Mr. Capote shares a room with Max and has the side with a window. It’s also the side with the television. I used to assume that the window side was reserved for V.I.P.’s (i.e., people with better insurance) but now I have no idea how the beds are assigned.
We want Mr. Capote to leave, so Max can have the window. I don’t want him to die, just to leave.
At first, Mr. Capote was just an obscure and disgusting nuisance. He is 79 but looks much older, with a bald bullet head and hunched posture. Every so often, he grunts “Son of a bitch!” with great feeling. No one comes to visit him. Ever.
Most of the nurses and aides have trouble with his name. They call him Mr. Caputo, Mr. Capoat, and at least once, Mr. Cooper. He never corrects them. He sits at the edge of his bed for hours at a time, dozing off and leaning sideways very precariously. He has breathing treatments and physical therapy. I believe that the toes on one foot have been amputated. He pees in a big plastic bottle that he keeps on the tray where he eats.
For the first time in two weeks, a caretaker engaged him in conversation. He is from central California. In other words, he’s an actual person, not a thing to be warehoused in a gray room in a pretend hospital.
Today, I asked Mr. Capote if I could use the lounger chair that had migrated from Max’s bedside into Mr. Capote’s side of the room. He said “Sure, go ahead.” When I had trouble moving it due to my walker, he even made a move to get up and help me. I told him, “No no no, I can do it. We don’t want you falling and ending up like me!”
Where is Mr. Capote’s fucking family?! I still want the window, but when Mr. Capote is discharged to god knows where, it will be a hollow victory.