Last Thursday I announced my triumphant return, but left the next day to spend the weekend in St. Paul with Who. After two days staring at golf balls soaring over the shoreline of Wisconsin, we returned to Bloomington satisfied that Sweetie had performed his duties as the first born. I was in a funk on Monday and didn't blog, planning to sum up the grilled yummies on Tuesday...when fate intervened.
On Tuesday evening Sweetie's cell phone started ringing ceaselessly with calls from every relative in southern Indiana. Who's ulcer had burst, and the doctors were trumpeting to get everyone to his bedside ASAP. We threw essentials in the car and drove straight back, while Sweetie played family counselor to relatives with a lot less contact with Who and a lot more guilt about it.
The ones who only see him at holidays, or who live in a big fuzzy cloud of denial, were shocked at his condition, but we weren't. As I've written before only half in jest, we always leave for St. Paul expecting to find Who keeled over on the floor with a hardened liver, blackened lungs, or broken bones from his habit of subsisting exclusively on Coke, Coors Lights, and menthol cigarettes (okay, maybe a pork chop or two). Who is not unaware of the consequences of his choices either, and had everything planned out with Sweetie months before. But we arrived in the dinkiest hospital I've ever seen to a crowd of nay-sayers and doom-sayers...ironically, the most put-together person there was and still is Who himself.
It's been almost 48 hours since Who's stomach perforated, and he's still conscious and kicking. His vitals are steady and he's amazingly coherent, considering the haze of morphine. He's in hell of course, with nurses forcing him to cough and move around to keep pneumonia bacteria and blood clots at bay and surgeons packing his stomach with antibiotic swabs. He can't so much as swallow water and has at least eight tubes delivering various substances to his circulatory system (including tons of proteins in a desperate attempt to make his body build itself back up, because he's so underweight). On the bright side, he hasn't had hallucinations from alcohol withdrawal and a patch should help with the nicotine. All things considered, he's doing okay. We don't want to clap our hands and say that's the end of it, because he's still in ICU and a lot of things can go wrong, but we're not tolling the church bell and raiding his heirlooms just yet.
We'll be camping out in St. Paul/Greensburg through Sunday at least, because regardless of the two routes Who's life could take (either continuing or ending) Sweetie, as the only biological child, will have a lot to take care of. If Who dies, we'll have to take care of funeral arrangements and execute his wishes. If he lives, we'll have to set him up in a nursing home, because he won't be able to eat solid food for months, and will need constant medical attention possibly for the rest of his life. Fortunately, Who was the head of maintenance at just such a home, so they'll just have to switch his status from employee to resident. It's a pretty nice place from what I've seen, with the looks of a classy hotel and a big television and Wii in the common area upstairs. Also fortunately for him, Veterans Assistance should take care of the hospital expenses and the nursing home fees.
There's the long and short of it. We're all set up here for the next few days, and I'll be visiting the Greensburg public library daily to check email and upload blog posts, if there's anything worth sharing. I hope everyone's summer is wrapping up well.