Let’s see. It’s now three days since my back surgery. After Jim came in and told me that I had a “tear” in the covering of the spinal cord, my ears heard that I would not be going home like two days ago. When my doctor came in and told me the same thing, I simply nodded and nodded off.
I had experienced a “dura tear” and it meant that during surgery, when the doctor handled the piece of stuff that he was cutting out of me, the spinal cord bumped up against a bone spur and oops, fluid shot out. That’s cerebral-spinal fluid, or CSF as it’s affectionately referred to by the neuro-psychos who enjoy that sort of thing. Meanwhile, the hole was plugged up by a special glue, and the protocol required not 24 hours, but 48 hours of complete immobilization. Catheter notwithstanding, I was expected to, yes, do nothing. I, who cannot rest for a second and love to move about and here and there.
So I sprung a leak like a 1968 Volkswagon Beetle. The old days when you used to look under the hood for the problem. The old tangle of tubes and wires which would on occasion cause trouble when a fray or rub would wear a part down. I think that’s where duct tape used to come in handy.
Now, not moving. Courtesy of lots and lots of regular administration of pain-killers. Fast-acting, welcomed, woozy and sleepy all day and all night.
Except for Shirley and her crew. Far into the night, dragging chairs, talking on cell phones, discussing plans and outings with the kids. Houses bought and sold. Remember whens. Uncle Gus is coming up.
Laying flat on my back, all that keeps me going is well, nothing. Wondering how long 48 hours really is. Hoping the next shot hits home. And…it…does.
Shirley is the geriatric, unresponsive, alien in the next bed.
She is the matriarch of a clan consisting of five (count ’em) children, all adults and all in different stages of supportive grief. Yes, they are interesting in that they are not pulling each other out into the hallway to be castigated for some improper topic of conversation around the moribund mater. No, they don’t lecture each other about the evils of playing Brahams’ Lullaby over the hospital loudspeakers each time a new baby enters the maternity ward. Interesting because they are mutually respectful and diffident around their beloved, dying mother.
She reclines slightly elevated, her jaw dropped open, toothless and deaf. Her eyes are mostly closed, and she emits an “aaaaaah” or an “oooooohm” every once in a while, which results in some of her maggots, er I mean, magnates stopping and running to her bedside with cries of “did you hear that?” “she speaks yet!” and I don’t know what other obeisant movement in her direction. Each motion, each moan, means immediate attention and a resumption of her constant flow of attention whether desired or not.
She has rallied her troops. With the exception of Uncle Gus, who arrived late in the night, around 10:30, all are there and anxiously waiting for a turn either for the better or the worse.
Nobody notices me, totally immobilized, under mental and verbal restraint, shot up with a myriad drugs, some which cause mood swings, others which cause hallucinations and unable to comprehend beyond the curtain.
Laney has a fat ass. She looks like a schoolmarm. She appears over my face telling me she is Laney. I wonder why, and hope she Lameys her way back behind the curtain, where she belongs.