how do I answer that?

“Sir I need you to answer that last question.”

How the hell do I answer that? She was a cute little thing, one of the many 21-25 year old LNA’s that have been parading in and out of my room prepping this and cleaning that. She thinks I didn’t hear her but truth is I was just put off by the question.
“Sir, it’s a standard question we have to ask, and you need to answer it. Have you recently thought of harming yourself?” Today? I thought to myself. Does the fact that I have started writing my own obituary count? Or that I instructed my youngest son that I want him to play Soulshine at my funeral? I shouldn’t have done that, I needlessly worried him. The longer I wait to answer the question the less convincing I will be.

“No.” Too much time has passed to maintain credibility. If she were a lawyer I would get the chair. Well, it’s official I am now what I detest, a liar. But if I told the truth, that if I owned a gun or had a spare bottle of Oxy’s we wouldn’t be here today, I would certainly have the hospital shrink and priest in my room.

Give yourself a break, you’re sick. I yell at myself to shut up, I’m not in the excuse making mood. I’ve been sick for years and I have always gotten by. Now I am sick(er), broke, separated, living in a friend’s guest room and most likely unemployed. I’ve only worked there for 6 weeks and now I’m in the hospital and the pattern continues. I get well, I get back to work, I get sick and I lose my job. By all (my own) measures of manhood I’m a 52 year old fucking failure. Financially, Maritally, and Vocationally I was at my lowest point ever.
But your kids love you. Yes, that’s true. That’s one thing I have gotten right. I put in the work in that department and it has paid off. They are great kids and wanting to see them get married and have their own family is what keeps me going.

I got up to go to the men’s room. Screw calling the nurse, I’ll unhook the IV tower and drag it with me. Any thrill of having a cute nurse come in will be negated by the look she gives me when she sees me from behind in this ridiculous hospital gown. Chicks don’t dig me anymore, I’m almost a “sir” and not far from being a creepy old man to them. The walk, all six feet from the bathroom to my bed, proved to be exhausting. I coughed so hard, so violently that I threw up into my hand. Yeah, this is fun I thought to myself. Pneumonia. The added bonus, my new kidney is failing at a faster rate than thought. I wasn’t really prepared for that. I am showing levels of kidney function that I haven’t seen since before my transplant. 4 1/2 good years and now I need another kidney. Yay me.
After another coughing fit I am exhausted and my head hurts. I instinctively reach for my Superman emblem pendant on my chain. I rolled it in my fingers. Well Superman you’ve finally reached that point, your world is collapsing and there isn’t a phone booth anywhere to dash into. Good thing I need time to think because that is one thing I have plenty of right now.

to be continued

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