The title of today’s blog should be a hint. I’ll get to it in a minute. Marilyn asked me to bring her clothing, her lap top and myself — in that order. Oh, yes, make sure there’s clean underwear in the clothing bag. Didn’t your mother warn you about going anywhere without clean under wear?? Marilyn sounded relatively upbeat when we chatted on the phone this morning before I left home. I should know better by now. I really should.
By the time I walked into Marilyn’s room at Beth Israel Hospital’s Cardiac Care Unit, things had changed. She wasn’t upbeat anymore. She was in pain. Lots of pain! Marilyn’s right shoulder, her “good” shoulder was the source of the pain. She said she thought she might need Tommy John surgery. Somehow during the past few days, she was jostled around and her right shoulder took a beating. She said it hurt more than her tender left shoulder where surgeons had gone in to implant her pacemaker. Trying to fend off the pain, Marilyn’s breathing became sporadic, exacerbating her situation. A nurse was summoned and a painkiller was administered. It took awhile for the pain to subside and Marilyn’s breathing to become more even. The pain was still clearly etched across her face although she tried not make any loud sounds. I just held her hand, feeling essentially helpless. There wasn’t much I could say that wouldn’t sound like mindless babble.
Finally, Marilyn looked up at me, a smile slowly replacing the grimaces. She patted my hand and softly said, “I love you”. “I love you, too,” I replied. “I love you three,” she countered. Always having the last word. Time crept along slowly. We didn’t say much. I think that was good. Later, a staffer came in to take X-rays of Marilyn’s lungs. There’s still concern about pneumonia. A half hour later, another staffer came in to discuss decisions surrounding which physical therapy facility Marilyn will be going to in one or two or three days. Hopefully, we’ll be meeting with administrators tomorrow to make that decision. Marilyn is anxious to get to PT and begin strengthening her body. She’s bored and restless. But she is still weak!!
The laughs came as Marilyn was trying to make a dinner choice. She read aloud from the hospital menu, making faces as she described each meal. One item caught her eye. The meatballs! She’d had the meatballs a few days ago and there were okay. Matter of fact, she had EIGHT meatballs the first time. They were tiny, Marilyn emphasized, but okay. The only problem was that when Marilyn ordered meatballs again they cut the serving to FOUR small servings. I suggested she go for broke. Take no prisoners. demand EIGHT meatballs!! I left before dinner arrived, wanting to avoid the possible high drama if Marilyn’s meatball demands were not met.
I called Marilyn just awhile ago after finishing my dinner here at home. She sounded upbeat. Maybe chipper. I paused before asking the dangerous question. “How many meatballs did you get??” A short pause. I sighed deeply. “Honey, I got EIGHT meatballs!!”, Marilyn exclaimed. “Wow!!!,” I rejoiced. “You’re on a roll now,” I congratulated Marilyn. She laughed. A nice long laugh. I promised to call later in the evening to make sure all was okay.