Saturday, April 26, 2008

hospital time

Hello sweethearts, Poppa Savage and Poppa Daily have a new offering from the hospital series for you folks to ingest. Hope a spoonful of this makes the medicine go down (yes, I'm sorry for having just made that joke, but you try being funny while watching the special features on the movie Parenthood).

obese woman in wheelchair

Yes, Zelda has fits, and yes she stammers. She can’t seem to get around the hospital at all. She spins in place in her wheelchair, one hand often tugging on rubber wheels, mouth vacant at times, eyes pale. She is mindless, mostly, with few moments of sanity and brevity. The saddest part is her realization of her dementia. The nurses of the floor try not to pay her notice when she asks them to let her go. These are the last moments of her life, she admits, but does not cry. She, in her lucid moments, would rather watch the people on the floor come and go. She would rather grab at their hands and ask them where they’re off to, where they think they’re going. Zelda would climb and clamor towards the reception desk on strange nights, swore that she should be naked, and try to answer the phones. It was a game of lust and clumsiness; Zelda was unsure of all motion. Spinning, over and over in circles, was her only redress in the face of the hospital steps and elevators and long winding halls of bland carpet or linoleum. Her only real escape was in the alleys of her dreams.


She was dancing with a bear. A big grizzly wearing a top hat and
whistling. Zelda yodeled out a merry mountain tune. The clouds were neon pink
and the earth was lava. She heard footsteps. She saw ghosts everywhere with
golden teeth. She was happy. The bear took her hand and fed her grapes. Oh,
how she fell in love every summer.


Zelda awoke this time to fuzz. She was conscious for three hours only the day previous and seemed to be rewarded a sparing night of clarity upon waking. She rolled from her room to the floor and was poised for the search and discovery game. Here a nurse bent low to tie her shoe; oh black weeds of hair, Zelda thought, oh grand hips of old age and slow motion. There stood a warehouse man, young of course, bold with his brash stamp of brown hair; Zelda imagined for him a plane crash, or a dreary pool drowning. And further on, Zelda found little cries of children, old television screens, endless reams of white frocks, and the errant bottle of toxin or two. She rolled to the edge of the hall and let out a unanimous roar. Her mind felt warm, too cool to be in the possession of a forty-nine year old. “Here you are, old girl,” she whispered, and watched the attendants come marching her way, ready to bandy her about and reprimand her for her yell. She began to wheel towards them. This time both hands cooperated and miracles transgressed. She imagined herself a bullet train and sped on. The orderlies shrugged smiles from their faces and prepared for a motionless impact. But at the last second, a gurney of unknown origin sailed into a cross-section of the hall and butted Zelda’s chair. The old gal was tossed with force and her hefty body slid from the seat. She landed on her side but managed to crash her left temple with a white wall. She watched the rampage of the concerned orderlies dash her way, then it was lights out.


The sky was dripping goo, perhaps paint. Zelda grabbed a paintbrush and
dipped it in the sky. She was eleven feet tall and strong as an ox. Her best
friend Daisy was baking squirrel pie. The image of sweet morning dew reflected
in her eye. Zelda took off her clothes and humped a tree trunk until bloody.
Her smile said it all. It was dinner time back at her grandfather's cabin.


It was not Zelda’s fault that she be stricken down and tied to a bed. It was not her fault that when she came to she was biting and scratching. It was not her fault that life seemed to fail her. It is not the place of any individual in the hospital to tell her what was and wasn’t her fault. Zelda decided herself. Everything, she determined, the rote wind of the sky, the callous caution of young love, the eagerness of doctors to jangle their car keys, was her fault. She was convinced and began to shake her head. Slowly the dementia settled. It was not fair that such a woman have blistering lips and fattening thighs. It was not fair that she should rest atop a mattress for fifteen hours daily. It was not fair that a callow girder might give way and collapse upon her spine and neck. Zelda did not laugh, she did not smile, but she didn’t cry either. Her eyes deadened. Back to dreams, at least, and she was free in many ways.

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