Recently, I spent some time in the hospital during which I was unable to walk or eat on my own. Six days.
While I was in the hospital, there was a little cup in the toilet, there so the doctors could measure my, uh, “output” and make sure I was on track to being healthy.
During this week, I was supposed to have been part of a pretty important event. Let’s call it an awards ceremony where I wasn’t an award recipient, but one of the main people thanked by the award recipients. There had been many weeks of anticipation leading up to this event, and in fact, I helped put it together.
Back to how sick I was. I had a morphing illness that resulted in lots of radioactive scans, x-rays, blood withdrawals, and tests for increasingly rare diseases, like dengue fever. I received so many shots and IV’s that my inner arms were bruised. I walked with the aid of a walker.
“If you have a bowel movement, don’t flush–come and show us, so we can make sure you’re not infected with new bacteria,” the nurses cautioned me. I scoffed, because I’d hardly eaten all week. What was going to come out?
On the day of the awards ceremony, I was lying in bed trying to find a cable channel that would give me hope in humanity. I received an emotional text from another attendant. “We’re praying hard for you and we miss you here,” she wrote me. I stared at the clock in my tiny hospital room, imagining the bustle and excitement. I knew precisely where everyone was: lined up at the top of a staircase, waiting to descend to music.
It was shortly after this emotional text that I, uh, needed to call the nurse in to look into the toilet for me.
As I lay on the bed and waited, I laughed. It was a momentous night for everyone.
Things like this are great perspective/ego checks: sometimes I think that everything should cave down around me in my absence, but really, people are fine. Meanwhile, I’m just a regular person who needs to eat, sleep, and poop like the guy next to me.
Speaking of which….. I guess I’m not the first person to realize this.