Keeping with last week’s theme, Lewis knew a thing a two about hospital visits. I found his writings to be very sad toward the end, when he was so sick. No happy Lewis Wednesday today.
HOME AT LAST
It isn’t easy getting out of a hospital, even after a doctor says you can go.
I had been at Emory for two weeks. There are veteran lab rats that haven’t undergone the testing I did. Name an orifice and somebody put a tube in it.
The worst was what they call a TEE. You swallow a garden hose.
I was bleeding into my liver. A doctor ran a catheter up an artery from my groin and stopped the bleeding. Otherwise they told me later the repairs would have had to have been done surgically and what with my blood so thin, well. . . .
The doctor said, “Go home and eat.”
The blood loss and hospital stay have taken me down to what I haven’t weighed since I started shaving.
They wouldn’t just let me walk out of the hospital. I think they were afraid I would fall down or the wind from a door shutting might blow me down.
So, before I could go, they had to call Transportation for a wheelchair to get me to the parking lot where somebody waited to drive me home.
I packed and waited for Transportation on the side of the bed. How many hours had I stared at that print entitled “Impressions of America” on the wall?
The tray from lunch was still there. So was the food on it. They bring the meals and when you take the cover off the entree, water from the collected steam inside drips into the entree, spoiling whatever appetite you might have had.
Twenty-four hours times 14, I’d been in that room. The last minutes passed like kidney stones.
Even after Transportation had seated me in the rolling chair, I still had to pass the nurses stand.
That was fine. I had wanted to say goodbye. I hadn’t always been pleasant or cooperative, but I guess they’re used to that.
I said goodbye and thanks.
A nurse gave me a form to sign.
To the elevator and down. And out to the parking lot and, finally, into the car and toward home.
It was the first time I had been anywhere except inside a hospital in 1994.
I missed the dog greeting me at the front door. He’s been dead nearly two months now. The papers had piled up on the front porch. There was lots of mail.
“You get home and you’ll feel a lot better,” people told me.
It’s better than the hospital. Nobody takes my vital signs every three hours. Anybody who comes at me for blood in my house will be met by a steak knife from my kitchen drawer.
They didn’t have cable at the hospital. I’ve got over 50 channels at home. I can watch Purdue play basketball against the University of Connecticut – or was it Seton Hall? – in the privacy of my own den now.
Dedra cooked a pot roast. A man sent chicken and dumplings and turnip greens. I sent out for chili dogs. My friend Spike came by one morning and made breakfast. Spike can fry eggs to my liking like nobody since my mother. And I try to eat. I really try to eat.
The medicine is still there. Big pills. Little pills. You take one of these a day. Two of these a day. Then, there’s that green iron pill I take three times a day that’s supposed to replace the blood I lost.
I hate taking pills.
My bed is the best part of being home. There is actually room to turn over in it.
I don’t want to go back to a hospital. Ever. Since March 22, I’ve spent three months in a hospital. That’s enough. Isn’t that enough?
One doctor says two or three weeks to get back. Another says six to eight.
I just want to live my normal life again.
I’m home. I guess that’s a start.