The trip marked the beginning of a rough journey: from the ER, to the image department to have a brain MRI; from there, with an IV on my arm, back to the ER; from the ER, to the operation room to have surgery; and from the OR, to the recovery room, where I had to wait until Thursday 5 AM when they transferred me to a room in the ICU. The ER was full of noise. Nurses were running back and forth responding to emergencies. There were screams and loud conversations. We had to wait for hours dazzled by strong lights. Finally, the results showed an infection on the scalp, which called for brain surgery. The morning after, the neurosurgeon told me that the surgery had gone well. They’d taken out the infectious tissue and sent it for culture. The bone plate was clean, but they’d taken it out just in case. And I’d be moved to a room, despite the hospital’s being full to the brim.
I was finally transferred to the ICU, to a beautiful room overlooking the river. Yet, I experienced the sense of helplessness that being far away from potential help makes you feel. Everywhere you looked at I was hooked on lines: to monitors that checked my Oxygen, blood pressure, and heart rate; to “boots,” as the staff called it (inflating cuffs put on my legs to prevent blood clots from forming on my veins); and to plastic bags with fluid and IV antibiotic. I was prisoner on my bed; when I had a need that required me to move away from it, I had to press the call bell and wait for the front desk to call whoever would be free – the hospital was in dire need of staff because of the COVID epidemic.
After ten days of IV antibiotic, they discharged me. I spent ten day days in solitude after Eric had come visit and left NYC for Beacon to stay with Nathan; ten nights in solitude, in fear, waiting for the sedative to make me sleep peacefully. The day I was discharged, I spent twelve hours full of mistrust, checking if they’d sent the form for Eric to sign and if they’d brought me the wheelchair (Eric wasn’t allowed to bring our wheelchair from home). Finally, when we crossed the threshold of the hospital and my chair’s wheels hit the sidewalk, I breathed a sigh of relief.
Eric and I felt very happy to be in Beacon. When we finished our daily routine, I fell fast asleep and didn’t wake until twelve hours had gone by. It was a great New ¥ears Eve celebration: despite the fear and anxiety it caused in me, I was very, very happy to be home.