For one thing, Dr. Miller has installed tiny tubes inside her fingers which drip gorilla-cillin down into the infection, and she has these two valves which must be reset every hour. Drip on one tube, then drip on the other tube, then drip on the last tube.
Even on a Serta-brand mattress, waking once hourly for carburator adjustments does not make for a good night’s sleep.
And the lack of sleep is taking its toll.
Towards morning today, exhausted, life was looking pretty bleak. “I’m going to die, aren’t I?” she asked me.
I told her I didn’t think she would die, because in fact the hand is on the mend. I think it’s the wipeout from the powerful antibiotics and the lack of sleep that make her feel grim.
She’s also oppressed because she’s had about all she can take of being wrapped in plastic tubes, machines that beep, blood being taken, stinging veins, gastric turmoil, no appetite, and she can’t get her hair washed.
She just feels like she can’t take any more. And to make matters worse, we heard yesterday that Kaiser, from whom we have our insurance, was making arrangements to haul her in an ambulance down to San Rafael, for further tests, and another long hospital stint far away.
I have implored Dr. Miller and Dr. Gunda to persuade Kaiser to forswear this trip, if possible, but they’re warning her to prepare to travel. A large packet of copies of her x-rays was sitting on the bed. Gloom prevailed.
She was apologising for, as she described it, coming apart. I tried to reassure her that it was mainly the fatigue making her feel so overwhelmed, and I remembered something that happened to a buddy of mine.
His name was Tom and he ran an answering service near Ventura some years ago. He got smart and sold the business and bought a Grand Banks, which is a large and fancy powerboat, and last I heard he’d sailed off to adventures. If the Pirates of the Carribean didn’t get him, for all I know he’s sailing still.
But this story was back when he was an air-force pilot. As part of their training, they had to learn to survive, with nothing but half-rations and one sleeping bag, behind enemy lines. So to help them learn, they’d be dropped, pilot and co-pilot, way out in the boondocks, and they had to make it through the miles and the cold, and all without being spotted.
His co-pilot was a rugged fellow named Jim, and they made good time the first day, slept fairly well in some found shelter that night, and the next day got pretty lost and it turned nasty cold. After a long, a hungry, and an exhausting day, they’d finally rigged a lean-to for shelter, and there was no help for it but they’d need to sleep together for body heat.
Tom crawled into the shelter, into the sleeping bag. “Come on,” he said.
Jim paused. Tom lost patience.
“Come on, dammit!” Tom said, “We’ve got to rest.” Jim paused. He swayed. Tears ran from Jim’s eyes.
“But, but,” he said, “But that’s my side!”
. . .
I am delighted to report that the nurse just announced that reason has prevailed. Assuming no last-minute complications, Adrienne need not be hauled to Kaiser. Adrienne will be released tomorrow.
I kissed the nurse.
And Adrienne’s daughter Celina just arrived, to wash her hair.