I have spent the last 6 days in a hospital room on a reclining chair to the right of my mom's hospital bed. I cried briefly when her colleague called me from the Virginia Mason
ER 7 days ago and a few minutes later on the phone with one of her good friends to relay her condition and location. She told me to pull it together and I haven't let a tear fall since.
I sleep a couple hours of interrupted sleep a night in the reclining chair. The nurses visit nightly to check vitals, replaces IV's and perform other medical rituals. The chattier one tells us about the sharecropping farm her family owned in the south and her family's generosity to the Blacks that worked it or the Haitian woman in a New Jersey hospital she once worked who wouldn't allow her to insert an IV into her faintly visible veins.
In the morning, I help her get ready because in addition to the pulmonary emboli
that landed her here, she has a broken ankle and twisted knee. It's a crack of dawnish start but she's an early riser.
I walk to Madison Market
for lunch most days, tracing my way back downtown through the gentrified blocks encircling the old Black church that raised me looking for drunks, the raggedy white vegans that ran my favorite cafe and Black folks but finding nothing colored but blooming tulips.
Otherwise, I sit at her right and ask how she's doing, set up her tray for meals, ask her to to turn the channel from MSNBC and hand her gossip rags since they're better hospital reading than the Seattle Times my uncle brings or the TIME and Newsweek's her friend Dee drops by.
There are a lot of flowers in here. A monstrous arrangement for her colleagues, roses from Auntie Lynn, multicolored tulips from me, orchid and other species I don't know from folks I can't right now recall.
There are a lot of visitors too. My mom's warm and chatty and civically and ecumenically involved. On a phone conversation a few weeks ago I asked her what she did that day. She said she had taken organic lemonade to some local firefighters or construction workers, I can't recall which, 'cause it was hot.
I snapped at her this morning. I had just washed my pimply face with some Cetaphil I picked up from the Bartell's down the street. As I made way back to the reclining chair, she summoned be back to the basin to dry it. When I told her to chill on the nagging, she said that her request didn't warrant such a snippety response. It was hard to press my point, her being in a hospital bed and all.
Now I'm watching over her things, the credit cards and couple hundred dollars of cash in her wallet, blackberries, cellphones, this laptop that I'm blogging on courtesy of Virginia Mason's free wifi, while she gets a stress test. Her EKG is slightly abnormal and she had tightness in her chest last night but they say she'll be home tomorrow. My uncle, here three days from Kansas, is preparing to welcome her back with some Nigerian dish she apparently likes and I've never heard of. It probably won't be vegetarian and even if it is, I probably won't eat it.
We are trying to get her to move from her old rental on an unlit, tree-canopied, Lake Forest Park dead end street to a small 1 story centralized condo. We've been trying. Now she seems with it. She's too far from her friends. My sister and I been left. She can't be out there by herself.
I wanted to blog 'cause I was tired of reading celebrity's business on the gossip blogs I gave up for lent or trawling twitter for something to reply to. I wish I had had a transcript of an interview to work from, notes on a concert or a film, to spark some admiration or outrage but it's just me. I'm hoping she gets back soon so I can take a passport photo before the rain comes. My curls won't last and I want a half-decent picture.