Today I visited a friend in the hospital. He had the misfortune to become dizzy while climbing a high ladder, and fell, breaking his spine in three places as well as his neck and a rib. Amazingly, he did not become paralyzed, and has already begun the long task of regaining mobility.
I visited him on Sunday, but he was completely out of it, so I left, and didn't have the opportunity to return till today, when I found him much improved. That is to say, he was awake and aware, and though he was obviously in some pain, we were able to have a long conversation before the phone started to ring and nurses arrived to take vital signs and bring his lunch.
He complained a little about the indignities of the body, which refuses to behave like the well-domesticated animal it usually is, regressing to a form of infancy that requires him to be tended and coddled.
It may be the last time I can visit him in the hospital because he is about to be transferred to a VA Hospital too far away for me to get to, so I'm glad I saw him. I will try to make time to go tomorrow too.
It is the 2nd anniversary also of my mother's death, but going to the hospital didn't bring the rush of emotions it had on Sunday. Maybe that's because mom never went to this hospital. She was hospitalized far less frequently than dad altogether, in fact, though she had cancer that we discovered when I took her to the hospital (a different hospital) to have her broken arm treated and went back on a regular basis for chemo until she could no longer tolerate it.
Though both of them died the same week, my father first, I feel far more regret about my father's death than my mother's because she had dementia, and it was only getting worse, and she could not leave the bed because of her broken leg. My father, on the other hand, still loved life and had the strongest desire to enjoy it of anyone I have ever known. It felt as though I had already lost my mother long ago, while, in one way, I had only just gained my dad during the 5 years at the end of his life, when he was treated for his bipolar disorder, and could live a happy and relatively normal life. Still, it was a difficult, terrible time, and it affected me far more than I realized at the time, leading to all kinds of unforeseen consequences in my life that are still in fact unfolding in a way.
Not all of these are bad. In a way, I was able to break loose as far as my writing was concerned much more than before. Maybe it was because of all the emotions roiling around in there that made it possible for me to write more effectively than I had before, and gave me time and space to work on this.
I hope for my friend and his family that positive changes come about for them, despite the exceedingly difficult and painful period that lies before them.