First there’s the waiting for admittance, then waiting to be called, then everything happens rather quickly. I am checked, briefed, and queried by at least one representative from every medical specialty. They are reassuringly thorough, and their questions have a reassuring amount of overlap; this is a team, and they all need to be in the same game.
Still, it is a lot to comprehend, let alone assimilate. I have been preparing for this for years. Every time I couldn’t dance with Christian, or walk more than a short distance, every time that the pain would wake me, I would think about how and when to get this work done, how to organize life, and put enough aside to have any hope of taking this leave of absence. In the end, of course, I was neither particularly organized nor solvent; the ankle just wouldn’t wait any longer.
The anesthesiologists arrive and start setting up, even as they conduct their part of the assessing/educating. One of them gives me an injection,and I start naming the epochs, counting back:
I might have made it as far as Carboniferous. I definitely never got to Cambrian. And then a moment later my eyes pop open and a calm, attentive nurse is there, and beyond her a clock is claiming that five hours have passed. And then another nurse goes to get Christian and then she sweeps into the room, smiling that smile.
In a hospital there are two major usages for the term “discharge.” One is a bodily effluent, often putrid or otherwise unpleasant. The other is a patient who is leaving the hospital. Both categories involve the patient’s getting cleaned up, checked over, and reassured. I am now a discharge.
My clothes have been returned, so I am rid of the silly gown. In a few minutes someone from physical therapy will come by to make sure that I know that I can’t go bowling tonight, or maybe even tomorrow. They will instead tell me, I hope, how to push myself physically, without endangering my recovery. I know that the coming weeks will be spent mostly in bed, but I do not want to waste away; I want to get back into the world, I want to dance with Christian.