Now that I was a living, breathing troublemaker and not some mutant Medusa with a strep infection in her blood, the critical care unit was ready to unload me onto the regular neuro wing. So they double-knotted me into my bed and wheeled me off to the fifth floor.
Clearly they had phoned ahead to alert the nurses, because the first thing my new nurse did was clip the bed alarm onto my bed.
“This alarm will go off if you try to get out of bed,” she told me. I tried to smile at her, but she was glaring at me. So was my partner, CF. So was Amy. So was my partner’s sister, the one who came from out of town with her daughter, who was also glaring. At least that’s how I remember it.
I figured there wasn’t going to be just one tiny little leaf outside my door indicating a fall risk. No, there would be the entire tree, ripped off about four feet from the ground by a windstorm, its jagged trunk at just the right height to take out eyeballs, its massive shattered top blocking the roadway, crushing several cars and a stray puppy.
Yup, they had my number over here.
They also had mandarin oranges and cottage cheese, which I found to be a particularly tasty combination at that point in my recovery. I practically lived on it.
And they had the biggest diapers I have ever seen. No, bigger than that. No, bigger. If I put it on upside down, it would be a burqa. I am talking wrap-yourself-AND-your-double-bed-in-it big. Not that I had a double bed. It was your normal hospital cot-like bed. The diaper was way too big for it.
Not to get too technical, but I was using the diaper as a tool. I had to buzz for a nurse to get out of bed to get to the bathroom, but I usually couldn’t wait that long, if you know what I mean, so the diaper did the—ah—paperwork for me. That way, the nurse didn’t have to change the sheets, which I thought was a nice little gift from me.
I was trying to redeem myself. I wanted them to take down the big fallen tree sign outside my door and put up a smiley face. I wanted the nurses to fight over who got to bring me my mandarin oranges. I wanted to be their favorite patient.
Mostly I just wanted to sleep.