Where Is Everybody?-Part Three

I didn’t see Mom or Dad for days, and I wondered why. An aid explained that visiting hours were twice a week for half an hour. Mom had been there to visit, but I was too sick to know it. Because the hospital’s function was to control contagious diseases, visitors were never allowed into a room with the patients. The hospital restricted visitors to a special glass corridor. Each room had glass walls separating it from adjacent rooms and the corridor connecting them. Parallel to the staff corridor was another corridor separated by glass. Visitors were restricted to the space behind the second glass wall. When I was able to see Mom it was through two walls of glass and across a space of twenty feet. We couldn’t talk to each other because the voice wouldn’t carry through all the glass. At first, it was a lot of waving and lip reading. Visits became frustrating because of the difficulty of communication. Visits also ended in what seemed like a second. When visiting hours ended, the security staff moved visitors out. The time machine went back to ultra slow where one second was a minute, one minute was an hour, and one hour seemed like a day. Now more than ever, I wanted to go home and play football.

Talking to the Devil–Part Two

After going to hell for a long conversation with the devil, the ice bed began bringing my temperature down. It lasted for what seemed like eternity during those first seven days in the Contagious Disease Hospital. When the fever finally dropped, I began to notice strange things all around me. The rooms and hallways are separated from each other by windowed walls. A huge, beige colored tank with glass port holes stood in the hall along the window outside my room. What is it, I wondered? I never asked, but later learned that it had my name on it.

A few months ago I asked my brother Bill to tell me about the death of our older brother Joe. Since I wasn’t born when Joe died, the details of his story escaped me. Brother Joe died at age seven of scarlet fever in the same hospital. Wow! It finally dawned on me. Here I am at age 64 finally realizing the agony that Mom and Dad must have gone through when they took me, their second son named Joe, to the same hospital where their first born son died. They earned their way into heaven with the suffering and mental anguish. I apologize, Mom and Dad, for having put you through that horrible wringer again.

After the ice-mattress, the doctors invented a new torture. Two aides came in and raised the foot of my bed with blocks. Now, I had to lay there with my head down, and my feet up in the air, and my arm tied.

The IV-line in my hand blocked, and it needed to be moved. A doctor came and started doing something to my leg. The next thing I knew, the tube was in my ankle. He cut my ankle open to find the vein and inserted the tube down there. The nurses referred to that as a ‘cut-down’. They tied my leg to keep me from pulling it out.

Time slowed to a crawl in that fish tank of a room at CDH. An hour seemed like a day, a day like a week, and a week like a month. Still, all I could think about was getting out in time for tryouts. The start of a new school year drew closer, and I realized it would take time to regain my strength from being in the hospital.

Once the fever subsided I felt much better and more mentally aware of the surroundings. When a doctor came in, I asked, “When will I go home?”

“Soon,” they replied. That is not the answer I wanted to hear.