Sitting by the fire reading my W. B. Yeats and considering intimations of mortality I silently closed my iPad and thought back to life as I experienced it just last week: three lazy days of laying in bed with frequent excursions to practice my projectile diarrhea. Ah, the vicissitudes of old age where mere gastric distress can be the harbinger of the abyss of dehydration, rapidly dropping blood pressure, and a midnight ride to the local hospital emergency room.
Four days of laying on your back in a modern hospital bed stuffed with weasels doing calisthenics, needles and tubes and beeping electronics, not to mention banks of nurses full of apologies when they jam a dull needle in each arm (several times).
The first night I spent having my back broken on what the hospital calls a gurney. Later that morning they moved me to the ICU and the weasel-bed: it was better but nowhere near as good as the Queen sized Tempur-Pedic in the bedroom of my little house (I missed it so much). The second night I had lots of company, my daughter having driven up from Florida to yell at me, and we all watched two old movies on TBS before turning out the lights and allow me to unsuccessfully try to sleep.
The third night I tried to read but my eyes were still sensitive so I watched television. Although I flipped through fifty channels several times, I finally settled on the Travel Channel to watch several personalities suggest to me that everything they ate was the best they ever had. This might have been true in some cases (would I know how good a big, fat, succulent grub could taste?) it did remind me of Bud Wilkinson once the Oklahoma football coach and later a regular broadcaster of college football on Saturday: a typical play description for Wilkinson would suggest that it would go “All-the-Way” even though ten opposing players tackled the runner at the line of scrimmage.
Bud Wilkinson spoiled football for me: I may have been only a boy but even then I had a short tolerance for fools.
The last night I started reading The French Lieutenant’s Woman on my iPad. For those that have not read this novel, it’s pretty good but almost as boring as the times it represents; however, compared to sitting uncomfortably in a hospital bed with your ankles swelling, it was a real page-turner.
They wanted to send me for another 14 days of rehabilitation for the solitary reason that I was old and a tad shaky on my feet. I could just see me at rehab with people exercising new hips or knees or overcoming the effects of a stroke. When asked I would have to admit that I was in rehab for diarrhea. Reminds me of something Arlo Guthrie sang about …