lunes, 25 de febrero de 2013

Reporting LIVE from Glendale Memorial Hospital – Morning update

Before I start my report, Walter, I just have to say, “What the hell was the Academy thinking?”  I like Ben Affleck, and I don’t agree with some of my friends that he should stick with his duckish insurance company and get out of the show business.  I liked the critic’s note in The New Yorker that he is the actor most at the mercy of his jawline, and I find him well-suited to both acting and directing.  But a best pic statue for Argo?  Forget ‘not so much’ – not at all.

Ok, here in Glendale, the story was much different than *fifteen hundred people* at the Governor’s Ball last night.  (Since when has the Gov’s Ball had so long a guest-list?)  As crews are rolling up the red carpet at the Dolby Theater and sweeping up the post-Oscar party-rooms, dawn’s rosy glow creeps across the San Bernardino mountains and the scene at GMH is much more subdued.

Dr Habashy, the meerkattish renologist, made me feel comfortable right away by calling me ‘habibi.’  Though there was no wafting on the air of chai or coffee, I seemed to hear a taksim in the background for the slimmest moment, over the chatter of gaiety going on in several languages at the nurse’s station right outside my door.  I like waking to the sound of laughter and the rapid-fire talk that I can’t understand.

Dr Habashy appeared (in stylish t-shirt, strategically-faded jeans and expensive driving shoes) in the murky light to reassure me that I may finally be disconnected from my chief nemesis (yes, that is redundundant, but entirely fitting):  the IV bag leashed to my arm.  I don’t know why I need this infernal annoyance.  The catheter in my arm (connected to some kind of fishing-bobberish valve strung in the middle of the supply tube that catches on everything) is constantly a bother (I have to unplug it if I want to leave the orbit of the bed – which is like every hour or so because of the super-hydration that the contraption occasions – and when I go walkabout it must be dragged along like a giraffe out for its micturational duties).  I  just can’t understand why I have to be hooked up to it at all.  As much as I might snark around about the food, this damn IV setup is really the only annoyance about my mini-vacation here on Six North.
Breakfast in the predawn hour
The one-liter bag of saline (more salt?  really?) finally emptied itself (with the help of a pump) after 29 hours – that’s what, three centiliters an hour?  Kinda ridiculous.  The supply line hooks on everything, like a child pulling on the doorknob to anchor himself out of having to go to the dentist.  I told them and told them, “Just give me a straw and I’ll drink the damn stuff.”  (I didn’t even suggest that they put some gin in it, as I normally would!)

And what you’re hearing behind me, Walter, is the parade of night nurses and orderlies going off-shift – “Bye by Jesse, bye Malu, bye Emma!” – after a long but quiet night here at Six North.  At the risk of applying a cliché, it really is like a family here.

Which reminds me, I have to add to the list of wonderful folks Pierre, Jesse, Abby & Albert.

This morning’s waking was different, however:  lovely Emma, the Yeravani siren who stopped me for speeding in the hallway on my first evening here, had suddenly turned from a brisk effectuator into a hyperefficient automaton, jerking me out  my  dream with a madrugadal demand for blood, and in my sophorific haze I was certain that she was Doc’s wife Assiduacia from Snow White & the Seven Dwarves.  And no matter how many times I tell them that I don’t want the blood-draw from the ditch (the soft crook of my elbow), it seems they always head to that spot as if it’s the only vein in my body.
I ate the last of the burrito last night and there is no breakfast this morning.  No juice, no water even, no nada.  Neante.  The big stress test comes today – in a short while in fact – and later in the day, the Main Event, so no food til dinner, such as that will be.  The continue to tacos haunt me – the lovely tacos that can’t be eaten, the phantom tacos just out of my reach.  The Americanos, crunchy and overstuffed.  The little blanda morditas, waiting for the cilantro and the spray of lime.  My nose reaches into the air in search of the savory tang of grilled chicken.   I am Tantalus, chained to an IV tower and smelling hospital cooking when not imagining merghez, chalao, or seared bonita with wasabi dressing.

There is still fake beer in the cajon by the bed, but none of that either til I come back in the late afternoon from the Ablatatory.  And Robert Louis Stevenson, another comida-obsessive author, floats into my consciousness:  “I dream of cheese – mostly toasted.”

I missed taking a pic of last night’s repast, because when they brought it in I was deep in conversation on the merits of poetry and the plotting of fiction with the lovely Echo Tech Lisa.  So the skinless tarragon chicken breast sat untouched for an hour, alongside its companion zucchini and roasted potatoes.  Then my hero, Dr McKenzie, visited to discuss the Main Event, and I was so famished that I made short work of it while discussing the merits of various ‘treatment modalities.’  So, no pic.  But I’m here to report that the meal was an improvement, even if the pechuga was a bit dry (not that *I* might have had anything to do with that, by leaving it on the side while conversationalising with Lisa).