How I craved a hot shower or bath… These bed baths have been taking their toll. Not on the body but rather on the mind. I lie there, exposed, naked… Waiting for two nurses to complete the ritual. They always chat nonchalantly, trying to usher me into the conversation with questions about my tattoos or baby boy. Whom I have not seen yet, mind you. I am not ready. I would want to cradle him in my arms but was not strong enough to even lift a tea-cup. They stroked and poked my skin markings, asking what they mean. Anger and contempt festered in my core. I would never grant a stranger touch access to my ink let alone engage in a discussion regarding their meaning. I mumbled some hogwash about a mantra and hoped that the terminology would shut them up. It did. Who was I to shout privacy when I was being bathed by these women? This too needed to change.
I heard a few notes of a mesmerizing tune and in walked my doctor. Her ringtone. It was Paint It Black by the Rolling Stones. I remembered now and my heart leaped with excitement. Music. How I’ve missed to subtle escape of enchanting lyrics and whimsical instruments. I longed to relay my discovery to her but was more interested in what she had to say. Her dusty, blonde hair trailed the left side of her face covering beautiful blue eyes. Trusting eyes. I trusted her. From what I had gathered via nurse encounters, this woman saved my life. When surgeons, gynecologists and specialists could not figure out what was wrong with me, she stepped in and put their studies to shame. She commanded an aura of respect in the ward and I was eternally grateful for having her mend my battered body. Smiles did not easily escape her pursed lips but that did not stop me from flashing her the largest smile I could conjure. She was the barer of good news. I would be moved to a private room in the general ward today. Private room so that I could spend time with my now two month old son. Two months. He has not bonded with his mom and this worried her. She told me how he had stayed in the baby ward for a month because his dad and my moms were too broken to care for the little thing. I had broken them. My son was passed around from nurse to nurse. No sense of comfort nor stability. Daddy and grans would visit him often but therapists denied them taking him home, uncertain of their mental states. I had driven the people I love to the brink of madness. Mortality. A gifted curse. After a month had passed and I was showing signs of improvement in my comatose state, my husband’s disposition had changed. He was chipper and hopeful. He was allowed to take home our son. He had refused any help from the grans or nurses and did a wonderful job of tending to our wee creation all on his own-some. I was proud of this man. He was strong, courageous and mine. Soon, we would be arguing over who makes the 3am bottle for our wailing baby boy. My doctor left and the nurses scrambled to prep me for my move.
This whole time I had a central line inserted into my chest, near the left shoulder. I had no idea. All of my other drips were removed and I was left with the shoulder needle, a drain attached to the left of my tummy and a urinal catheter. I felt lighter and almost human despite these augmentations still being attached to my body. I was almost machine free. My file was enormous, I found, as they placed it on my lap. I tried to page through it but my fingers would still not comply to my will. All of my belongings were placed on the bed, mostly cosmetics. I was to be wheeled in my bed to my secondary location and my heart raced with new possibility. As I waited for the nurses to take me on my new adventure I grew green with envy at an old man in his walker sliding towards the loo. He was barely alive yet able to visit the ablutions sans assistance. I was peeing in a bag and bed ridden. Focus. Clarity. Do not fall into the pit of despair and self loathing. The nurses arrived and I flashed a childish smile of unadulterated joy.
As they wheeled my bed through the various corridors and elevators, I caught whispers of uniformed folk confirming my being alive. Some told me they were glad to see me awake. Others said that I have a beautiful baby boy. A few hugged me with glassy eyes and said you made it… We arrived at my room and I liked it. There was a huge, soft, brown leather couch, a sink, a bathroom complete with shower, tub and loo but the pièce de résistance was the massive window draped with floral curtains. My only portal to the outside world. They wheeled my bed into position in the corner of the room and went about briefing the nurses on my medication and condition. I had bags and bags of medication. My mom entered my new location and I puked from sheer happiness. Ha! A new nurse came in with a cheery disposition and said that she would clean me up and wash my hair. My hair hadn’t been washed in weeks, it seems. The nurse undressed me and for the first time in possibly decades, my mom saw me naked. She cried and cried at the sight of my bruised and broken body. I was sickly thin with bandages covering my many wounds from surgery. I smiled at her and told her that it’s nothing some good doses of curry and makeup can’t fix. She came over to hug me and I raised both of my arms in unison to embrace her. My new nurse was on my brown couch, curled up into a ball, crying her enchanting green eyes out. Time stood still for a moment and we all laughed, engulfed with conflicting emotions of glee and tragedy.
I feel it prudent to change the title of these musings henceforth. Nothing particular comes to mind as yet, but the focus on my pain has now changed with the moving to the general ward. New things. New life. Same broken body.