Monday, October 27, 2014

Visit to a Friend in the Hospital



My tropical shirt which elicited the question "Did you just return from West Africa?" at the hospital today

On this beautiful fall day I finally got up enough courage to visit my friend "The Cajun" in the hospital. No pictures (at his request).

I'm only a short distance away from Beebe Hospital.  I know it well having spent a few days there myself about this time last year (kidney stones).

A ten minute drive down New Road and in the back way to the hospital's always packed parking lot.  

Made my way to the entrance and the Visitor's Desk.  I saw a sign warning me to inform them if I was recently in West Africa (Ebola).  The lady at the front desk ASKED me if I had recently just returned from west Africa. Um . . . NO.  I asked her why she asked me and she said "You're wearing a very tropical shirt."  Uh . . . okay.

I asked what room the Cajun was in and she told me.  Again, I know my way around the maze of corridors that is Beebe hospital so I made my way up to the 3rd floor.  


Beebe Hospital corridor to the elevators


I got to his room.  The door was closed and all kinds of signs on it warning me about infection. I wasn't sure if I could go in.  I knocked and said his name.  No answer.  I went to the nurse's station and asked.  She said "Knock and go in."  I went back and knocked and opened the door just a wee bit.  There he was, in all his glory, ensconced in a private "penthouse" room in which he is most anxious to get out of, having been there almost three weeks already.  There is a search going on for a ground floor apartment for him (he has a second floor apartment now).

I reached out to shake his hand and took a seat.  I brought a trashy, gossipy Hollywood autobiography by Scotty Bowers with me.



I asked him if he would like to read trashy books.  He said "I don't read trashy books" but he took it all the same (it's a GOOD book, full of juicy tidbits about the sexual picadillos of some of the most famous Hollywood stars).  What self respecting gay man wouldn't want to read such trash?

I seated myself and we had catch up talk on friends and happenings, including our mutual friend's memorial service this past Saturday.I was being very careful not to fall into any verbal faux pas.  A bit later his doctor came in with a mask.  He asked "How are you doing?" and I said "I'm fine!"  The Cajun said "He was talking to me."  Whoops! I was on Automatic Response.  Leave it up to me to put my foot in my mouth.  It's all about me isn't it?  Hard to get out of that habit.




He was expecting his friend Linda to come in with some Chinese food for lunch.  He said he just about had his fill of hospital food.  I told him I would leave as soon as she came in.  I could smell the Chinese food (General Tso's Chicken) even before she came in the door.  I said "Hi!" to her and left through the aromatic vapors of that spicy hot Chinese chicken dish.


General Tso's Chicken - HOT!


I'm glad I went.  I know how it is to languish in a hospital.  Visitors are always welcome but it was hard to determine the best time to visit him because he occasionally runs a fever and is not up to entertaining visitors.  Today was a good day because he wasn't running a fever and felt relatively well.  I even evoked a couple of laughs out of him.  Just like old times.  


"AARGH ME MATES!" (on the Kalmar Nyckel last year


14 comments:

  1. Ron - lovely blog. Great photos - in fact I'm pretty sure I took the one at the end of you two pirates doing the aarrrgg.

    It's good to know Cajun is in good spirits to receive visitors and have some Chinese food. In fact I'm a little envious of his dinner - tho vegetables for me.

    But most of all I bet Cajun was very happy to have had you visit him. I remember my short time with him that day on the boat and I enjoyed his company and sense of humour.

    Pat

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    1. Pat,
      Yes, you did take that "AARGH!" picture. The Cajun does have a wonderful sense of humor, even today under his difficult circumstances he retains his sense of humor. I have so much respect for him.
      Ron

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  2. Ron,
    Well Ebola hysteria is finally coming and headed for full swing. I have been asked at least 3 times if I had been out of the country or visited Africa recently to which I promptly answered "no". The last time over the phone no less I was asked again and politely said "no" then asked the nice lady on the other end of the phone if she realized that anyone could just say no, even if they had just stepped off the plane from Africa. Who could really know for sure. She agreed that she felt a little foolish asking the question but I suppose it makes the medical professionals feel that they are doing something pro active. Whatever.
    Glad you got to see the Cajun, you're right laying in a hospital room forever can really rattle the best of nerves and luckily you caught him when he could really enjoy your visit.
    Here's an early birthday greeting.
    Jack

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    1. Jack,
      Seems as if this country is always undergoing some kind of media driven hysteria. Whether it be swine flu, avian flu or the latest terrorist threat. Back in my (our) day it was the threat of the atomic bomb. Remember how they told us as school kids to get under our little flimsy wooden desks if the Russians dropped an A-bomb on us?
      I'm glad I finally got to visit the Cajun too. I was unsure of when to visit him because he has recurrent fevers and pain. I didn't want to bother him but I do want him to know that there are many who care about him.
      Ron

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  3. Thanks for that, Ron. It's good to get news about the 'patient' that's first hand and trustworthy. Not that his own blogs are not so, but if he sounds optimistic in them I'm always concerned that he might be trying to put on a brave face while in reality he's suffering terribly or has deteriorated. Hence I never know how to comment appropriately on his blogs in a manner that is something more than an anodyne 'best wishes' - and, as you appreciate, it can be a bit like walking on thin ice with one's positive comments unintentionally having a negative or seemingly ironic/sarcastic underside. But as long as he appreciates that silences from his many well-wishers do not mean that he is not in our thoughts, because they most certainly are, day in, day out.
    What you say will have afforded many of us some relief to know his progress. Let's all hope it not only continues but accelerates. Thanks once more.

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    1. Ray,
      You're quite welcome. He is well taken care of but he has to leave the hospital. He has to find a place to live, ground level. Several people are looking now. I made a couple of calls this morning inquiring about eligibility and cost (which is prohibitive in the nice place of course). His prognosis is uncertain but his attitude is good, considering his situation. I don't know if I could handle it as well as he is.
      Ron

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  4. Kudos Ron everyone deserves a friend like you!

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    1. Thanks Roger. I just wish I could do more.

      Ron

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  5. I am glad to see you two are in touch, and Cajun had some visitors I am honored too I was 'there' via the shirt.

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    1. Your shirts always evoke favorable comments and happy smiles whenever I wear them. Thank you kind sir.

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  6. I have a good fiend in a nursing home that I have been putting off seeing there for weeks. I keep saying I'll stop by to see her but somehow I just don't want to go to that facility and see her fighting for every breath from lung cancer.

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    1. Stan,
      You understand. I feel the same way. Also, I don't want to tire him out yet I want him to know that he has people who care about him. My dear friend Bob McC, the last time I visited him at the total care center (nursing home) where he was warehoused was awful. There is no other way to put it. I don't know if he was aware I was there but if he was I'm sure he probably wished I had not seen him like that. It is a tough decision to visit someone you know well in that condition. I visited my father who also had lung cancer and was also fighting for his breath in addition to being so doped up to lessen the pain. This is why I hope when my time comes I just go in my sleep. Then it's over. We all have a certain amount of time on this earth. Then our expiration dates comes due. I just hope I can leave with grace and dignity and minimal pain. I feel so bad for my friends who have to suffer like this.
      Ron

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  7. I am glad you are able to visit and be a friend to The Cajun! I remember his smile at lunch at bloggerpalooza 2 years ago! What a great guy!

    Peace <3
    Jay

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    1. Jay,
      The Cajun is an exceptional person. He has gone through a lot since I met him in 2206 when I moved to Delaware but he has handled all with grace and good humor.
      Ron

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