Tuesday, April 22, 2008

You Never Miss it til it's Gone

I really dislike going to hospitals.

That said, after work today I knew that I had to go to the hospital even though it would be late and even though I’m tired and fighting a fairly vicious sinus cold. I have a sinus headache that makes me wish for something stronger than Tylenol. As it was when I got back to my side of town after work I hoped into a cab and headed for the hospital where one Monolycus was interred. Mono was in to have a piece of himself taken out. From what I understand it was a him or organ situation and he decided that it was time for the organ to go.

I pulled into the big university around seven thirty which left only about thirty minutes of visiting left on the clock. I walked into the hospital and immediately stopped traffic. The guy in the wheel chair smoking a cigarette stared at me. The man in the walker pushing down the isle stopped to gawk. The elderly lady with her catheter bag hanging out was all a twitter about it. The kids running around there to visit someone were stunned. Waygook at a hospital, who would have thought.

Although I knew what room he was in I need to ask for help and apparently needed a confirmation pass which I got at the front desk. They directed me to the elevator and put me on, very helpful. It was only after going up a floor that I realized my elevator did not actually stop on the floor I was visiting. I got off the elevator and contemplated walking. Koreans have this thing about elevators where as long as there is a particle of breathing space available it is okay to pack in. This makes me intensely claustrophobic. Might have something to do with the fact that “touch the foreigner” is a favorite Korean game. I violently dislike being on a packed elevator and after waiting for ten minutes for an elevator going to the proper floor I finally opted to ride down so I could grab a space in the back and then ride up.

Mono was at the top of the hospital in a room towards the back. I walked in past the sleeping Korean men and woman who were recovering from surgery, looking for the lone Wolf but not seeing one. Finally I came to the last bed on the left in a room of eight and saw the familiar blond hair that said “here lies white guy recovering from surgery.”

“Who are you?” he says groggy.

“The easter bunny. You look good. How you doing?”

“I feel like I’ve been shot in the stomach four times.”

“It only looks like three.”

He points to the table next to the bed, but I don’t know what I’m looking for. Then he picks up a jar of bits and shakes it at me. The bits are bloody and full of gunk.

“What…is that…?”

“Yep.”

“What are you going to do with it?”

“I don’t know.”

“Why on earth did they give it to you?”

“Don’t know that either. Mrs. Chung is kinda of weird. I’m lying there waking up from surgery and she is standing over me when my eyes open with a big smile on her face and just waving it at me.”

“Huh.”

“That was kinda what I thought. That and OW!”

We talked about bodily functions and people who had come to visit. We put the jar of no- longer-in-use-organ down on the table and tried to forget about it.

“You thirsty?”

“Oh, god, yes.”

“Didn’t they give you ice chips to chew on?”

“No.”

“We could try to ask about water.”

“Honestly, I’d rather have a cigarette.”

And so the stay in the hospital goes. I help him up off the bed and ask him how he gets it to go up. “Hand crank.” He points at the end of the bed where this is a crank that can be used to move the bed up or down. Right.

We take a walk down the hall and then walk again. Movement, always important after major surgery.

“I like your pants, do you get to keep them?”

“I don’t think so.”

We stop by a mirror.

“These really are stupid pants.” He says looking down at himself. “And I’m not sure that is all my blood.”

I walk him back down the hall and stay a few more minutes before I know I’m well past visiting hours and my sinus are drilling their way out of my eye sockets. I say goodnight, walk down the hall past the staring Koreans on walkers with tubes flowing from various orifices. It gives me the creeps, like a hospital in a horror movie. It’s perfectly normal and sane, and yet there is something faintly disturbing about it.

Maybe it is the being surrounded by Koreans.

Maybe it’s knowing that in each room, next to each one of the eight beds there is table. And on that table there is an organ.

I was very happy to get my taxi home.

1 comment:

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

Glad he seems to be doing okay without his organ!!!!! At least it looks like it based on the other post.