Dr Lentrichia comes in while I am eating my breakfast. I have ordered cream of wheat and yogurt, because this is close to what I might normally eat at home. He looks at my food and thinks that I am still on a semi liquid diet. Between the temp and the food, he says that I will still be here another day. I am very disappointed and ask why. He says I need to move up to solids before I can go. I tell him about my turkey lunch, and the beef stew I had for dinner last night. “Oh,” he says, “then you can go home today!” I am elated. He says that all of the tests for infection have come back clear and chalks the fever up to my liver. I will have an appointment with him before I leave the hospital, and he will be on call all weekend if I need him.
Nancy stops by for a visit again, and I take her on the art tour. We laugh at the goofy golf picture and wonder at the oddness of the others.
Kaileigh comes in later with my Sara’s car so she can drive me home. I start to get things together so when the time comes, we can leave more easily. Over the past few days I have accumulated flowers, art supplies, childrens art, hospital art and gifts. I need to fit them together so we can get them home safely.
Diane the nurse in charge of ostomy education comes in to tell me about her art show. It turns out it is sponsored by the medical company Lilly. She has picked up information about the show at a seminar she was at yesterday, and would love for me or someone I know to participate. I tell her I will look into it.
My day nurse, Jasmine, shows me how to change my colostomy bag. She lays things out, and tells me to get them ready before hand. Then she shows me how to change my bag. There will be visiting nurses who will come to my house to help me with this learning process, this is just the first step along the way.
Lunch arrives, and it is pretty crazy. I cannot have raw fruit right now, only cooked or processed. It needs to be soft, with no skins, you get the idea. There is a fruit plate on the low residue lunch menu, served with cottage cheese. I think this sounds good so I order it. I know it it going to be canned fruit, but oh man! It is a family sized mountain of canned fruit that is impossible to eat. Who can eat this much all by themselves I wonder? I do what I can, but there is still a lot of left.
It is getting close to release time. I sign some papers and still need to get dressed. Suddenly I realize that I don’t have clothes that work around this new bag of mine. I am a person who works in a tee shirt, jeans and a hoodie every day. They are good sturdy work clothes that stand up to the rigors of play, and pretty much the extent of my wardrobe. This totally not what you can wear with an ostomy bag, unless your jeans are so low cut that your butt hangs out. these are not the kind I own.
Fortunately I arrived at the hospital with the one loose dress I owned. I added the blue tee shirt that Amy had sent me, and the coordinating socks. It is a stunning look. My feet are a little swollen, and I don’t want to stretch out my new sandals, so I wear my slippers. I will need to get new ones when I leave, since I have been walking around the hospital in them. I don’t want to wear them around the house and expose the kids to anything I may have picked up here. They are pretty worn out by now anyway.
I try to balance stalling with leaving as soon as possible. I don’t want to get home before all the kids leave, it would just be too chaotic. It is only 4pm though, and I really can’t wait any longer. Ayla arrives with some cookies from Pastiche, a token of thanks for the nurses for all their good care. This causes a slight departure delay, the nurses don’t want to miss out on getting their favorite cookie.
I climb into the wheelchair and we fit flowers and gifts around me. Once the door is opened, I am hit with the heat and humidity of the day. For the past few days I have been in a cool, climate controlled building. Outside, wrapped in a blanket and my shawl, I am clearly overdressed, and warm for the first time in days.
As we drive home, I realize that it is dinner time and I am starving. After the disappointing turkey dinner yesterday, what I really want is Boston Market. Everyone agrees that this is a good idea. We stop off to get a rotisserie chicken, corn bread, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans and gravy. Steve, Sara and all my kids are there to share it with me. It is delicious.
Shortly after dinner, I need to go to bed. It turns out that being operated on and being in the hospital all week makes you tired.
I lay in my bed, and listen to the sounds of my neighborhood. Children laughing, people walking by talking, the footfalls of my neighbor running by. I am happy to be home.