Months To Years Winter 2019 Months To Years Winter 2019 - Page 53

happened. No one seem to know. Sue was not Go Home, You’re Better kicked Sue out after three one of those people who somehow stayed herself, weeks, sent her home, rehab completed because despite medical institutions. The Sue we knew the insurance ran out. She could not make it to disappeared into unconsciousness that February the sleeping loft, so she rolled onto the couch to day, and the Sue that came out was not someone sleep, wrapping herself in an ancient afghan. Three we knew--no banter, no jokes. She did not even times she fell off the couch in the night, and Dave want to listen to music. Most of the time she just couldn’t lift her back in without help, so he called a sat silent, watching the ever-present TV screen, teenage friend for help, and together they hoisted without sound, answering yes or no if you asked her back onto the couch. Sue muttered to the her a question. I was very lucky that I talked to the physical therapists who came to not use that tone Sue I knew the last time I saw her, but that was of teachy voice with her. The physical therapists months away. gradually dwindled, then disappeared. She stayed at St. Anubis a couple of weeks. I Sue sat all day in front of the TV, watching it over visited her every few days--the usual tubes, growing her swollen belly. We expatriates visited and talked bruises where they had punctured her. Once when I to her. When she didn’t answer, we talked anyway, was leaving, she mouthed “Thank you for coming,” hoping some word would catch her, bring her back. and I thought maybe she was back, but she fell Once she asked where the bill was from Dr. Phillip, into the TV dream right away. When several of us a very specific, and hence hopeful, request. Dave visited, we talked around her: about how high the excavated the mound of papers at her feet to river was, and that Dave was really doing good rescue it. Sue examined it, and told Dave to make work at The Table and The Pantry. sure it was paid, then sunk back into TV torpor. Leaving on icy steps, one of us said that she had We nagged Dave for a diagnosis. We believed lost the will to live. that if a problem could be named, a solution must exist. Dave didn’t know, couldn’t find out, but could Sue and Dave lived on Meals on Wheels. Dave was always tell us how no one was paying attention to helpless to force her to do the physical therapy Sue, how the doctors changed every day, and how exercises; we were unable to name a new problem the janitors knew more than the doctors anyway. so we could come up with the right solution. I talked After two weeks at St. Anubis, Sue was moved to the church pastor, in our helplessly reasonable to the hospital’s rehab center, which we called way, agreeing that Dave could not take care of Sue Go Home, You’re Better. By then, Sue’s legs and anymore. stomach were swollen with edema, bloating her small body. We pestered Dave. It was the puking, The next week Sue was moved to Big Prairie or maybe she had been drinking too much so her Nursing Home. Sue told us that they had put some liver was affected. So, the answer was to see a of her artwork in the lobby. We didn’t see any, so we gastrointestinal specialist right away in the city. asked staff, who knew nothing about it. We brought We gave him a name, feeling good that we were some of her wood-burned pictures and put them up helping, that we had an answer now that we had in her room. Sue never said anything about them. figured out the question. Dave told us he asked the doctors at Go Home, You’re Better, and they Winter faded into spring. Sue was helicoptered said she would die if she were moved. Dave went to the University of Iowa Hospital because of to what they called “consultations,” his only report convulsions. Convulsions? So now it’s the brain, we being that they didn’t know what they were doing. hectored Dave, so now what is the diagnosis? In 53