Hospital room days are long and strange. Especially for someone like me, someone who is never still for very long, never sits in one place for too many hours at a time, someone who likes to be engaged in purposeful activity. There is little of that in a hospital, it seems, at least when you're the one doing the waiting. Waiting for tests to be done, for blood to be drawn, for nurses to come with much needed pain medication or to turn off beeping IV machines.
And there is much wondering and worrying, too. What will the test results show? How many more invasive procedures will be called for? What will the doctors recommend? And what will the repurcussions be?
In the three months since my uncle's death, my aunt has become even more frail than she was before. My mother believes she's literally starving herself to death, and there is some truth in this, for she seems to exist on a diet of little more than cookies, cake, or the occasional bowl of cereal. "Food tastes terrible to me," she says. "I just like my cookies."
Her cookie diet has obviously not been too helpful, because now her pancreas is infected, her liver enzymes are high, and her gall bladder is on the verge of complete mutiny. She's so debilitated, she can't fight the infections, so they're giving her protein through a central intravenous line. And any thoughts of removing that defective gall bladder are on hold until the pancreatic infection clears up.
All this is a lot for a frail 85 year old. And so we wait and worry about what will happen in the future...will she ever be strong enough to go home? Must I start the nursing home search all over again?
The length of the day was mitigated by the presence of two wonderful women - nieces from my uncle's side of the family who have become like sisters to me. They are a large, close knit family, and their love and caring for one another reminds me again of how much I've missed as an "only." I'm more than grateful for the way they've embraced me and cared for me. So we've told stories, and talked, and shared things about our families. It's helped to pass the time and to lift our spirits as well.
Nevertheless, it's been a very long day.
I'm afraid there are lots more to come.