He is there beside me desensitized to his surroundings as he continues to feel the effects of anesthesia after his 2 hour surgery. Half-sedated is how he seems to me as I sit across the hospital bed attempting human connection. I will try to engage him in small talks but he is like a broken light bulb, one minute attempting to reply and the next completely turned off and without power.
Yes, my Michael is out and I felt alone again, left to my own devices to figure out where to channel my restless mind to. We were sharing a ward room with another patient who got stabbed 4 times by what police news report indicated as rugby boys. He managed to hail a “jeepney” to take him to Our Lady of Lourdes of Hospital. His visitors were endlessly coming and going, friends, family; he must be a pretty nice guy indeed. So for some time, I listened to him tell that night’s story of how he ended up in the hospital 10 different times sometimes with varying versions to suit his audience. Then I grew tired of it. In the white plastic orocan chair cramped near Kurt Michael’s bed, I managed to pull my legs up to rest in the lone small cabinet we have and then rest the Project Management Book I brought with me on my lap as I attempted to do some studying for my exam. I got to finish one chapter but then I gave up. I could not concentrate what with the aircon being a bit too cold for me and the nurses kept dropping by asking me to assist in waking Mike up to get his BP, temperature and blood sample. I also kept looking at the content of the dextrose wondering why the content level has not gone down for some time now and preparing to complain to the nurses ( We found out it was being blocked somewhere and they ended up fixing it). The catheter bag is also almost full and I have to keep reminding the nurses to replace it. He is on a no food diet so I ended up eating his hospital lunch delivered to us.
I kept asking the nurses to ask the doctor if we can get discharged that night but the doctor said it was impossible, they need to monitor him first and ensure his surgical wounds are dried up. They said most likely 2 more days. It was a Saturday. I suddenly felt down, aside from the potential additional cost in extending two more days, I dread the thought of sleeping two more nights in that cramped, cold space.
I sighed. I took out my prayer book and started to recite the long healing prayer. In that moment, I felt calmer and things begin to put themselves in the proper perspective. I remember my Michael telling me, Patience, my dear… patience. And so that is just what I did. I waited. I waited for him to get well. I waited for the days to be over.
Saturday night, my Michael is having a fever. I went out to buy some socks and requested additional blankets from the nurse station. And then I climbed up the available space in the hospital bed taking care not to get tangled in the dextrose and catheter tubes. Then I put on his socks, added the blankets and then hugged him real tight. At midnight, the nurse woke me, we will need to transfer to another room. It was a good thing though because our bed was too near the aircon unit and I’m starting to get a fever myself.
There were two other occupants in the new room we were in but we were located away from the aircon unit which was good.
Sunday came and go with my brother Aaron visiting with my sister Irene and wife, Malou to bring me some clothes which is good because I really wanted to take a bath myself. My Michael has his already with hot water and alcohol in bed and fresh new hospital gown. I didn’t know we were staying long so I didn’t brought clothes with me. Michael was allowed to eat around lunch time and I let him read the Sunday newspaper I bought downstairs.
Sunday night, Michael’s bp was up to 140 and I had a fever myself. I took Bioflu so as to stop it from progressing.
Monday morning, I woke up very excited. “Today we may be able to go home”, I thought. My fever was gone, thank you BIO FLU. Michael’s BP is normal. Then the doctor came by and started removing the dextrose and catheter and advised us we can go home that afternoon. I ran out the door to go check with Billing the charges but was met with a crying woman just outside. She was the wife of the other patient in our room. They didn’t have visitors. It was just her and his husband. She told me that her husband has cancer of the gums. I have noticed her from Saturday night and Sunday and found her to be very strong and efficient. She was always cleaning their space and then I hear her talking to her husband even if her husband can’t reply back about what diet he needs to follow moving forward. She needed someone to talk to. Strong women cry too although they do it out of sight of their loved ones. She told me in tagalog, “Ganyan talaga, hanggang sa huli kayo talagang mag-asawa magkadamay. Yung sakit ng isa sakit mo na rin.” I imagined myself ten years from now at the age of this woman, in this same hospital room and I wonder whether I will be as strong and efficient as she. She heard a moan from her husband and went in back to the room but not before she dried her tears. I slowly went to the accounting department to settle our bill. Yes, marriage is like that…in sickness and in health, for better or for worse…’til death do us part.
My Michael was out but I am not alone and will never be alone.