Saturday, June 2, 2007

597 days, 1 hours, 24 minutes, 18 seconds

She supposes she should be grateful to that pediatrician. He's the one who filled her with distrust of doctors. Were it not for him she might be butchered now.

597 days, 2 hours, 5 minutes, 24 seconds

When they first moved her here from ICU he was positive he heard a baby cry. But it wasn't until the next day, getting lost on her way to the vending machines, that she wandered into pediatric intensive care. The lounge right outside it (with the vending machines) filled with Legos and other quiet toys. For the brothers. The sisters. She thinks of the asinine pediatrician they took her to, insisting on weekly iron shots, two people holding her down. She screamed from the moment she entered that office until the moment she left. These toys were not for her. That much was clear. And she had, they told her, paratyphoid fever as an infant, but got well before they could confirm the diagnosis. And that doctor, they told her, was the first person she smiled for.

597 days, 2 hours, 13 minutes, 23 seconds

It's Saturday night, for God's sake. People are supposed to be out on dates. Young couples are supposed to hire babysitters. Don't they have better things to do than surf the Internet? Yet for nearly a hour now Earthlink hasn't let her on. She imagines half the city on The city that never sleeps. The woman beside her finally given a sleeping pill.

597 days, 2 hours, 29 minutes, 26 seconds

And she pictures the doctor, or maybe the nurse practitioner, standing over her head with a staple gun, saying here, and here, and here, and maybe one for good measure here. All the staples that are pulling at her scalp tonight. And she recalls their apartment being wired for DSL, how the technician ran out of staples but came the next day with a better plan. These were the days before wireless. Before stereotaxic brain surgery. In one ear, out the other. Until the staples hold.

597 days, 2 hours, 56 minutes, 17 seconds

Her last day here, her roommate seems a little better, and they have the nerve to ask. Stroke. That's when the delusions started. And before that, nine years ago, the osteoporosis got really bad. That's when she moved in with her daughter. Such devotion gets rarer and rarer. Her nephew (really his nephew) has already said he'll pay for his parents' care, it will be up to his sister to care for them. And here they are, with no children. And here she is, in the hospital. Friends talk of moving to Brooklyn, for their daughter's sake.

597 days, 11 hours, 56 minutes, 30 seconds

Great news – Kevorkian has been released from prison after serving only 8 years. One photo shows him smiling next to his suicide machine. It could be any IV, in any hospital. Three bottles draining.

597 days, 12 hours, 30 minutes, 10 seconds

One more day, she asked for. Is that such a crime? And her husband reminded her that one more day might cost the insurance company another $10,000. Then, two hours after she says she doesn't care, she reads a "weird news" story about four people charged in twenty false brain surgery insurance claims. GHI paid out over $300,000 in reimbursements. A 36 year-old man, his wife, and two sons. She wonders what they were thinking.

Earlier today she read a story about a Dutch tv reality show where three people competed for a kidney transplant from a woman dying of an inoperable brain tumor was revealed to be a hoax. The brain tumor woman was an actress. The three contestants really do need kidney transplants, but they understood this wasn't real. The plan was to raise public awareness on how many people are in need of transplants. Fhat's all. And she thought okay, she'll save this story for someday later. Diabetes can also affect the kidney.

597 days, 14 hours, 8 minutes, 42 seconds

She should have started a new chapter on her computer yesterday. Better late than never. A day late and a dollar short. She's in the hospital. She's lost track of time. But she got her extra day, didn't she? One more day off the steroid, one more day on the new oral diabetes drug, to see if she can get her sugars down without insulin or lantis. Everyone shows her how easy it is to give herself the injections. She closes her eyes. She gets nauseous. One more way in which she doesn't measure up to what everyone else can do. Childhood revisited. Grow up already.

597 days, 14 hours, 13 minutes, 41.1 seconds

As she tells her husband: when she was young her mother would go out and bring some friend home to play with her. She'd set about making a party for her dolls. The other girl would get bored, eat her cookie and go home, while she was still involved in making the party.

597 days, 14 hours, 26 minutes, 54 seconds

Maybe she wouldn't be thinking about this if there hadn't been two stories in the news lately about elderly women, one of them 101 years old, the victim of muggings and beatings, but from the scattered mumblings out of this woman's mouth, she thinks she might also have been such a victim (the other two were in Queens, so neither would be in this hospital). But something about them wanting her earrings, the earrings her father gave her. And something about getting out of her house. She was nice to him, she fed him, get out of her house.

597 days, 19 hours, 20 minutes, 59 seconds

She made the mistake last night of talking to the woman in the next bed, of saying yes, she'll be here all night. And the woman, who couldn't get her name right, said they'll throw a party, and started planning what they'd serve, where they'd buy the best meat, and she tried to say we'll wait till we're home. The woman also didn't like her cough. Finally she put on her headphones, just to get away.