Today, I finally visited R in the hospital. The reactions to this are funny--a lot of friends said it was nice and thoughtful of me. I mean, sure it's nice, but of course--of course I went to visit. He's in the hospital. You visit. What's confusing is...we're practically strangers. He's not my friend, he's not my boyfriend. For a moment, I thought he would be my boyfriend, then he withdrew and I freaked out. We were talking and maybe we would've reconnected--but I honestly don't know. Lots of things about him were attractive, but several things weren't. We were still getting to know each other and then BAM, his whole life was thrown for a complete loop. So, you know, confusing. At least for me. I imagine I'm not the first thing on his mind.
Anyway, we were staying in touch as I mentioned in the last post. On Wednesday he sent me a long text with some details about his condition--they finally had an accurate diagnosis and were starting appropriate treatments. I can't tell you how relieved I was--almost elated. The next day, he told me he had permission to eat outside food and I said that he had to let me bring him something to eat. Later that same day, he suggested that I come for lunch on Sunday and requested a turkey sandwich. I went all over the place to get the ingredients--I was going to make the best turkey sandwich lunch ever. Bread, apples, and lettuce from the farmer's market; cold cuts from the Italian deli; and soda, chips, and tomatoes from the Giant. Yes, I did feel a bit like a crazy person for making such a production out of a turkey sandwich, but what can I do? I am a crazy person.
The visit went fine. At first it was the awkwardness of seeing any friend in the hospital. It was that way when I visited my old boss after he had a terrible accident...when I saw Pele after she had her baby. Your friends, slightly undressed, exposed, drugged, not at their best. You look away to avoid seeing things you have no business seeing. You don't listen when doctors and nurses ask questions. In this case, I talked about nothing (work) but didn't try and finish stories. We walked outside to eat lunch--and it was the first time R had been out of doors since he got to the hospital. The weather was lovely; not too warm and a slight breeze blowing. R ate the whole sandwich, a few chips, and drank the soda. I found out he has a friend coming to help out, and his brother would be back later this week. I volunteered to help the helpers. Offered to come visit again. Nothing was decided. We took a short walk and I saw R was flagging. We went back to his room, I said I would take off and let him get some rest. I asked if I could give him a hug--he agreed. We hadn't touched at all until then--but it was good. As I was leaving I said, "so awkward" and he agreed. How could he not?
When I left the building, I felt a bit overwhelmed. I wanted to cry. I have been struggling with this feeling about R--like it's not right that I should care. That it's selfish. Is that crazy? Wait--don't answer. Apparently, it's ok to care. I just don't want to make this about me--it's not me who is suffering, drugged, stuck in a hospital for weeks. It's not me...but it is someone I know and it feels bad. I am glad I saw him. I want to be a friend and I'm glad he is letting me. I know it's hard to let people help, and I hope he lets me do more. At the very least, he could get another delicious turkey sandwich.
Grateful for: friends--especially those have listened to all the crazy iterations of this story.