I had finally made enough progress to go home near mid-November. I had been in the hospital for about a month, the longest I'd ever been in the hospital, period. There was a lot of stuff to bring home - flowers, stuffed animals, a great purple silk bathroom my aunts bought me, a Coach bag (which began my lifelong addiction) - all sorts of stuff from my mom's family (recall the first admission...) and other folks, including my fraternity sisters, Student Government (that year I was chair of the Student Activities Subcommittee), my choir...all sorts of people. You really don't know how much you mean to people until you're almost not there for them anymore, and then woo! You know.
I had already missed all the classes since midterms, so once I got home, I spent the rest of the semester sleeping, attempting to eat, more sleeping...I can't remember if I was on IV drugs or not. I want to say not, because bactrim was a pill. But everything sort of runs together anymore.
The chest tubes were removed (thank God!) when the damage healed itself. For awhile we weren't sure that was going to happen, especially after some ridiculously pompous "I am a surgical intern therefore I rule the world!" guy came in when Mark was visiting one night, telling me that we were going to have to do surgery to repair the holes. He then went on to describe the surgery, in rather intricate detail, which freaked me out pretty good and made Mark want to smash heads together. He didn't do it, but I called my dad, and dad did. :) It was a great moment--he came down to the hospital, got on the phone, and basically told the high-and-mighty intern where to get off. Obviously, I never saw him again, not that I missed him. You could tell that he was one of those surgical kids who just could not wait to get his hands on a scalpel. Baaad move. Really bad move.
The only thing I was going to miss about the hospital were the massages that Sue, the hospital's newly acquired massage therapist, did every day. Dr. M thought that they would be relaxing as well as physically therapeutic, so I got to be the guinea pig for that new idea. I really like being a guinea pig that time. :) Sue is what you would get if you drew the perfect massage therapist - soft hands, soft voice, a good sense of humor. We liked the same kind of music-- Josh Groban, Charlotte Church, the good stuff. She was fantastic and a great friend, too.
Another fun person was Marilyn, the child life specialist. Even though I was bit old for most of the 'child life' stuff, like fingerpainting and what not, she would bring me good books to read, which I liked to do, once I could stay awake long enough to concentrate on them. :)
And I can't leave this story without mentioning Fr. Mark, who, like most people in these pages, you will meet again. He was fantastic, one of the best priests I've ever met. One of fourteen kids who grew up on a farm, Fr. Mark has the right blend of humor, sensitivity, and religious belief to make him an awesome hospital chaplain. Apparently I didn't think too much of his ICU guitar playing, but y'know, I was kind of out of it. I would've been more kind had I been coherent. :) He visited almost every day, gave me Communion once I could eat again. We would talk about his childhood, my childhood, movies, books, God, whatever. He has an incredible sense of humor and is one of those really happy people, but he knows when not to be all Pollyanna smiley (unlike some people).
So there were things I would miss. You get attached to the place when you've spent a whole month there. :) But I was very glad to get home, sleep in my own bed and work on trying to get my life back on track.