April 28, 2002|
Sweet Baby Rain
When it rains in New York City, it’s just ugly. There’s just something depressing about seeing the beautiful skyline draped in a curtain of gray. It’s just dreary. And the rain. Rain is never any fun in New York City. Walking in the rain is always so dreadful. So it was on Thursday, for most people. Heck, for all people, except for me. It was the sweetest rain I have ever tasted. That may have been because of the acid in the rain, but I think it had more to do with my first experience with the outside world in 27 days. I didn’t have an umbrella or rain jacket. I simply walked the five blocks back home getting completely soaked. It was the best. I would have stayed outside the entire day drinking in the rain drops and breathing in the intoxicating air but I know I would have gotten yelled at by the 1,478 mothers in the reading audience. “You’ll catch a cold!” Instead I went to the grocery store, picked up some baby carrots, ranch dressing and lobster bisque and went home to cook lunch. The freedom to have ranch dressing and lobster bisque, I would never take it for granted again.
“The Eagle has Landed”
(Warning: This is a little gross. It’s funny though…) According to the hospital’s computer, I technically still had C-Diff, a bacteria of the G.I. tract. The almighty computer was completely wrong. I had gotten over C-Diff back in February when I was released the first time. In order to clear my good name, I had to provide a stool sample for the laboratory. I approached such very unenthusiastically. Nurse Lauren, though, was emphatic that she needed it. So I devised a code. I wasn’t going to announce to the whole nursing staff over the intercom that I had a stool sample ready for them. Instead I would report in with “the eagle has landed.” Confusion would reign with the staff, but Lauren would understand the code and get the business over with.
Somehow, I guess nurses talk a lot, other nurses heard about my little code and thought it amusing. The climax of such occurred on my last morning in the hospital. A few of the nurses had attended a nursing conference down in Washington DC the previous weekend. I was told a surprise awaited me from the conference. Slightly still asleep, I woke up Wednesday morning to a 12-inch stuffed animal eagle on my desk. As I looked it over, I saw it was wearing a tiny bandana around its neck with the words “Senokot. Works Gentle Over Night.” I chuckled. Sekokot is Sloan Kettering’s laxative of choice. As a promotion, Senokot was giving away the stuffed eagle and the nurses immediately thought of the code. I guess I didn’t pioneer the code after all.
I am sorry I was such a terrible communicator over the past few weeks. My e-mail box is full of unanswered messages. My voicemail account the same. I have been quite a slacker when it has come to doing updates. I apologize. I was pretty miserable in those 27 days. The first go round I had a ball. It was, to an extent, fun. There was a novelty to it all. I knew I couldn’t leave so I made the best of the situation. This past time just sucked, to be perfectly honest. I felt healthy. I wasn’t tethered to any IV pole. At any point, I knew I could leave and no one would know the difference. But I couldn’t. I was trapped, simply put. Consequently I wasn’t very happy or joyful. The novelty of it all had worn off. I was tired of seeing everyone in yellow gowns and masks, not being able to see a live smile. The 4AM wake-up calls to take my temperature were taking their toll. The blandness of the food was making me bland. And the uncertainty of my release date loomed like a dreary cloud over my head. There wasn’t much hope in the situation. There wasn’t much hope in me, honestly.
So for four days I have been trying to come up with something good to write in response to that. Something philosophical. Something inspirational. Something hopeful. Nothing. I’m drawing blanks. Nothing would piece itself together here. That’s OK though. Sometimes there are periods of life where it’s just plain…blah. The lesson, the growth, the nugget is found much later upon retrospect. For now, though, I will relish my time out of the hospital enjoying the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the wind and the sweet taste of the rain. All of which I shall never again take for granted. And don’t forget the baby carrots and ranch.