My best friend washed my hair last night. It was matted and vomitty and she poured water over my head that ran down my back and drenched my borrowed dress. It was sublime. Today my sister came over and shaved my legs. She did a much better job than I’ve ever done. Maybe I can get her to do it from now on.
In the hospital, I shared a room with Dorothy, an 85 year old woman whose voice was weak and quavery. Poor Dorothy had been in the hospital for four weeks without getting a diagnosis. She complained that her hands and arms were purple from being stuck with needles.
Dorothy was miserable. She suffered endless indignities, like a night nurse who inquired loudly “You need go poo-poo?”
One day, Dorothy’s son came to visit. I couldn’t see them behind the curtain that divided our beds. The son had a deep booming voice and began reading letters from lawyers, concerning a quarrel over her estate. Her younger son was mentioned and characterized as a shyster. The Booming Man, Gene, wanted to be named executor of the estate, instead of the shyster. Dorothy was barely able to respond. She probably just wanted a sip of water or a bedpan.
One night I started crying and told Dorothy that I just wanted someone to shoot me. She answered back, “Me too.”
When I’m back on my feet, and I will be, I’m going to find Gene. I’m going to make him sorry for being a monster and a douchebag. I’m completely serious. That’s how I know I’m still me.