I remember thinking people would probably send carnations. We would probably receive a “Get Well Soon” flower delivery or two. Keith would wake up groggy and be in some pain. He would have sutures and a surgery wound to deal with, and he would be sore. It would take time to get his gut working again. He would be on liquids, then move to soft foods. He would grumble about wanting fried chicken.
Our room was stark and smelled like procedures and plastic and surgery. The couch had not been great the night before, so I set about to find a recliner, and oh glory, I found one. A nurse helped me push it into our room. I got a few extra sheets and white hospital blankets. There sat the styrofoam-encased plastic pitcher of semi-cold water next to the nonslip socks.
He did wake up and was for sure really groggy. He slipped in and out of sleep, and he did have pain. He had a catheter, a drain, monitors, and IV’s. His belly and colon had not “awaken” yet, but doctors and nurses listened to his tummy with a stethoscope every time they came in the room. There was not a single bowel sound to speak of…not one gurgle or growl yet. Just silence. So we would wait longer and check again later.
His belly should be waking up soon.
This was the first time I had seen Keith undergo anything major. He was always tough and commanding, outgoing and silly, risque and irreverent. I remember thinking he was a hero for being so unafraid, dealing with the pain he had, and donning that big stapled-up, zipper of a wound. I remember looking at him in that bed, weak and down. I wanted him to wake up. I was ready to hear belly sounds. I wanted to take good care of him. I mean it REALLY hit me that I wanted him to open his eyes and see me and start healing.
I posted two memes that day.
The day was long with only a few moments of lucidity and little conversation from Keith. He stayed still and adequately dosed with morphine. Keith’s mother came and maybe a couple of other close family members. My mother brought the children who were 13 and 8 at the time, so they held his hand and looked at him in the bed mostly. She brought me my favorite red blanket.
We didn’t get any flower deliveries, but my recliner and my blanket were heaven sent. I was not leaving.