Feb 2019 17

Panacea

Posted In Blog,The world

“I know what my purple bandage means. It means I’m going to die. Purple means I’m going to die. Everyone get the fuck away from me.”

A hospital is a place of science. Cause and effect. Application and result. Trial and error. It is no place to look for signs from above. And yet when I looked over to see this woman who was surrounded by Security in the Emergency Ward, I couldn’t help wondering what she felt in the air that perhaps I didn’t.

“Get the fuck back!”

She had wedged herself into an examining room and was throwing items at anyone who was approaching her – gauze, bandages, whatever she could find.

“We just want to examine you. We want to help you. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”

“No, I know I’m dead. That’s what my purple bandage means. Fuck all of you!”

If there are such a thing as ghosts, souls that haven’t quite moved on, the Emergency Ward in a hospital would be a prime place to find this unsettled energy. Yup, she looked like she she knew voodoo. Black woman with a shaved head. Big stretched lobed earings. She had a Carribean accent. She could definitely hear the ghosts here. And yes I do stereotype a lot, thank you.

My dad and I had been in the ER for about 8 hours at this point. Valentine’s Day Night. Came in at 6pm and it was now 2am and we were wearily waiting for some test results under the flourescent lights and the TV perpetually on CP24 news reminding us of the amber alert for a missing child. And the whole place smelled like a cold. The dozen or so other people waiting with us were getting agitated by this shouting woman’s energy. No one in the ER wants to hear someone’s certainty that they’re going to die. It’s bad for morale, dammit.

I looked at my dad with an excited ‘Can you believe this?’ eyebrow raise and he shrugged back an ‘of course this is happening – it’s 2 am in the ER, Andrew’ look. We had a shorthand about hospitals. We’d spent enough time in them. We’d kind of seen it all. 2 am in the ER and waiting wasn’t new to us.

Just that night alone I’d seen a man in an orange prison jumpsuit coming in with armed police.

A man with a black eye and swollen lip, and the woman with him looking very remorseful on Valentine’s Day Night.

A woman in a wheelchair with her propped up leg so swollen and infected it looked I should go to the cafeteria and find a plastic knife to hack it off myself just to save her life – ‘I just woke up this morning and it was like this – if they call my name I’ll be outside smoking!’.

A teenage girl wearing designer trackpants and Uggs who was hooked up to an IV and looking like she’d had the flu for three weeks but still taking selfies.

Numerous elderly people on stretchers, lining the hallways, some moaning, all trying to maintain dignity in their hospital gowns but with nowhere to go due to lack of space.

A man in a wheelchair by the vending machines who was arguing with the Police that he didn’t want treatment – “Who cares. I’m dead already. My best friend died last week. I’m dead already!”. He said he only wanted to call his family. I gave him 50 cents.

But a woman who could sense spirits, and energy from the universe, and perhaps knew the future? That was a new one. Was she talking to ghosts? I was fascinated.

“Get back! All of you, get the fuck back! The purple bandage means I’m going to die!”

Science doesn’t know everything. That’s why there’s a Chapel in every hospital. The hospital is called ‘Saint Joseph’s’, dammit. The mystical is all around us. The unexplainable. Miracles happen.

For instance, there is no logical explanation for my dad surviving 3 weeks in a coma back in 2003 when 2 doctors said he wouldn’t. He said he had many visions while gone. One, a vision of a Mayan Elder. He was meditating on rock, under the Belizean sun, in a clearing in the jungle. The Elder’s hands were joined in prayer and he turned to my dad and opened his eyes and beckoned him closer.

The unexplainable.

Purple bandage.

What did she know?

“She meant her purple hospital bracelet”, a doctor I talked to the next day said. “They’re colour coded for different types of patients. Purple. It means she’s Aggressive.”

A hospital is a place of science.

 

 

NOTE: My dad is battling pneumonia. It was a bad day today. Lots of antibiotics and trial and error. Hopeful tomorrow brings better news.

Feb 2019 17

Lies

Posted In Blog,The world

“Mmm, Spunow. Sounds delicious. I just hope it doesn’t have coconut.”

Duped for about 0.8 seconds by a hospital vending machine.

 

Feb 2019 16

Make it rain stacks. Of Canadian Tire money. #CanadasDBagPartyStore

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Feb 2019 15

“Before we get to the hospital, is there anything you want to tell me?”

“Like what?”

“You have a secret family somewhere or final wishes nobody knows about like you want a gypsy funeral.”

“Nope.”

And we chuckled together and drove on.

Ah, the things you talk about when taking your 90 year old father to the hospital. Not the expected banter, perhaps. But with the hospital now right around the corner, I knew from experience these would be our last moments alone together before we would be surrounded by chaos.

We’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals together. Although it’s been twelve years since his last extended stay, I knew what we were in for. Like warriors do when the war is over, you put your weapons away, but never forget the skills you learned and hope you’ll never have to use them again. But you’ll be ready.

I was going through my list. Shortness of breath. Gasping. Started three days ago. Low oxygenation level. No pain, coughing or sniffles. And, wait a second.

“What’s that DNR form the staff at your Seniors place gave me?”

“What about it?”

“Your signature’s not on it. Did you really agree to this?”

“Do Not Resesciutate. DNR. Yes. I don’t want to be brought back.”

“What?”

“Yah, all that paddles and defibrillator stuff? Come back as a vegetable. No way. When I’m gone, that’s it.”

Fuck. No secret family. No dramatic returns from the dead with a message like the winning lottery numbers. He was taking all the fun out of this.

“Alright. I’m not sure how I feel about that. But that’s what you want. I’ll respect it.”

We drove on. I could see the hospital now. Valentine’s Day night at the Emergency Ward in Parkdale. This would be no place for the anxious, impatient, or pessimistic. I would have to pretend to not be myself for the next few hours.

“You know that man, Bill, at the place I live. The ex typographer. Married a Japanese woman too.”

“Yes. I like him.”

“He died.”

“What? When?”

“Sunday morning they found him. I didn’t think he looked good on Saturday but he’s been on oxygen for a couple of months.”

“Dad, that sucks. I’m sorry.”

“Yes, the guys. We’re all taking it hard. We were shocked.”

Tall. Wavy gray hair. Kind face. Glasses. Always smiling. Would talk to me about advertising – “That’s a stressful life you’ve chosen, Andrew. If you’re still doing it, you must be good at it.” Gone. I’d never see him again.

“Dad, I’ll never like idea of this world without you, but how do you feel about your own mortality?”

“Being old sucks, Andrew. Life is short. You hit 30 and suddenly you’re 90.”

“You know I’m long past 30, right?”

“You gotta live. It’s short.”

We pulled up to the hospital.

“Well, that’s the thing about a Senior’s home, Andrew. We all know none of us is getting out of there. But when you leave… they carry you out like a hero.”

Valentine’s Day night with the person I’ve dropped everything in my life for on more than one occasion. Seems fitting. My original hero and villain. It has been a bittersweet and toxic romance, although I love him dearly. And this time I’m long past 30.

I spotted an empty wheelchair nearby and remembered – you gotta grab those when you see them.

 

NOTE: After a long night in the Emergency Ward that I’ll probably write about, my dad has been admitted. In fact, as I write this, he is lying in his hospital bed in front of me and trying to pee in a container – “Shit. Bloody hard to find your pecker.” Could be nothing. But don’t forget everyone – life seems short. Even if you get to 90.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 2019 14

Find what you love and let it kill you~ Charles BukowskiSeemed like the perfect day to post this creepy shot of a playing card I randomly came across in #Parkdale last month. #ValentinesDay
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