The Fourth of July at the Hospital

Cindy’s surgery went so well. The surgeon said everything was perfect and the first two days of recovery went well. Then the doctor said something about blockage and recovery taking a bit longer than expected. Two days later he used the the word “ileus,” so I googled it. It’s a fancy word for intestinal blockage, but that’s where I found the information about what would need to be done if Cindy became nauseated. Sure enough, two days later she got sick to her stomach and they inserted a nasogastric tube. It wasn’t pretty.

Cindy had a tube through her nose and down into her stomach pumping out vile stuff for seven days. One of those days was the fourth of July, Independence Day, a U. S. holiday. It’s a special day to us. Our first date was on the fourth of July and because of that we chose to get married on July 4th. It’s our wedding anniversary. There are always fireworks!

Not this year. Cindy slept a lot of the time during her month in the hospital. I stayed with her in her room so I could help her when she was awake. After being awake for a while, she’d go back to sleep for 20 minutes to an hour. Sometimes I would go for a walk for a few minutes.

A favorite destination was the bus stop bench along University Boulevard. Druid City Hospital has a no smoking policy, but family members of patients and some employees of the hospital go to the bus stop to smoke. Conversations there are short but interesting. The photo above showing a helicopter on the helipad was taken near there.

On July 4th I encountered a young man there who said he was staying at the hospital with his mother. He said he really hated to miss celebrating the fourth for two years in a row. The previous year he and his friends started celebrating early and things got out of hand. He ended up spending the fourth in the big house.

My fourth of July celebrations don’t reach the intensity of that young man’s. I usually just grill hamburgers and hot dogs and our family gets together to enjoy some good food and quality time.

This year the young man and I were spending the fourth at DCH. The cafeteria had hamburgers and hot dogs. I ate there but Cindy couldn’t eat. She went for over two weeks without eating much of anything.

I heard about another fourth of July celebration a couple of days later from another man who was seeking employment washing windows. I met him on my way to the bus stop bench. He said he had Windex and paper towels in his plastic grocery bag and he was ready to work. He told me he was “one of the ones that got shot” on the fourth and he pulled up his shirt sleeve to reveal where four bullets had grazed his underarm.

He said their celebration was going fine until people started pulling out their guns and then it got “like Loredo or something.”

My fourth of July celebrations obviously don’t reach the intensity of this fellow’s either.

Our fourth of July celebration in the hospital was pretty low key. During my hour away from the hospital the previous night, I had grabbed our album of wedding photos by Dale Haverkampf. On July fourth in the hospital Cindy and I spent a few minutes remembering our special day. We made it through about half of the pictures before Cindy fell asleep.

About Max Shores 89 Articles
I'm a media producer at the University of Alabama. This is where I play with stuff in my spare time. You can find out about my work at MaxShores.com.