Home Again

Get there at 12, they say.

Surgery will start at 3:30, they say.

It’s 5:30 and I’m frustrated, I say.

Time to go, they say.

I look to the cloch. Big, bold, square numbers, blinking in my face: 11:30.

There’s a thrum coming from the lit vent. Constant alarms sounding. Checking vitals. 100.4 fever. The volume, for the TV, goes up and down, up and down. Pain medication, shots and pills. Waking from the pain at 4:00 in the morning. The room seems to be turning off and on, hot and cold. I want to fall asleep for increments longer than 10 minutes. I want to lay on my stomach, hug my pillow tightly to my chest. New nurses, they are all so happy and chipper in the morning. But in the late afternoon they seem to wilt like the daisies that sprout from the cracks in the asphalt on a hot afternoon. Trying to pee for an hour. Feeling the pain crawl up from my heel to my calf. Wondering how many stitches are in there. What does the titanium screw look like? Learning how to walk with crutches. Hoping not to fall, not succeeding.

The next 5 months are going to be hard, I say.

I know, he says.

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