Posted November 19, 2014on:
I thought I’d use the previous post to give you a break from the gloopy pornography of my hospital stay, where my CT Scan from the other week is being passed around the surgical fraternity like a link to the John Merrick Flickr account. In all honesty, though, coma, intubation and paralysis do tend to promote solipsism. For all the moments of high drama, the propensity for massive danger or hope to arrive in a second; for all the emotional churn, the life resolutions, the love that’s been communicated not least via comments on this blog (for which my thanks are expressed briefly and generally but meant personally and fully); for all the scarification, hallucination and weird science, these two weeks have been overwhelmingly about waiting.
Now I’m on the recovery ward – the last bed before a potential temporary discharge until I’m pre-opped again to fix the thing they reckon I’ve spent my life adapting to so well it both delayed and guaranteed the implosion a fortnight ago – the blur of momentary sleep and wakeful dreaming is no longer a factor. Nevertheless, each day continues to be a glacial pursuit of banal triumphs.
The poetry is in the banal. Sometimes I feel like Primo Levi; sometimes it’s more like being on a long-haul flight. I spend days fixating on how to get this tube removed or downgraded – when it happens, there’s a moment of relief then I start to be irritated by another attachment I’d accepted previously. I crave taste and flavour when I’m nil by mouth then a week of banal hospital cake helps food lose its emotional heft.
It’s because the pace of life is necessarily slow, the distance between a positive decision and the
liberating action stretches like pizza dough and when holes start to appear, it can be easy to fall through them. Endurance and tolerance, Solomon Northrup rather than Grundy, are absolutely necessary but there’s a risk of atrophy in that too.
And then something happens.
This afternoon, Sally removed my remaining drains. I can now walk without having to negotiate the help of a nurse to disentangle my tubes and carry my bottles. All I’m connected to, for the time being, is oxygen. The bureaucracy of this situation just lost a layer of paperwork.