The Golden Carriage

Post Date: August 13th, 2017


I spiked a fever with fierce chills in the middle of the night on Monday. I put a blanket on the bed and weathered it. The fevers continued that day and the next, although I felt much better on Tuesday. But when my urine output dropped well below my fluid intake Wednesday evening and I again had a fever, I gave in to my husband’s urging to contact my urologist. I texted her my symptoms and she immediately called back, directing me to the emergency room. I was admitted that evening for IV antibiotic treatment of pyelonephritis, a kidney infection.

I’ve managed to stay out of the hospital for three full years. Back then it was a urinary system infection too. Apparently with my surgically altered anatomy I am more vulnerable to kidney infections when I am rundown. While others may get strep throat or an ear infection or the grunge, I may get kidney infections. Now I have to adjust my physical self-image to take into account this new information.

I felt better on Thursday morning, a good indication that I was responding well to the antibiotic. But there I was, cooped up with only my phone for company.

I walked through the hospital halls, but they were crowded with equipment and people, so after a half mile I returned to my room. There’s a Starbucks inside the hospital lobby, which would have been a nice diversion plus providing strong, tasty coffee, but I actually needed a doctor’s order to go there. Trapped on the fifth floor of the hospital! And my discharge wasn’t planned until what seemed like a distant horizon – Sunday or Monday, pending the results of a urine culture.

Thankfully, on Friday afternoon, my husband secured a book from the library, and on Saturday morning my daughter and son-in-law brought me an old I-Pad they rarely used so I could watch shows on Netflix.

Interesting thing about that I-Pad. I was able to access all my emails, including the lab reports on the blood and urine samples that had been collected since I got to the hospital. Then – aha! – the email reporting my most recent urine culture result came through. Zero bacteria! I brought it to the attention of the nurse and doctor, and I was sprung free that very afternoon.

I took a long shower to wash the hospital off me. Then I did something I hadn’t been able to do for days – go outside and drink in nature along with some wine.

The purple blooms on the gangly crane bill geraniums curled along the side of the wooden stairs while an utterly umber fir tree stood sentinel at the property border. Cone-shaped white hydrangea draped gracefully toward bright yellow blackeyed Susans. The sun slanted through the dense, forest-green basswood leaves and the airy light-green foliage of the neighboring river birch, both set off by blooms of a Rose of Sharon. Amidst it all, the birds chichatted with one another.

As I looked at the low sun and trees, I had a momentary, transcendent appreciation of this carriage that I’m embodied in. It is me.  I once saw the golden carriage that the Dutch royalty use, and that is what I pictured in my mind and heart. The carriage needs repairs sometimes, and some spit and polish, but it’s me, and it’s here now and for many years to come.

Then a pesky chipmunk aggressively chirped its intent from the top of a Norfolk pine before sending the first of several tightly coiled green pine cones thudding loudly onto the deck. That was followed by a silent mosquito drawing blood from my elbow area.

Ah yes, back inside for the night.