When the doctor came into my room on March 15 morning, my heart was beating fast (as I told you, Reader Dear). It's just an expression, of course, to denote excitement. But, Dear Reader, as it turns out--My heart really was beating fast. Too fast!
In doctor-speak: "I'm concerned about your heart-rate. I want to see if we can get that stabilized before you go."
Did the dear doctor see my shoulders slump? Did he note the despair in my voice when I asked in a tiny voice, "Do you think I can leave tomorrow? I mean, what are the odds I will be here three weeks from today?"
The chances were good, he assured me, that I could leave the place tomorrow. But...Reader Dear, I'd been fooled by "chances" too often!
However, I tried to make the best of it. Tried to remain optimistic. Told myself: "There's too much snow, anyway! This is a blessing in disguise. That ambulance driver is probably young and not used to driving on icy roads! Much better to spend more time here and not end up in a snowbank along the expressway!" I worked hard at convincing myself that one more night was doable.
"Be still, my beating heart!" I instructed. But quickly thought to add:
"Well, not TOO still!" Reader Dear, much as I cherished my visit with Mother Mary, it seemed a bit premature to fly off for a second tete-a-tete!
I did not make another chart to pass the time, partly due to the fact that I actually took a trek to the Speech Therapist's room, where I was fitted with a Passy Muir valve for my tracheostomy tube. Now, Reader Dear, you likely know nothing about the Passy Muir valve*, and neither did I at the time. To my great delight, however...suddenly, talking was about as easy as pie! (Of course, I wasn't eating pie at the time, but I did still have a memory of the ease with which most pies go down) At any rate, it did not take nearly as much stamina to carry on conversations, speak at length.
After the valve was installed, I came close to chattering (you know, Reader Dear--yakety-yakking, prattling!) It was such a pleasure to talk with ease!
*Named for the patient who invented this valve ( yes, he, too, suffered near-death; he, too, wondered at his inability to speak; he, too, was filled with despair! But, it challenged him to
greatness, rather than moaning and groaning and writing notes about
dying if he had to spend one more night in rehab! Had I known his story, I would (possibly) have felt ashamed, as I spent yet another night in Harrisburg, awaiting discharge on (possibly) the following day.