Since L got ferociously sick on Thursday, my normal husbandly duties have been replaced by my efforts in my new role as a home health aide. Is she comfortable? Does she need a blanket? Would she like a sad little peanut butter sandwich made of one piece of bread? Should I discreetly move into the other room while she yaks into the toilet?
These are the questions that haunt you, as a home health aide. Poor L has been convalescing on the couch for multiple days now, sleeping fitfully on the bed and in the living room, watching VH1 marathons and trying not to do anything that hurts (like swallowing, moving, or breathing). They say it's a virus, and in my expert opinion, it's disgusting. L made me look in her throat, twice, and there is quite a battle raging down there. Her gland is really swollen and is protruding from her neck. Although she has been on antibiotics for a couple days, there is not much improvement going on. So like any happy newlywed couple in Manhattan, we thought we'd spend this Sunday afternoon at the ER!
Going to the emergency room really puts things in perspective. L has been a trooper during this whole process, trying to stay out of the way and heal and put up a strong front. For almost three hours today we watched the ER buzz around us, as the IV dripped fluid into L to rehydrate her. We saw some guy come in for a cocaine-related issue. We saw a woman come in who was so tanked on drinks or drugs that the doctor was threatening to have her stomach pumped (which I was secretly hoping for, since it would have been more interesting that figuring out how many milliliters of fluid L had received). We heard all about an old man's rectal temperature. We heard another old man yell forlornly from behind his curtain, "Hello! Is anybody here?" to which no one ever responded. We saw one very large woman shuffling around in multiple hospital gowns, draped around her front and back like a sandwich board. And we heard a lady have a frank discussion with her doctor about her stools and their qualities (she also discussed her extensive list of medical woes, her menopausal state and her active sex life). And, in a moment that made me want to strangle myself with the IV tube, we heard a nurse ask an old man: "sir, are you trying to urinate or defecate right now?"
Indeed. After they discharged us we hustled out of there as fast as L's withered legs could go. We went to Tasti D, then picked up more supplies at CVS, and now we're home, so L can convalesce in peace and I can return to my nursing responsibilities.