sunset
By:  Donnie Wayne Todd

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