When I was younger, I was prone to flights of whimsical fantasy. I had such a moment today, because it's perfectly normal to turn your husband's minor surgery into a ballad of daring, right?
Here is the result:
As my beloved sits in a thigh high, green and purple floral mumu- tailored neither to fit nor male sensibility and dignity, barely tied at the back, I smile at the adorableness of his bared moon bright legs and little black socks. A nurse enters, fee keeper of the surreal world you can only find within the walls of a hospital, come to take payment and tribute in two vials of his precious life blood. She announced it's for tests, but we all know they'll be fed to the mechanical beasts of the lab- sated by the droplets of hundreds, if not thousands, in the course of a week.
Today is like a macabre holiday. Fasting, a liquid diet, and hours of consuming unpalatable bowel clear have left my beloved resplendent and trim. Starving and dehydration will apparently have that affect. They could market this horrid stuff as a dietary fad. Thankfully, they do not.
We entered the hospital, finding it not five minutes from our house, and parking suspiciously easy to locate. Of our own volition, knowing the forthcoming violations my love will be subjected to, we walked through the unguarded sliding magic glass door.
The elevators beckoned like sirens, logically and simply placed, and I began to suspect competent designers of creating this place- a welcome and unexpected first experience regarding a hospital.
As the elevator disgorged us on the designated second floor, those illusions were quickly abated as we found ourselves surrounded by four doors- none of them the one we were seeking.
Choosing logically, we ventured forth through the door indicative of the rest of the hospital, passing through a glass and metal breezeway reminiscent of West Berlin military design, the beige with black trim a small step up aesthetically from the sickly olive green sported overseas and so long ago in my youth.
We passed unchallenged through the door at the other end, gliding past silent sentries who bore witness to our passage, and discovered an Alice in Wonderland like transformation: We had entered that causeway on the second floor, but exited on the third!
Another set of logically placed elevators, that we shared with three friendly nurses, all clearly close companions, and were once again disgorged on the second floor. This time, new construction and paint cans brought the walls ever close, hinting at future mazes, though the path was straight forward enough now, funneling us exactly where we needed to go.
As deep, soft, faux leather cushions welcomed the contours of my hiney, my Dragon took his place in the que- a voluntary challenger come to enter the lists.
He paid his entrance fee and emerged, his wrist sporting the required entry bracelet- one that each sentry posted along the path of the journey checks and requires he provide the right answers to the same riddle, continuing to prove his qualification to be here, to enter, to participate.
Shortly after the first nurse left the private room, a second enters, running him through the now common place bracelet test. I notice that each brings with her the tools she needs for the next stage of his training. They each bear a pleasant but slightly distant demeanor, sure in their competence and efficiency- and watching them from the side, I know such confidence is both well placed and earned.
Ah! This one has been sent to explain the rules of the soon to be contest of digestive tract and skilled surgeons. She runs him through a lightning fast round of questions, flipping expertly back and forth through her codex, tracking his answers and finding them approved.
The latest accoutrements capture his current vitals and final announcements are made. This is the last checkpoint, the final moment, should a challenger decide to withdraw, before entering the medical arena.
My beloved sits fast in his resolve, quiet courage contained in the set of his face- and she finds him accepted.
She announces the stages: manual transportation to the final waiting area, more preparatory discussion with a magician called to place him under a sleeping spell, that he finally be ready to enter the doctor's arena. A scant fifteen to twenty minutes will be dedicated to exploring my dragon's throat- He's endured this part before and knows the drill. Thirty to forty minutes will be dedicated to the under tail exploration. This is new, dark, unexplored territory, and the subject is mentioned discreetly and perfunctory. If she can present it as routine and nothing to concern oneself with, the hope is that it will make it so. We all embrace this supposition gladly.
And so enters the preparer, once more through the pleasantries of brief introduction and the passing of the bracelet challenge. She tries to pierce his thick hide, finding no purchase in his claw, though she rooted around beneath the skin searching for a vein... In vein.
My love becomes speckled in cotton swabs and snippets of tape from previous punctures, until she finds purchase in his right arm, unfortunately nestled within a forest of fur- though my Dragon chuckles, "Such is hardly to be avoided." And finally, cool, clear liquid slowly flows down a clear river, suspended through the air, and into his body, replenishing hydration he has been overtly denied this last ten hour.
She returns, raising the gates on both sides- escape no longer an option- though such never entered his mind. She rolls him on. The true quest, I cannot accompany him on, so I will wait, steadfast, knowing he will prevail and arrive on the other side victorious.
And so I sit, my duty to pay mark to the passage of time. Entertaining myself with diverse distractions, not the least of which is the wide open door to the hall, and the glimpses at other participants en route to their own challenges, or back, successful victors.
Directly across the hall from me, a door proclaims, "Staff Only", and within the long standing open door, I am privy to supplies, tools, prizes? Well lit and entirely unguarded. Momentarily, the thought passed that were I a rogue, perhaps this would prove my own challenge. But I am a storyteller, with no true passing interest in the contents. I shall pay it no mind, and wait patiently for my true prize- the eventual return to me of my beloved.
And so I am rewarded!
The first sign, a voice in the hall I know as easily as my own, groggily proclaiming, "I'm starting to make more words now." And he is delivered back to me, the gates still raised, this time for safety.
The lights dimmed and my dragon rests, his challenge complete. She assures me he performed well, and provides photographic proof... The doctor will make more sense of them- as they may as well be of other worlds and foreign landscapes. And in retrospect, they are, for until this moment I've never fathomed the human body from within.
Until then, I let my beloved sleep. Resting. Regaining his strength while he works to shed the last dregs of the grog that hold him still slightly sedated, a touch loopy and uncertain.
A cup of coke to clear the tongue and a brief visit by the doctor.
I wonder that you'd even try to carry on a conversation with the largely sedate. I anticipate that's part of my role- to serve as functioning ears and memory until his are fully restored.
There were small battles fought within the jejunum, and a smaller still foe vanquished. Evidence of long standing battles against the abrasive acids, expected within the belly of such a Dragon as mine, were found in both the duodenum and esophagus, but there are tests and medicines, both designed to win such battles and lay such strong acids to more confined rest.
Cognizance returning, but not yet hunger, my beloved is released, both from the confines of the liquid river into his veins, and the bars that contained him.
Soon we are released from the belly of the beast, the monstrously active arena of the hospital and returned, largely unharmed, back to the mundane.