The Remains of the Day

remains of the day

Things I’ve learned or observed this week:

  • My med doses aren’t high enough and haven’t been for a long time.
  • Nurses are hard-core people.

To be an effective nurse you must not fear the post-op delirium that makes patients call you a mother-fucker when you try to clean them up (my mom’s roommate) and tear out their tubes every minute you turn around (totally my mom!) and have imaginary phone conversations in which they request more heavy pain killers that will prolong their post-op hallucinatory trip to bedlam (also my mom).

  • My sister looks good in aviator glasses.  No one else does.
  • I have seen the inside of a human being.  It was less disturbing than seeing my own heart beating on a sonogram machine.
  • Hospitals are fascinating surreal places and I want to take pictures of everything in them.
  • The flowers in the image above arrived in my mom’s hospital room but it turns out no one we know left them and they weren’t for Sergei the Romancer because he saw them and didn’t claim them.  What’s a little weird is that the arrangement included my mom’s all-time favorite rose Double Delight.
  • Being in a hospital makes me feel like I’m on recreational drugs.  Some people seek this state of being because they think it’s “fun”.  I take psychiatric medications to reduce the natural circus-state of my brain.  If I could run loose and take pictures of everything I could normalize it by stepping slightly behind it.
  • The human body is capable of healing from the most shattering injuries and ailments.  Must remember this the next time I suspect I have some weird disease preventing my skin from un-denting.**
  • My dad is cooler than I thought: I told my sister about my lazy ambition to start a pigeon post and complained about how no one wanted to do this with me.  She suggested I ask our dad who happens to love birds.  So I put the idea in his father’s day card and he actually showed interest.  Seriously.  He loves to name things and has already named it our “Pigeonaire”.  Get it?

Two days ago my mom turned a corner in her recovery, stopped hallucinating (because her infection was finally clearing up), and has started moving and eating again.  She’s doing so well that they’re planning to move her to a nursing facility tomorrow provided her stats haven’t changed.  She’s expected to be there for two or three weeks before coming home.

She has a molded plastic piece of armor called a “clam-shell” to help protect her back which has complicated her surgery.  Having emergency surgery when you already have a compressed fracture in your back is tough and the recovery from it is especially fraught.  This clam-shell thing will help stabilize her back allowing her to move around safely which is vital to her recovery from her unrelated surgery.  This thing – it is an incredible feat of engineering and reminds me that human beings are pretty crafty devils.

I have dubbed her clam-shell the “Plastic Maiden”.

Thank you so much for all of your warm wishes for my mom to heal.  It not only helped me feel more fortified against my fears for her but when I told her how many people were sending her their good wishes and love – she truly cherished your thoughtfulness.

*They may not be risking their lives every day but they most certainly have to be at least twice as brave to face the crooked machinations of broken human bodies that they face every day over and over again.  And they’re expected to do it with kindness.

**AKA “Leg Dentitis”***

***Not a real diagnosis.


  1. Kathy says:

    This is such good news! I agree with you, nurses are the heroes. There’s so much involved, meeting the patient’s every need, monitoring their body and well being, relaying the patient’s needs to the physician and on and on it goes. Much love and support to all of you. You are held close! xxo

  2. Lonnie says:

    Thank you for taking time to give an update on your mom – it made my day! Continued best wishes to you and your family – Lonnie

  3. Ann says:

    Maybe the anonymous flower sender was Wintermute ala The Neuromancer by William Gibson. Through the abilities of a powerful ai, all of the goodwill from your various blog readers has coalesced into the form of the beautiful roses that your mother loves so.

    I hope your mother mends well and soon. I hope all of your lives become less stressed. I’ve been thinking of you and yours.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.