Not Again!

Unfortunately I have spent the better part of this last week in the hospital. I think the emergency was fear that my water retention and circulation problems signaled a heart problem that needed to be addressed. It was probably a good thing to peek and poke around my body, discovering all sorts of disappointments. However, despite all the medical jargon, I’m just steadily declining due to onset old age.

So I’m still in my mid-70s, have to watch my diet, depend on oxygen, use a Bi-Pap at night, take an impressive number of pills, monitor my carb intake and test my sugar regularly, wear orthopedic shoes, require high-magnification glasses to read, constantly wipe tears from drooping eyes, cut my own hair, listen to Old Time Radio, subscribe to several progressive outlets, noodle on the ukulele, care for my equally aging dog Ricky, play Apple Arcade with the grand-kids, and read a book or two.

A few observations about my stay. First, the hospital staff is super nice but I did notice that I was referred to as “Sweety” or “Darlin'” regularly. Note that this seemed natural and friendly so I apologize to all those militants who would expect me to sue the hospital for being nice to me. Second, even with free TV in the room I didn’t watch it. Third, unlike hospital visits years ago, I was not restricted in using my cell phone. Fourth, having my iPhone allowed me to listen to my stories, read a book or two, and communicate with the world over the internet (thank you hospital WIFI). Finally, when you’re laying in bed being poked and tested constantly, you tend to retreat mentally: no TV, less reading, more sleep, marking time by meal delivery, keeping the lights low.

When I went into the hospital I was reading The Betrothed and The Line of Beauty but laying in bed I just couldn’t process the seriousness of such texts. Luckily my iPhone contained a wealth of reading so I selected something more fun and less demanding. Of course I fell back to an old favorite, in this case Jesse Stone in Robert B. Parker’s Blind Spot written by Reed Farrel Coleman.

I’m back home now. Little has changed other than considering myself a tad more frail. I finished the Hollinghurst and am back to enjoying the Manzoni. Ricky is happy; the grandkids are playing computer games sitting on my knee; my mini-fridge is defrosted; my insurance is buying me a new Bi-Pap, sleep comes easy and dreams are vivid.

Oh, I forgot. On the way to the Doctor and subsequent hospital my daughter treated me to lunch at a favorite local restaurant (fried oysters on cheesy grits). The food was great but the event was the memorial: the first time I was out in public since the pandemic. We did eat outside but having been fully vaccinated and being in Florida, masks did not interfere with mastication.

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