These are a couple of different attempts at continuing the story that I was telling. They were written sometime in the last year and a half. Meanwhile, I am attempting to figure out how to get my mind back there. However, so much time has passed that it is difficult to put myself back into a first person present perspective. I am so far removed from those events. I have ceased to think about a lot of these moments in order to heal mentally and emotionally.
These next segments are simply some more of the moments that occurred during that first week in Beaufort.
The first week I lived at my mother’s house…
Late November 2011
“Donnie, put some clothes on.”
My mother has me by my left elbow and her right hand is on the small of my back. She is escorting out center of her living room. I think of the many times I had rowdy revelers in this same grip at the bar I used to work.
“Everyone has already seen me naked” I say. “I don’t care anymore.”
“We do,” my normally chipper mom fires back at me. My damaged mind is momentarily caught off guard by her snippiness when a miniscule yet important thought trickles in. It dawns on me that I haven’t a clue how long I have been standing here.
I am squinting and I think of the sudden florescent light bulb awakenings that were all too familiar after audio visual days in high school classrooms. Since the night I fell in the bedroom closet, I have been resting my sickly body on the couch. I am swaying with my back to the television wondering if I was arriving or departing the sofa that is about 3 pesky inches too short for me to stretch out on.
As we saunter through the hallway, I suddenly feel the grip of nervous energy racing up the circumference of my torso. The fight of flight sensation quickly squeezes into my skull. White starbursts fill my vision and I hear the crackling shower of sparks that only exist from my point of view. I ride another wave of delirium and remind myself I will be healthy if I maintain and keep my head right. I rest my head on the molding of the bathroom doorframe and think of all the other times I have posed this way after one too many.
When am I going to start getting better?
I think the swelling of my abdomen is becoming an issue again. My thirst is as unquenchable as it was when I was in the hospital in Charleston. I used to have nurses that would refuse to give me water no matter how much I begged for it. I was allotted 1000 ml every 8 hours. At least that is the amount I remember. My mother is sure that I am wrong about that figure, but she is persuaded much more easily by her son. Nurture wins.
Trouble is I am trying to keep track of my intake on my own and my stubbornness may be to blame for the return of my enormous belly. The pain is becoming so unbearable that it’s difficult to breath. Why, why, why did I do this to myself?
I am perched on the edge of the loveseat with my hands pressed down at my side which is still the only way I can hold myself in a prone position. Breathing is even more difficult now and my anxiety is rising. So goes the cycle. Am I being paranoid or am I in danger?
Finally I pipe up, “Mom, I can’t breathe….”
This startles her. “What? What do you mean you can’t breathe? What’s wrong?” she asks hurriedly.
“Something is wrong”, I exhale. “Something’s not right.”
“What do you want to do? Do you want to call the nurse?” Mom’s questions come quickly with panic. “She said to call her if we need to. Its only 9:30. Should we call her? I’m gonna call her.”
While mom is talking to the nurse, the seriousness and frightening reality of my condition settles in. It is the thought that I have managed to keep at bay for the most part. I might be dying.
A cacophony of emotion takes over. The guilt, the sadness, and the inevitable regret all rush in. This cannot be it. I am only 38.
“She said to take you to the emergency room”, mom says while absently attempting to end her cell phone call. “Do you want to do that?”
“Definitely”, I gasp. “I need…my things… ”
“Do you think you are going to have to stay the night?”
I don't have to answer because she is already collecting my things. “I have your toothbrush…and some underwear…,” pausing the itemizing until gathers something else, “some socks…”
In the back seat of Mom’s Audi sedan, I am propped up on my left elbow and staring blankly between the seats. The ride is dark except for the neon red lights shining from every direction from the vehicle’s instruments. The LEDs on the steering wheel seem as if they are floating in front of the dash, taunting the spotlights emanating from the speed and tachometers. On the GPS screen is a short message in red dot matrix but I can only read the first word.
The word snaps me from my open mouthed gaze and reminds me I am on my way to the Emergency Room. And, I can’t breathe. It is possible that my swollen belly is what has been holding me upright. The rumble of the pavement is vibrating through my torso. No matter how small I can feel every blemish, rut, or rock squeeze under the tires. The pain from those small bumps is overwhelming and I wince, cinching my eyes tightly closed.
A hand wearing a latex glove is holding my right eye open and shining a pen light. A woman’s voice is close and asking “Can you hear me? Hello. Donnie.”
“Yes, yes”, I huff while reaching for the arm attached to the pen light. Swinging and missing. Right on cue, the ER staff begins asking the silly questions. What year is it? Who is President? I am thinking about how I gave the wrong answers to those very questions just a month prior as my current line of questions stops abruptly.
“Sir”, a nurse says while touching my shoulder, “Do you know where you are?”
“No, I don’t”, I tell them sincerely.
“He is worse than I thought”, a nurse makes known. “You’re in a hospital, sir.”
“Yeah, I know”, I grumble. “But I don’t know where that is.”
“You are in Beaufort Memorial Hospital”, the nurse informs me. “Now, tell us where you are.”
“Huh?” I am still confused. “I am not from Beaufort.”
I exhale and lean against yet another hospital bed. I can’t wrap my head around this. My recovery has taken a step backward. No, no. I can’t get down. I have to keep positive and stay focused or I am doomed to fulfill all the prophecies of my impending and unavoidable death.
It has been 30 days since I have had a drink.
I am not counting down my days.
I am tacking on new ones.
A second chance.
A do over.