By an act of luck I had gone to a Cardiologist, taken a Stress Test and learned there could be, probably was – an arteriolar blockage problem.
Broward General. New problem.
Tear in urethra. Urologist. Pain. Surgery hurdle to be cleared by clotting impacted groin area.
Week passes. Difficulty with catheter. Immense pain.
Successful Quadruple Bypass Open Heart Surgery. Dr. Kenneth Herskowitz, highly regarded surgeon; man of fewer than few words.
Private room. TV remote also calls to nurse. Sometimes answered, sometimes not answered.
Good nurses, not so good nurses.
Too many sick people in hospitals. As they used to say in advertising – a wonderful business except for the clients.
Immensely painful at times; hard to describe.
Wife of 52 years by my side. When she is near she is impossibly helpful. She reaches nurses and aides I never reach. When she leaves the loneliness returns. I am only there by myself.
She is still teaching at 76 – Advanced Placement Art History – many calls to be made, judgments to be offered. She is missed at school. I miss her when she is not here.
Daughter arrives from Seattle. She too is incredibly helpful. She had arrived from business trip to Washington; her last meeting had been at location where Obama appeared at Correspondent’s Dinner.
She is Research Professor at University of Washington; also involved in cancer research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She has written extensively on the subject of care giving.
When she is near with her mother all is well. It is when they are gone that I am alone.
I need help going to bathroom, back to bed, moving comfortably, talking to nurse.
Most often the answer to my call for help is “will tell your nurse.”
I ring for nurse again and again.
So many of the nurses are astonishingly capable and kind. Ditto for helpers.
Others are brusque.
They work in 12 hour shifts.
In Florida there are massive layoffs of public personnel. Hospital workers, teachers, bus drivers.
Major problems; limited useful answers. Our governor, Rick Scott, is not what I would hope for in an activist governor.
There is an outside world.
I watch the news from Libya, Syria, Egypt.
Weather eruptions in our Middle West.
In the beginning, middle and end I am alone in a room in a hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. When loved ones are near I am fine but there are times when they are in their own worlds and I am alone.
e e cummings wrote The Enormous Room, on ambulance drivers placed in isolation during World War I. I try to remember substance and fail.
The president is on TV.
We have killed bin Laden.
SEAL Team Six swoops down on private home near West Point of Pakistan.
He has been living there, hiding in plain sight, for past six years.
A Sherlockian tale.
Problems are solved, bin Laden’s body taken to aircraft carrier and laid to rest at sea.
There is a haunting Navy Hymn of burial at sea but I cannot recall the words or theme.
Bin Laden has killed too many. A true villain.
It is hard not to exult – if only quietly.
Good quiet people of our armed forces have done what nobody has accomplished in the previous administration.
I too am quietly proud of them.
I am home,
Exercises to conquer.
There is a line from Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night.
Nicole learned that Dick Diver was practicing in Geneva in the heart of the Finger Lakes region and considered a pleasant place.
Perhaps, she thought, he was biding his time like Grant in Galena.
As a graduate of the University of Illinois I am familiar with Grant and like to believe there is another chapter for me.
Hopefully I too am biding my time.
Good to be home. Daughter has returned to Seattle and husband.
We, my wife and I, are back together.