Escape from the Hospital!

I just escaped from the hospital! What an amazing feeling to roll out through those doors and into the sunshine after about a week cozied up to an IV pump.

My apologies if I haven’t answered any mail in a while. See above paragraph. Anyway, I’m back to convalescing at home and far from well, but at least I’m making progress. That’s something and I’m very thankful for it.

I’m profoundly grateful for hospitals. Nurses are the most amazing people in the world. Ministering angels, really, swooping about through the night, checking to see if my heart is still beating, keeping the drips going, popping up at all hours with the medicines. Lord love them, they have a difficult job. Mine were always cheerful, patient, and unfailingly kind. My dad brought them flats and flats of organic strawberries from our ranch.

But, if you can, stay out of hospitals.

Rest doesn’t come easy in those places. What does come is the slow, creeping awareness of mortality and what matters and what doesn’t. A lot doesn’t matter. Most doesn’t matter. My books sure don’t matter in the scheme of things (even though I’ll still enjoy writing more stories and tossing them out into the grand abyss). Family matters, God matters, your soul matters, for crying out loud, even if you don’t believe you have one. You do. Believe me.

Listening to the rhythmic pump of the IV drip all night puts me into a reflective state of mind. Drip, drip, drip. The medicines trickle down into my veins. Poison, but healing poison, I guess. Antibiotics, steroids, liters of blood. Liters of some stranger’s blood infiltrating my veins and helping my heart tick over properly. I wish I could thank them. Maybe send them a fresh apple pie from our farm bakery.

Those fluorescent lights in the ER were so hard-edged and humming and inhuman. It was either stare at them or stare at the paint on the wall when I got wheeled in. At least I wasn’t the guy in the next bay. He’d been in a car wreck and one of legs just wasn’t a leg anymore. It was some kind of Cubist deconstruction by Picasso and probably just as expensive.

No nutrition of any kind for 48 hours and then, afterwards, just clear broth, clear broth, clear broth, jello, clear broth, clear broth, clear broth, jello. A simple bowl of carrot and onion and chicken soup now looks like a fantastic display of culinary utopia.

I hate to reduce things to t-shirt slogans, but life is darn short. Double-check your priorities, double-check your assumptions, hug your kids, kiss your wife, check in with God (if you don’t believe in God, at the very least, you should investigate Pascal’s wager). Get a good night’s sleep. Even if the world is going to end the day after tomorrow, you might as well plant an apple tree tomorrow.

Okay, that’s enough from me. I’m having trouble typing. My motor skills are really shaky right now.

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