Illness and Light

Nausea has come and gone and come again for nearly a week now.  I thought it was food poisoning.  Finally, yesterday morning, I went to Emergency to figure things out.  (Turns out it was a bacterial infection.  I now have antibiotics.)

I waited in the triage chairs for my turn to be seen.  Those seats are right beside a sliding door that kept admitting the cold as people came and went.


Overhead, a TV was blaring out a news channel, complete with on-the-spot reporting and brassy commercials.


After I was registered, I sat back down in the waiting room at the far end, away from shivering and blare.  A couple sat down on triage chairs, her head slumping away from him, his hand on her shoulder.  He continued to comfort her as they waited to be seen.


The vague nausea swept over me again.  Such a sense of not being present in my life’s moments.  Harder to reach Jody, to talk to her.  (“Bruce, I am here with you, even if it’s hard to sense me right now.  I’ll always be here with you.”)  But I can’t hear these words.  Jodiette, where are you?


I wonder if I will get to the point in life where I’m totally accepting of what the world sends my way.  Where there’s no sharp demarcation between this being good and that being bad.  Maybe.  Maybe not.

Anyway, time to be ushered into the inner sanctum of Emergency.  I was in a long room which had been divided off into five curtained spaces.  I lay on my back, zipped up my parka and pulled on my mitts.  So cold.  And there I lay, comforted by the fact that I was no longer alone.  Someone would help me.

I heard voices from elsewhere in the room – doctors advising their patients, nurses coming and going, family members being with their loved ones.  I heard stories of not just nausea, but major vomiting.  And I felt small.  Here I was, not having vomited once in my week of discomfort, on the edge of feeling sorry for myself.  I decided to let the smallness go.  I deserved better.

And then I hear a woman tell her husband, “I left the meds list at home.  Stupid me!”  And I started crying.  Silently: “No!  You’re not stupid.  Please don’t say that.”  I was weeping for someone other than Jody.  And my wife was happy.  “You care so much, Bruce, about all these people.  I’m so glad you’re my husband.”

And now I’m crying for my darling wife Jodiette again.  “You are here, Jody.  I feel you.  Oh, my wife.  My darling wife.  We will be together in body again.”  “Yes, Bruce.  We will.  As for now and the rest of your life, I am with you always.  Every moment.  In sickness and in health.  In joy and in sorrow.  When you’re alone and when you’re surrounded by friends.  Always.”

I love you, Jodiette.

I love you, Bruce.