Saturdays at Orchard Creek are sleepy and silent. Of course it was snowing here today—seems like it’s snowed for weeks on end—but it was warm enough that the skiers and dog walkers were out on the beautiful trail that runs behind the building, so there was no end of movement outside.
Inside though, it was hushed and still. Many of the patients have gone home, or will go home within the next couple of days. I am pleased for them: one is Al, who has really become quite spry—he’s handy with the walker and is quite the food critic as well. It seems he managed a commercial cafeteria in his earlier years, and as he gains strength, so does his voice: “I’d be ashamed to serve something like this!” and “Cutting a piece of beef isn’t rocket science—how come you still make an unholy mess out of a brisket?” Of course, his rage is directed at an absentee ‘chef’, who is downstairs in the bowels of the basement kitchen. Al will do fine at home though: he can play cards with ‘The Boys’ as often as he wants and wear his red and black flannel shirt and his blue checked flannel pants and no one will say a word!
Others are gearing up to leave as well, including Motormouth, who cruises the hall in the middle of the night, telling his life story to anyone who will listen (and most of us have gotten wise and shut our doors). Motormouth seems to think that the entire care staff is here for his own personal benefit: “Empty my wastebasket.” “Bring me a pain pill.” “I need ice water.” I think this Lord and Master role he assumes is directed at staff…but on second thought perhaps that’s the way he treats women in general. I think everyone will be happy to see him go and take his new knee and his false teeth with him.
As for me, people ask ‘how long will you stay at Orchard Creek?’ The answer is, ‘I don’t know.’ As long as I have this spacer where my hip joint should be, I will not be able to put any pressure on my right foot. So think Wheelchair and Walker. I will also be getting the antibiotic every other day, so I will need help with that. Perhaps as I begin to feel better I will have the energy to cope with these daily chores, but right now I am perfectly content to be under house arrest, as it were.
How do I spend my time? Reading, mostly. And on the computer. I’ve written a few things, completed a feasibility study for a software product, and I am working on a large one-day real estate conference which will be held in Michigan in April. Soon I will begin a research and writing project, and I am really looking forward to it: it will help me escape the landscape of blood draws and picc lines and other medical necessities. I also rely on friends to visit me and bring me a fresh breath of The Outside World as well as occasional meals and treats (I secretly agree with Al on the food issue here at OC).
No, it’s not all bad, I think to myself as I pull the quilt over me and grab the latest in the series of mystery stories that I ordered from Amazon Dot Com. And if things get really slow, there’s always that lovely box of See’s Candies that Ginnie sent me from San Francisco….