Today is a day of outings. Not the kind of outings splashed on tabloid headlines and secretly read by concerned conservatives. No, these outings are the kind that mark Aaron’s road toward independence, for us as significant as the national holiday coming next week.
The first outing comes with dawn: the gallbladder surgery drain tube. Drainage has slowed to a trickle, so Dr. Snickle says to Aaron “This may be a little uncomfortable” (which is another CODE, a special Doctor Code, for “You are going shriek in agony with excruciating pain”). A deft snip with the scissors, a quick tug by the doctor, and a sucking yelp from Aaron; the drain tube is out.
The TPN (food straight to the vein) having been discontinued, there is no further need for the PICC line (until the next round of poison). Dr. Lee repeats the special Doctor Code, works away at dissolving the adhesives around the line entry just above below the bicep on Aaron’s left arm, then pulls out the foot long line that penetrated all the way to the superior vena cava just about the heart. Aaron’s arm is pins and needles the whole way out. But the line is gone, and with it the last remnant of the tingling numbness. So Dr. Winston was right; it was the line after all. Nerves like the nourishment they get by staying close to blood vessels, so little unnatural goings-on inside vessels do not always escape notice by the masses of vigilant neurons.
The final outing of the day is the most momentous. One of the remarkable similarities between hotel rooms and hospital rooms is the location of the bathroom: it is almost always next to the room’s door to the outside world. This is not a conspiracy to confuse hospitals and hotels: hotels, no matter how exclusive, could never with a straight face charge $50.00 for disposable bedpans; for this reason alone (and there are many others) it is obvious that a conspiracy to confuse hotels with hospitals would never get far. The real reason is because hospital builders and hotel builders belong to the same union, and this union, unlike most unions, encourages humor. And like it or not, it must be admitted that just the thought of confused occupants stumbling into corridors at 3 a.m. looking for bathrooms is very funny.
Aaron’s hospital room layout conforms to the standard. It’s a good 12 steps from the bed to the bathroom. With dad pushing the IV stand behind, Aaron makes today’s final and best outing. He does not confuse the hall door with the bathroom door, he makes the proper left turn through the bathroom door.
Such a fuss over Aaron sitting on the toilet has not been made in 28 years.