The Odyssey & Steve McQueen – Part 9

Years ago – I remember seeing a little known Disney movie by the name of Song of the South. Today, I couldn’t tell you a thing about it, not if my life depended on it, EXCEPT – for one song – Zip a Dee Doo Dah…. and by coincidence that was exactly how I felt waking up on that morning, knowing it would be my last in the hospital…..

That’s it and that’s all folks, I was given the A-OK to go home. I was at once elated and terrified.

While it would be swell to get home and away from the antiseptic sterility of the rooms and atmosphere – going home meant there was no safety net. If anything were to go wrong, we would be on our own. That’s scary, because as you see the MACY’s Day Thanksgiving Parade of Staff, including, Doctors, Specialists, Pharmacists, Students, Social Workers, physiotherapists, Nurses they all leave you with a whole bunch of information. Upon leaving your head is swimming with medication schedules and follow-up appointments and things to watch out for, things to do, things not to do and on and on and on….(speaking of Nurses, and in a bit of cruel irony, as I was getting ready to leave – a large group of Swedish Exchange Student nurses came in to start working on my floor….. are you freakin kidding me?)

We gathered my belongings, I slowly got dressed and we slowly made our way out of the building, it was my first time out of the confines, comfort and warmth of that 12th floor surrogate womb and I say womb for two reasons first, it’s a really funny word and second, I was reborn – and that analogy is not too far off – as I was leaving very nearly as helpless and reliant on others as I was during my original birth. As we broke through the doors and  the sun splashed across my face, joy coursed through every molecule of my body, which I guess in retrospect is why I never felt the tranquilizer dart hit my neck….

Apparently the head of Neurology and my Neurologist wanted to see me before I left, her office was still on the hospital grounds but over in a totally different building and that being the case and me not yet having been officially discharged, I had to be escorted in a wheelchair, by a porter. Wheeled outside I groaned, and then all the way across the street… no not at all, said the porter…. we’ll take the tunnel over and back. Oh sweet, I’m going all Great Escape, Steve McQueen for my dramatic exit…


At least that was the image dancing through my head, in reality I might as well have worn a sign that said please stand clear of the sickly old woman – as I sat down and they wrapped a blanket around my legs. We started off and hit the elevators, there is an interesting dynamic one encounters when in a wheelchair and confronted with “walking” folk…. the give you a wide, clear berth – so as not to catch whatever hideous disease I so obviously was about to infect them with. So to try to lighten the mood, and despite the pain – I started to do my really rough cough, the one that sounds as if I had been saving all my phlegm since 1988. I’ve never had so much space to  myself in an elevator. Our destination was the sub-basement, and for one brief moment as we passed the morgue, I panicked and thought I’m never going home – they intend to harvest my organs, Oh Jesus no.. why does it have to end like this…. we passed it without incident….

Twisting and turning through corridor after corridor, there was the laundry, and part of the massive kitchen… we had been walking so long I figured we must be close to Squamish by now – but no, we came out in an underground parking lot, crossed through that into the other building and up the elevator to the offices. Had my appointment with them where they too loaded on the information and med schedules and told me how darn good I was looking. That was that. The porters don’t hang around waiting for you to finished, so the receptionist has to call the porter office again and you sit waiting until they come and get you. Waited about 25 minutes, then who should appear but Albert Einstein again the very guy who wheeled my bed around at the beginning of our little journey.

We had come full circle and with that my story and this part of the odyssey has ended. Thank you to everyone who wished me well, encouraged and prayed for me, – suck it, to all the others… I was on my way home and it felt pretty good.

The ride home was an interesting experience in trying to find my happy safe place away from the searing pain hammering my body – anytime we drove over anything thicker than a dime…. But we made it, and with the final warning from the Doctor to take it easy in the car and putting weight on my hands as it was still exceptionally easy to “Decompress” my chest – translation, split it wide open…. it was the second time I cried in the hospital.

I still have a few months of struggle ahead but maybe just maybe I can now allow myself the luxury of admitting I may see some light at the end of what has been a very long and dark tunnel…. and I’m glad you were able to travel with me for a while….

Have a Great Day