NEWS – You Never Can Tell

I wrote this post, or, at least, began writing this post, about a week ago.  As I feared, my ordeal was not over and, in fact, would become substantially worse. I wish I could lay it out in detail but I can only remember drips and drabs – vomiting congealed blood like pieces of liver stands out. Apparently, somewhere along the line, I was transferred to NYU Hospital where the ulceration was found and clipped. We think. I’m being scoped again in the morning and that should confirm the success. Or not. As I reread what I had written, I’m struck by the triviality of what I cared about so maybe that’s the payoff here – Maybe you need to be smacked real hard to get to the next level where jello and duvets and chicken soup don’t mean as much as just staying alive. I really want to stay alive. I love being alive. I’ll try to make sense of it in the next few days but here’s a little missive from what now feels like a very naive moment.img_0015 This weekend was my first at home after two weeks in the hospital and I feel like crying with gratitude for having had it and I feel very afraid about needing to go back since, after 14 days, the blood leak that caused my anemia wasn’t found, never mind treated. The only thing I came home with that I didn’t have when I left was a surgical wound on my belly. It’s grotesque. I’m also afraid of the anemia returning. The last time I had it, the incident that provoked the hospital visit, I didn’t have the strength necessary to get off the bed. I went to the emergency clinic by ambulance. The worse things about being in the hospital are the loss of autonomy, the pain of the many, many needles you must endure, nurses and doctors are free to come and go at any moment and the ugliness of your surroundings. When I arrived home, the bed was covered by a duvet we had just bought, kind of a deep Mandarin red with gold paisley, and it looked so comforting and inviting and big, big enough to lie down next to my wife, which reminds me of something of another effect of the hospital – the loneliness, because even if you are, like me, lucky enough to have your best friends and closest relatives visiting you at all hours, they’re leaving and you cannot leave with them and just that fact reminds you of your isolation. All you seem to talk about is your illness, which is really all you’re thinking about because, what else is there, and that makes the visit bittersweet. So does the knowledge that they’re there for you, to help take care of you and you hate to do that to them. Or you’re thinking about food, where will the next meal come from or even whether you’ll be allowed a next meal, since, for the bulk of my time there I was limited to clear liquids. I would eat the hospital’s jello and Jolean would go down to The Pastrami Queen and bring back quarts of chicken soup. Missing your wife at night and knowing that, when she arrives, you will have a list of foraging for her (which she will cheerfully take care of) as opposed to home, where you can hold her and love her and for a while forget that you’re the one being taken care of. All your stuff is home and the anchoring quality of being among your stuff is not to be undervalued. There’s my guitar. There is a pile of books. There is the footboard of the big brass bed.

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