As I Lay Dying

July 7, 2015

Patient_room_with_hospital_bedWell, I wasn’t quite dying. It could’ve gone either way. Lucky for me, I recovered (am still recovering) from my Strep A infection/cellulitis, following a mosquito bite late last May. Taking the advice of a friend battling cancer, I compartmentalized, focusing on the next immediate step, whether it be lab results, bringing my temperature down below 100, or lowering that white blood cell count. Don’t think about anything deeper or longer term—don’t speculate. How did I end up here? If only I hadn’t been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Will I ever see the inside of my house again, because we’re approaching a week in the hospital? What will happen to my kids?

Once I turned the corner, I could reflect more deeply on such things. But speculating at a time of uncertainty—I just didn’t find it helpful.

So I’ve shared my experience, at least partially, over at weeklystandard.com. I could’ve written more about the dining experience—for the first few days, my only friend was Jell-O and a fruit cup. Having a bowl of Rice Krispies was a big step. Then came a tuna sandwich (strangely with a most delicious slice of tomato). And finally the hospital cheeseburger in all its melty goodness.

And then I was checked out. I sat alone, no longer attached to an IV or telemetry set, able to walk to the bathroom without the fear of accidentally having my IV tube yanked off (this happened, blood spurted everywhere, and it took the nurses seven tries to get the IV back in my vein). But my room service lunch was late. I could’ve left, or finished half the meal. But damn it, I’m paying for all this, so I might as well enjoy it. And I did.

Photo courtesy of the National Cancer Institute/Diane A. Reid

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