true to form, right about when the sedatives wore off, my brother started making demands.
unfortunately, it's kind of tricky to communicate when you've got a tube about as wide as a jumbo rigatoni and the length of your forearm crammed down your throat and taped to your cheek, pinching your lips into a crooked fishface.
all he could manage was a raspy, whisper-scream, sort of like the wheezy breath of a chain smoker. he emphasized the first syllable.
'yes, honey, what is it? don't try to talk, i'll try to guess. do you want something? are you in pain? are you comfortable?'
shakes his head. 'I WANT..'
'your dad? your sister? what? anything you want me to tell [his girlfriend] m?'
shaking. 'NO! I WANT TEHHHHH! TEHHHHH!' (snorts with frustration)
'huh? sweetheart, i can't understand what you want. i know you're thirsty, but i can't get you anything to drink because of the tube.
'NO! DID YOU BRING TEHHHH?! TEHHH, MOM!'
'what? i'm not understanding, honey.'
'TEHHHHHHHEEEE, MA, MY TEEEEHHHHEEEE!' (this time he sits up a little, for emphasis.)
'what?' (smirks a little) 'you want teddy?'
he relaxes and nods.
my mother had to turn away and hide her laughter. all that for a raggedy but much-loved bear whose embroidered nose is starting to unravel. teddy has been at my brother's side for 22 years, since his first surgery at 3 months. usually he's overlooked, sitting in some corner or under the a pile of t-shirts and boxers, but he is always present, no matter what zip code my brother is in.
all seemed right with the world when teddy came out of the bag.
he got rid of the tube shortly after and started telling off the staff. he was pretty rude, but in the end, proved he knows his body much better than anyone. if he wasn't this feisty, we'd be worried.
one day after the surgery, i came in, arms full of dr. pepper, iced tea and haagen dasz, to find him sitting up in a chair beside his bed. he's doing really well, and is determined to get out of here as soon as possible.
i'm on night duty, massaging his cramps and watching reruns of 'intervention' on A&E. (he has cable!)