Sunlight streamed through the open blinds of the hospital room.
“Rich, you’re awake.” Julie, my primary nurse. “Wow, you had a tough night. It’s good to see you this morning.”
I tried to banish the confusion. Oh, yeah. Hospital, injury, pneumonia. I didn’t remember going to bed last night. Julie must have noticed the frown.
“You’ve been a little out of it for a couple of days. How are you feeling?”
She continued, “The docs came in early this morning. Your lungs look better, fever’s down. Seems like things are looking up!” she said in her cheery nurse voice.
“What happened last night?” I whispered.
“The night nurses said you had a really bad evening. Things were getting worse. They discussed moving you back to Intensive Care.
“You apparently became quite agitated.” She paused. “Someone called your pastor.
“I guess he got here pretty late, and he must have stayed here most of the night. But apparently you calmed down when he got here, and then he just stayed around.”
I smiled. “So that’s what it was,” I whispered to myself.
“What?” Julie had heard me murmur something.
“Nothing. It’s OK.”
+ + +
So…heaven? Your thoughts?
On one level, of course it wasn’t heaven. It was Room 3057, in many ways as far from heaven as I could imagine. The dim outline at my bedside wasn’t Jesus. It was just Al, my pastor and friend.
On that level, the pneumonia cleared. Halting, painful recovery resumed. Despair and depression returned.
On that level, sadly, I remained. Stuck. Angry. Certain any sort of meaningful life was no longer possible.
There was, of course, another perspective. I couldn’t see it then, couldn’t see beyond the horrible Frankenstein brace screwed into my skull and the useless, paralyzed body.
To be continued…