I met Candace as she meandered past my room on the main drag through the rehab. Because she’s a patient I’ve changed her name and I couldn’t photograph her but our conversation went as written. The main drag, our street:
I was in my room with the door open. Staff comes by and stops by my open doorway, for to come in requires suiting up, and they check up on me. Nurses and aides assigned to other units like to check on my progress and ask after my buddy Mersa, and they know I cheer up when a bright smile and sparkling eyes stops by. But my net caught an entirely different fish as I sat in isolation lamenting my dearth of visitors. Ketty reluctantly modeling the MRSA protective togs:
A wheelchair came by and she paused outside my door so I said hello and we fell to talking. People like talking about themselves but in here it’s a good tactic too because you never know what agony they have been through unless they tell you. And spilling your fate first can leave you with egg on your face if you ignore protocol and go first and brash. Candace is such a diminutive figure in her outsize colorful bed jacket and tiny stick limbs all surmounted by the usual fluff of curly white lambs wool. Her story is one of iron will.
The conversation began with an exchange of lamentations, difficulty sleeping, annoyances with the wheelchair, stuff that is the staple of people inside. I can’t walk I tell her with a laugh but it’s coming back. Her feet are in bright yellow physical therapy type socks with rubber strips. She was in an induced coma for two days. Ooh I ask how was it? Did you bypass heaven? No she says sadly I can’t remember a thing. I slept. She has dialysis because her kidneys don’t work so well. But then she has to control how much insulin her nurses give her as they have a tendency to overdo it and that would knock her out.
But it doesn’t end there. Pieces of her foot have had to be amputated. I’ve heard it’s hard to balance with toes missing? She agrees heartily. Very difficult. So she takes her constitutional in a wheelchair. Her husband went home to catch the evening service. I mumble something about Jesus promising not to overload us with burdens we cannot bear. She fired back the full chapter and verse and with an angelic smile and a promise to talk again she rolls slowly, steadily away. Leaving me wondering why the fuss about my pelvis.