But in terms of mental outlook, this particular Monday morning looked brighter and happier than any Monday.
I woke hungry, for the first time in days. They got the bad guy, and I was healing.
Hey, we have menus at the hospital now? Wow. Used to be, "Here is your meal." Which generally sucked.
One of my many nurses at Memorial Hospital, Marcus, an amiable large 30-ish black man, tells me that about six months ago a new doctor took over the kitchen at the hospital. Says "this new doctor sees all these fried foods all over the menu and says 'Nuh-uh!' He totally reworked the menu towards healthy foods." Good man. Lucky for me.
It's a little unsettling to me that it took this huge hospital that long to make its food items healthier, but, hey, better late than never. More power to 'em.
As soon as the kitchen opened at 6:30am, I ordered an omelette with "regular" eggs with onions, ham, mushrooms and cheese; a side of bacon, a blueberry muffin with butter, a seasonal fruit cup and coffee. When it arrived, it was all delicious and I inhaled it. Ok, the red grapes were just a little too over-ripe and soft.
"Here is your pitcher. You must pee in the pitcher and we will inspect and measure it." Brilliant. You got it. I poop in the toilet, but I have to tell them about it.
They let me choose between types of pain meds: liquid (dilaudid) or oral (tramadol). I thought that was a rather odd choice but didn't say so. I chose the liquid twice until one nurse told me that getting out of the hospital today would be contingent upon me being off of the liquid meds. But of course. Thanks for reminding me! So I switched to the oral.
Oh hey, check out the TV, we've got a fucking tropical depression forming in the Gulf! Typical fucking Monday!
Hoping I could get discharged from the hospital today and not be caught in worse weather Tuesday - when it was really supposed to hit us - the wife caught a cab back to the River Oaks clinic and picked up our car. We'd left it there overnight because the clinic staff said it was cool. She had ridden over to the hospital with me in the ambulance.
(At the time, she said, "Oh, I can ride in the front? Good, because if I ride in the back, I'll get carsick and throw up on him." True. She would have. I could not believe how close behind the ambulance other cars would drive. What is wrong with people behind the wheel?)
She went back to the apartment, showered and picked up a few things in case I didn't get to go home today.
The nurses were in and out; in and out; doing an outstanding job of checking on me, checking my blood levels and administering medications as needed. I was surprised that the hospital produced the medications that I normally take (but did not bring with me - like a fool) so that I could take my normal doses at the regular intervals. Makes sense, really. After all, they have a full pharmacy on-site.
Sure enough, the doctor dropped in to see me just when I was in the bathroom filling up the pitcher. He said he'd come right back but naturally we learn later he got called into emergency surgery. He did make it by about 2pm before I was released. Really young guy. Said the operation went great, but the nurses had already told me that. By that time I was feeling good enough to be cut free, hours after the last dilaudid injection.
My surgeon told me he would have no hesitation in keeping me in the hospital for a second night under the care of the nurses if I felt like I wanted to stay for a second night. I liked that.
They had cut me in four places: one to insert a camera; one to insert air to pump up the abdomen so the camera can see what the hell is going on in there, and to remove as much of it as possible afterward; and two more cuts for the tools to do the work. I understood if they found a disaster in there, they might need to slice me open with a larger, uglier incision.
The cuts are all covered by that odd skin-like substance that will eventually fall off of me. No stitches to remove. That's so old school I guess.
By 4pm my coach awaited to take me downstairs to the valet area to get our car and go home. It was more like one of those massive Wal-Mart carts, with extra room for luggage. Brilliant.
Downstairs the rain was really falling. In buckets. In sheets.
I sat in the wheelchair waiting for our car to be brought around and watched several other patients being wheeled out to cars:
A younger lady carefully climbing into their SUV, presumably her husband helping;
An older man, hunching, climbing into a sad cab, alone;
An older woman wearing a boot and on crutches into another SUV;
A really old man climbing into a sedan and just freezing in place, halfway in. Took him a few more minutes to get into the car, with the help of a couple of attendants.
I'm fortunate to be still young enough to get around, and to have my wife here to help and be with me. We have it very good.
Things are going to be okay.
Our car finally arrived and I was carefully inserted into it. My wife slowly drove home, dodging potholes, sheets of rain, water filling up the gutters and crossings along the way. At this rate of rainfall, there would be a flood here in no time. And there of course had to be one asshole who had to speed around us in the right lane and threw a waterfall of water onto our windshield because we're going too slow in the storm! Naturally, we ended up ahead of him.
Once home, as bad as the pain was, it was a lot better than Saturday or Sunday before I checked into the hospital. And for some reason, my mood was light-years better than it had been last week.
The wife made a simple dinner and I started to feel like a human again. A human that just had their gut brutalized, but a human nonetheless.
I decided I'd sleep the first night in my favorite chair instead of trying to lay out in the bed. It can be much easier to get up from a chair than from a prone position in bed. It's pretty damn comfortable in there. And there's something extra comforting about just BEING home.
And VERY glad to be home before the worst of the weather hits on Tuesday. And with the wife to stay home with me on Tuesday, things are definitely looking up.
Hey, please, no laughing! Do NOT make me laugh!! Jeb '16? Where's the "Bush"? Oh, ha ha! Owwww!!!