Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Lucky Room 305
It’s a joke I repeat as if you could hear me beneath the heavy sedation you’re on, with a dialysis machine doing the work of two kidneys, gathering all the blood in you and sending it back. Lucky Room 305, the same room I was in five years ago in my prolonged ICU stay while you stood on the other side of the bed coaxing me back to life.

The doctors say you drink too much alcohol and have compromised your vital organs: Liver, kidneys, pancreas. For years, you have been telling yourself the story of how a bottle of wine before bed helped you to relax.

I suppose the wine did, with sleep apnea and everything else you’ve been contending with, while the bottles collected outside the recycling bin in obscene quantities. I’m not even mad at you any more. I just marvel at the granite quality of your denial.

Still when I look at you, shoulders and upper torso half-exposed beneath the hospital gown, I almost want to press my chest against yours, and for one instant feel your arms surround me, and hear you say how everything will be fine But it’s really not Lucky Room 305. At least, not that way.

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