- # Spectacle
- I had indulged in a second gin and tonic when Al called at 9PM and said, “Take me home.” He said the nursing home was no good, that he couldn’t get any water, that no one would come when he called. I called the nurses station, and it just rang and rang for minutes on end, like it did this morning. I called the front desk and got no one there. I called Al back and said I was coming. I’d told him I’d come and get him any time he said, and he’d said.
- Brewed coffee into a thermos, had another cup to make sure I was no menace to fellow late-night drivers, and headed over. Got the transport chair out of the jeep and lucked out by meeting a delivery person in the foyer waiting for someone to let him in. When she opened the door and started signing for the package, I slipped past her like I belonged there, and she ignored me. Kept on, following signs to Al’s room, and had the first shouts at my back as I approached it. Went in and found him looking very small and worried.
- One of the staff was right behind me to find out whom I was and what I was doing there and whether Al was OK with it. I told her he’d asked me to come and bring him home, and we went back-and-forth about it while I sat down with Al to hear what he had to say. The staff member (a nurse, I think — it looked like she was laying out pills when I passed her) said she wouldn’t stop me, but asked if I would sign a paper absolving them of responsibility. Someone else went to get that while she went over the reasons he shouldn’t go: He’s on oxygen, which we don’t have at home. He’s weak. He’s still on an IV antibiotic. I agreed with her, but said I’d do what he wanted.
- In the middle of all the bustling in and out, I pulled the chair over and tried to help Al to get in it. He could sit up with a lot of effort from me, but he couldn’t lift himself to transfer to the chair. One of the staff, coming back into the room, heard me saying to him, “Look, dear, if you can’t get from here to right there, how am I going to take care of you at home?” They reinforced that and told him he shouldn’t be making me feel so guilty.
- They kept trying to reassure him while I took a phone one of them handed me and spoke to the Head of Nursing. She repeated the reasons Al should stay, and I told her it looked like he was seeing it for himself now after we weren’t able to get him out. She said we can take him now if we want, but she thinks he’d most likely end up back in the hospital or dead. She said was instructing her nurses that I should be allowed to visit him from now on. I thanked her and told her that’s really what we need. He’s confused there on his own, and I’m a hot mess sitting at home and not seeing him. If we can just lay eyes on each other every day, I don’t think we’ll need to make a scene again.
- I talked with the staff while we got him re-settled, and then spoke to them in the hall after I’d kissed him goodnight and said I’d see him in the morning. They were kind and understanding. The one I’d mainly talked with said she’d had him up at the nurses station part of the day to get him out of the room and had shared her own snack with him since he had such a good appetite. I think they’re still a little short-staffed, but they’re providing good care. They dealt with my sudden and distraught appearance quickly and professionally, and I don’t think they have anything but Al’s best interest in mind, with eyes on the goal of getting him well and out of there.
- Quite a night. Al looked and sounded fine, aside from his worry. I hope seeing me helped him have a better night. I felt much easier, aside from my antsiness in the spotlight and embarrassment at making a spectacle of myself. Not my usual style, but I still had a bit of that second g&t in me on top of weeks of anxiety over Al. I probably would have bit a dog if one had leaped into the fray.
- Off to see how he’s doing.
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