20 little squares circling my head at the speed of light Israeli spies? The hell's going on stop stop stop stop stop stop stop it stop it stop it. Female voices telling me it's okay it's okay you're fine surgery went well everything's going to be fine. A very small man in a white coat with a kind face is patting my right hand and smiling I want to weep he is so kind his face is so kind.
Through the slot in my curtains with the little squares at the top everything is white everywhere including the curtains. There's only one piece of color and it's an American flag. I can't make my brain make sense of that so I ask somebody to move it. It's all I can see and it's unaccountably upsetting to be forced to see only a reminder of politics. But an older woman is not accommodating she gives me the stink eye and I reply I don't want to have this conversation can you move it please? She yanks the slot closed to my curtains but that lasts only long enough for others to arrive. One woman's name is Ava and she has a slight accent. She looks tall from my horizontal vantage point. I awake later to find the flag gone.
Ava is back and we start speaking French to each other she tells me a little bit about where she's from and I tell her that my mother is French. All this time hours going by interspersed with poking and prodding discussions outside of the curtain that I can't hear. Somebody wants to put a catheter into me give me stool softeners I say no no no . Somebody tries to help move my leg no no no no. No! You have to move very slow, don't touch! Please don't touch! Ava tries to wash me I jerk away in uncontrollable pain. She disappears and I begin to sob, for some reason French comes pouring out of me and she returns brusquely what are you doing? What's this? None of this you have to be strong. I'm gulping choking on unbelievable words je veux ma mere
mais elle me traite de mauvaise fille je veux maman Look at me life is hard none of this you hear?
Ava wants to be my advocate. I keep switching back and forth between French and English trying to tell her no I have to be captain of the ship somebody wanted to give me stool softeners and I told him no I react badly to that I don't want them I tell her all about my first experience with childbirth when I blindly took stool softeners and first two days was miserable So no no stool softeners I know my body. Getting mixed messages it seems like English is for official and French's for confidential but Ava is acting like a she doesn't know exactly who she is, maybe she's tired? It's the end of her shift? Random comments amongst staff what you doing tonight imma go home. There's no room to move me to so I've been here 48 hours? Food, coming going I can't eat any of it, can't move, don't touch me, can't sit up. Sorry, we can't get you into a room.
72 hours. The flag is back. Other patients moaning and screaming one guy can't get his book or some food the central concerns of his life. Fuckers he shouts over and over, throwing things clattering all over the floor out of my view of course, I never even see him. He tries to get out of bed somebody says no no, sir, you need to lie down. Fuckers he shouts and someone finally says get security and three of them are there, somebody bumped my curtains so I can see a tiny sliver of activity, uniformed men, one of them speaking softly, gently, it's hard isn't it? You're hungry, this is really hard isn't it, it's hard to calm down, isn't it? The man begins to weep. I just want my fuckin book I'm so hungry, man. The gentle voice continues let's get you something okay? It's hard being hungry must feel terrible, let's get you something okay?
You want some Jell-O? Let's get you a little something. Let's get you back in bed okay? Let's get you settled down, we'll get you a little something. Get you your book.