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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
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My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Monday, August 9

50 & Hospitals

Right to the minute, exactly fifty years ago, Floyd Jerome Travis and Rosalie Carol Zimmer were married in a little church in Pierre, South Dakota, witnessed by Richard Earenfight Travis and Doris Louise Larson Travis. Amazing. FIFTY years ago.

This was supposed to be my blog for Thursday, August 5, at exactly 11:32, which was the time we tied the knot. But it never happened. I wasn’t home to post it. I was in the hospital for five days, beginning on Wednesday and ending, finally, on Sunday. It’s a long story and one I hope never to repeat.

On Wednesday, I went to the hyperbaric unit in Jeri’s Mazda. Her car because Jeri and Rosalie drove to Prescott to finalize Jeri’s house rental and to buy some furniture. I was okay with the Mazda even though it’s about three inches off the ground and I’m too old to be getting into a seat that’s that far down, and it has no air conditioning except for whatever air passes in through a front window and out through her windowless back end. I didn’t, however, reckon with the damnable highway work on Bell. When I went through the light at QT, I could see all the cars stacked up on the rise leading to Sun City. All they have to do is shut down one lane and the world comes to a halt. I made it to the turn at Del Webb in twelve minutes and after four or five light changes, made it to the hyperbaric unit right at 1:00, stripped down and donned my hateful hospital gown, climbed aboard my bed/table and had Debbie take my blood pressure, which was even higher than normal, way higher. Dr. Shaw, the attending physician, took a reading and told me I wouldn’t be doing a dive that day. In fact, I was to be transported to ER to get my pressure lowered and regulated. So Karen packed up my clothes and wheel-chaired me to ER where they took my bp at 235/105, dangerously high. They put me in an ER stall and gave me a shot of something to bring it down quickly, hooked me up to an IV drip, attached lines to my chest to monitor vital signs and an automatic cuff to check bp every quarter hour, sucked out three vials of blood and informed me I’d be spending at least one night with them. After seven hours in ER, they took me to ICU where, although with very good care and wonderful nurses, I was kept against my will for Wednesday night, all of Thursday (our fiftieth), Thursday night, and then sent on Friday afternoon to the transportation unit, where I’d be until they discharged me. And as each day passed, I kept expecting them to release me the next morning. And each morning I’d be informed that they were keeping me another day. I’m not the most patient patient under normal circumstances, but in a hospital bed with wires hooked just everywhere to inhibit movement, I’m a bear. But the people working on me were so nice, I just had to hold my grizzly bear in.

Several observations about my stay at Boswell Hospital.

Hospital food is just as bad as it’s ever been reported to be, especially when you have to eat sitting on the bed and sort of leaning forward to consume it. And it’s usually an unsavory assortment of too many things. The first morning they served me a small cup of scrambled eggs that resembled yellow/gray Play-Do, a carton of milk, a carton of apple juice, a bowl of congealed oatmeal, a small blueberry muffin, and a cup of luke-warm coffee. And never enough condiments: no salt, one low-sodium pepper, not enough sugar to go for both oatmeal and really bad coffee. The rest of my meals were somewhat better than the breakfasts, but still not very appetizing.

Sleep is nearly impossible, at least any kind of sound sleep. There are almost hourly awakenings for more pills or for taking vitals. You’re in a foreign location, you don’t have your own pillow, there’s too much light, the temps are too high, the bed clothes get sort of slippery from a hot body. And when you have a roommate, the awakenings are doubled.

Every doctor that comes to see you asks essentially the same questions you’ve already answered.

I wouldn’t have believed the number of tests I had done while I was there: two EKG’s, a chest x-ray, a sonogram for my abdominal aneurism, a sonogram for my kidneys, and so many blood draws I lost count.

And finally, I was amazed by the number of really attractive nurses and nurses’ aids. I may be old, but I’m not too old to appreciate feminine beauty, and Boswell was loaded with really beautiful women. I was allowed to make my escape just after noon on Sunday, and when I got home and looked in a mirror, I was greeted by a face that had blossomed with rosacia, red skin over both cheeks and chin, and a sort of gray scaling on chin and upper lip. Just what I didn’t need was another medical condition to go with all my other ones.

I’m going to make enough life changes to guarantee that I’ll never again have to spend any more time in a hospital—finally lose that ugly twenty pounds (and I don't mean my ugly head), cut way back on the alcohol, start an exercise plan. And this time I really mean it.

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