In a side room off the ER at York Hospital, dressed in my hospital johnnie, I am aware something is changing. And that’s a good thing. Having entered the ER in a haze an hour ago, now, just after 7P, I can tell the fog is lifting because I am starting to sense what is happening around me. Though I don’t know the answers to the medical staff’s basic questions, previously I didn’t know they were even asking questions. That’s progress.
Earlier in the evening at home when all hell was breaking loose, Hannah had called Mandy with the apt summation that Dan is acting weird. Mandy said she would come when Hannah needed her. At this point, Mandy’s daughter Sammie said, Mom you can’t wait, you have to go now. Is that a great kid, or what!
When Mandy arrives at our house on Chases Pond Road, Hannah has already taken me to the ER. Mandy then drives on to the hospital where she watches Owen and Max while Hannah tends to her whacked-out husband of 45 years.
Once it seems that I will be staying for the night, Hannah asks Mandy to follow her home and then return to the hospital with my overnight bag. While Hannah puts our grandsons Owen and Max to bed, Mandy returns with a change of clothes, my journal, my iPhone, my Scrabble dictionary, shaving kit, and latest Sports Illustrated. But something much more.
Her presence. You see, Mandy stays when I need someone. As Woody Allen says, 90% of life is showing up. And show up Mandy does.
What I need is someone just to listen. After being totally unaware of what the hell is going on, things are now less fuzzy in my brain. Slowly, pieces of information are starting to come into focus.
Something else is starting to happen – I begin drinking glass after glass of water. Fifteen years ago when a similar temporary amnesia/aphasia occurred, I felt that dehydration might have been contributed to my problem. After pounding my third 20 ounce plastic cup of water, I am feeling alert and aware. Could dehydration be a connection the medical professionals are missing? Or is my condition just running its course?
I spend the next hour sipping water and talking nearly non-stop to Mandy about things in my life that I am starting to remember. My constant chatter is proving to myself that I am coming out of this rabbit hole of amnesia, aphasia, and confusion. I know I am talking a lot, but Mandy gets it. She understands that my words are going a long way in convincing me that I am going to be okay.
As I come out of the fog this evening, Mandy’s presence is a gift beyond anything material she could ever give me.
After 9P, Mandy steps out when Dr. Braden fills me in on what’s what. I am staying the night and tomorrow there will be some big-time tests of my heart and brain. Shortly thereafter, the nurse wheels me up to room 220.
Next Wednesday, part 5 highlights my overnight in the hospital and my road to recovery.