Saturday, 10 am drinking coffee, nibbling at coffee cake, wondering whether to wash hair now or tonight before festive dinner. Wearing oversize Donna Karan sleep tee. Barefoot. Himself in basement checking hot water supply.
10:03 am in car driving Himself to emergency room. Wearing yesterday's wrinkled gray chinos, same sleep tee, untied sneakers.
10:30 am shaking hands with pulmonologist and cardiologist who are still in golf clothes. Have found jean jacket wadded up in bottom of purse and have added same to own ensemble. Himself is now wearing uncountable monitor things, drippy things, tubes and connectors to add more of foregoing if necessary. Pulmonary emboli have been located and question is whether there is damage to heart as result of same.
11:30 am scans, tests, blood work; advised that Himself will be transferred to ICU as soon as room is ready. Sounds like hotel when plane is unaccountably early and no traffic en route from airport. We have time to look around and admire new ER facility, which is vastly different from the first time I tried to come to the ER at this hospital with a colorful and grossly swollen insect bite on arm and was chased away by angry janitor waving mop. ER now professional and inspiring place, if a bit surreal. More specialists come and go, speaking of Michaelangelo. Consensus: super clot-buster drug not called for, conventional treatment (blood thinners) advised, with everyone reserving right to change opinion and more tests ordered.
1:00 pm Himself is feeling stronger and mentions that he hasn't eaten since breakfast. We decide not to notify family until we know for certain that nothing other than the emboli has been found, and that a course of treatment (or not) has been definitely agreed. Wearing confused but determinedly cheerful expression. Also hungry.
2:00 pm we are escorted to room in ICU. Himself is wearing travelling tube and monitor get-up, I have added a random hospital blanket to my ensemble, snatched from a cart as we pass. Hospital is kept very cold for benefit of staff who would otherwise become overheated from working at such an intense pace. Good, love the staff, want them to be comfortable.
2:15 pm dissolve in helpless giggles as ICU nurse goes through required questionnaires with Himself, who finds some of the topics simply befuddling.
Nurse: Is anyone sexually abusing you?
Nurse: No, they mean are you the subject of sexual abuse?
Himself: Not at the moment.
Nurse: I'll take that as a No.
Himself: But I have hopes.
Nurse: (reading from next questionnaire) If you wish we can arrange spiritual comfort or counseling with a spiritual or religious advisor or practitioner of any affiliation that you may choose.
Me: I'm sorry, I can't help it. I can't imagine anyone sitting down and writing this stuff.
Himself: Of my choice. Is there a list?
Nurse: I have to ask, and I have to get an answer.
Me: He was raised by wolves.
Nurse: So he would like to be comforted by a werewolf.
Me: There's one on call?
Nurse: I wouldn't advise it, he's been pumped full of blood thinners.
Himself: What about a Shaman?
Nurse: I'm understanding that as a No.
Me: He meant No, thank you.
Nurse leaves to get cart loaded with more things to stick onto / into Himself.
Himself: She seems extremely competent.
5:00 pm cast of specialists from ER have found their way to ICU and take turns reading test results. It appears condition is stabilizing, but still needs observation. Patient is uttering soft moans of hunger.
5:15 pm dinner for one arrives. Bouillon de Bland, with Rice à la Bland and Soggy Shreds of Anonymous Protein-like Substance. Moans of hunger turn to Groans of outrage. I sneak out.
5:25 pm I return. Am wearing same ensemble as before, but have accessorized with a Pop of Color! - that is, neon orange Frito chip crumbs around mouth.
6:00 pm ICU closes to visitors for an hour to allow staff to complete reports and do other administrative things, also to do patient care things that are better done without audience. I lurk outside door until I notice an armchair outside a door marked "Staff Only." Move chair to better vantage point of ICU door, curl up under blanket, stare at door.
7:30 pm make calls to family. make list of other reservations and engagements to be cancelled. we have run short of conversation and are holding hands as we watch an Olympic event or replay.
9:45 pm say goodnight, thank staff, discovering many acquaintances in common. Find car, return to Flintstone Manor.
10:25 pm Put heat-&-eat creation in microwave, decide glass of wine will improve it. Or me. Or both. Head for basement. Realise sound of water falling is not light summer rain.
10:30 pm Having added rubber flip-flops to ensemble, return to basement, wade to far corner, grab bottle of red and turn off main water supply line, decide to have dinner (such as it is), and call plumber in morning. Not thrilled with idea of strange man coming to house with toolbox late on a Saturday night.
Sunday morning: Wash face & brush teeth in Poland Spring Sparkling Water, put on clean clothes with arctic hospital air in mind, call plumber, who arrives within minutes and solves water problem. Check with Himself by phone, head up to hospital, stopping only to purchase Sunday paper, at which point I notice flat tire. Proceed to nearest gas station with Free Air, add air to tire, continue to hospital.....
Sunday night: tire seems fine. Himself will be fine. I will be fine. Need some sleep.