In early November I started inviting people to a New Year’s Eve party at my house, and the invitations were casual: email, face to face, phone. One reason for the party is that my son Clayton and his wife Maria were flying in from Seattle for New Year’s and I hadn’t seen them in a year and a half. Then right before Thanksgiving I received my new heart (see original post if that is news), but there was no way to call off the party since I couldn’t remember who all I’d invited. That didn’t much matter as my medical advisor said I could be there if I wore a mask. I told people that at midnight I was going to have my first martini in nine years (I quit drinking New Year’s 2000-01). So much for plans.
New Year’s Eve was on a Thursday, as you know, but on Monday I reported to my doctor that I’d run a fever on 101° the night before, and he condemned me to the hospital immediately. I thought I would be in overnight (as would have been the case any other week), but no; I was in for EIGHT DAYS. With the labs mostly shut down from Thursday until the following Monday (when I was promptly released), they couldn’t get the lab work back to make a proper diagnosis. Meantime there were tests aplenty, and the usual joy of living in a hospital, medieval torture bed included.
On Wednesday Clayton and Maria arrived at noon, and I had friends who knew them pick them up. It was Clayton’s 37th birthday the day before, so my ex-wife Charleyne and her second ex-husband and his significant other (who had gone to high school with Charleyne!—long story about all of these relationships some other post) had a birthday dinner at a local restaurant in his honor on Wednesday evening. I wasn’t there.
C & M came to visit me each day for long periods, and Clayton came back twice alone (we are writing an opera together—another future post subject). On Thursday the party went on without me, handled by those mentioned above. At 11:30 p.m., I phoned the house and was put on speaker-phone. I said to them:
“Here’s the problem: you’re all at the wrong place. The real party is in room 5004 at the Ross Heart Hospital. Get down here immediately!” This was followed by some other quasi-witty remarks before I wished them all as good 2010 as I was planning on having with my new heart.
The next day was the Rose Bowl. At home I have a 60 inch TV, but the hospital’s was small and not easy to see. At least the Buckeyes won, so I’ll take that (my chief doctor turned out to be an Alabama alum!).
Everything was slow until Monday when the doctors saw the test results, decided I had aspergillus (a fungal infection), gave me pills to treat it, and sent me home. The nightmare in the release from the hospital will be the subject of my next post since it involved among other fun, my playing Houdini, blood, and lost valuable objects.
So I’m home (in my own bed again) and happy. I feel great. Once the fever was under control (Wednesday) I had no other symptoms, and felt like a perfectly well man being stuck in a hospital as if it were a prison sentence. If I’d known at the beginning of 2009 what was going to happen, I couldn’t have picked a worse week for a trip to the hospital.
So that is how I threw a party which I didn’t attend. Everyone else had a great time. As for me, after I hung up the phone, I promptly fell asleep and missed midnight.
But that martini is still in the works.