Don't F*%& With the Pancreas-The Maine Edition (Blogisode Eight)

Happy Thursday!  This blogisode is brought to you by the green room in the Weston Playhouse, where I am writing the majority of these blogs during the first act of Forum.  The green room at The Weston Playhouse is an especially eclectic place–with three couches and one chair that have to date back to 1975, and probably came from various people’s basements.  Possibly they were

Not recently renovated.

left by the curb because the owners of said couches had endured a flood and  trashed everything.  But whatever their history (and we try not to think about it too much) they are amazingly comfortable.  Surrounding the seating are shelves and racks of nostalgia items–mostly broken and all from extrordinarily high end stores like Spencer’s Gifts, Walgreens, and Goodwill.  These items are treasured here at Weston because they are the props for the beloved Act IV Cabaret, and there is a certain point of pride in finding the perfect terrible prop for whatever cheap bit you are doing in the show.  There are also closets and shelves full of costumes and hats, that date back to the Hoover administration.  A cardinal rule–never go onstage in the Act IV Cabaret without a tacky wig or a hat.  Never.

But now let’s flag down a sail boat and float back to Maine, where Beatrix and Charlotte are swimming in the lake surrounded by admirers.  Twenty miles away, Rob has just gotten word that he will be released from Bridgton Hospital–but only under the condition that he head directly to Lewiston Hospital, 60 miles away, to have a vacuum cleaner stuck down his throat.  This not-so-joyous news was delivered by Dr. Three Hospitals, and as if that wasn’t enough, he dropped an additional  bomb.

“I’ll tell the nurse to call an ambulance to transport you.”

You just had to see Rob’s face.

“Wait.  What?  Ambulance?  For me? No thank you.  My wife will drive me.”  He started to put on his shoes with conviction, thinking this doctor was obsessed with flashing lights and he had to get out fast.

Bone of contention

The doctor had that not-so fast tone to his voice.  He might not know the name of the bile duct, but he knew the hospital insurance policy word for word.  “We actually can’t release you to your wife’s care, Mr. Meffe.  You are under our medical jurisdiction and we are required to transport you by ambulance in case anything happens to you.”  (Obviously Dr. Three Hospitals/obsessed with flashing lights does not know that I am a medical doctor on this blog.  Whatever.)

Rob was unbending.  “I’ll sign a release.  I’m willing to risk it.”

“You have an IV in your arm.  I can’t send you out like that.”

“So take the IV out and they can put a new one in.”

I’d like to interject that I was enjoying this show down.  Rob is never the pain in the ass stubborn one–that job is left to me and Beatrix–so this was a fascinating show as far as I was concerned.  I wanted popcorn and a diet coke for my ringside seat.  I wanted to take notes.  I didn’t care who won, I just wanted it to last.  In fact, I wanted Mr. Maine Ultrasound to stop by and underscore everything on the banjo.  Adding to the enjoyment was Rob’s tough guy garb–a baby blue, backless hospital robe.

The doctor looked at his chart again and said, “Well, there is a chance that you won’t be going today at all.  There doesn’t seem to be an available bed in Lewiston at the moment.  Maybe you’ll end up staying here for the night, and your numbers will fall to the point where you can put off having the surgery done until you get back to New York.”

Rob’s face lit up.  He loves a loop hole.

Rob’s prayer answered, temporarily.

“That seems like a good alternative to me.”  He was silently declaring himself the winner.  I could see it in his face.

I didn’t think it sounded like a good alternative at all.  If he needed the surgery at some point, I’d rather seem him have the surgery now.  No need for any more pancreatitis ever again.  I had a pretty good feeling that a certain worry-wart Jane Orans would agree with me.  No way was I going back to Quisisana with this pancreatic time bomb on my hands.

Once Dr. Three Hospitals and his flashing lights left the room, Rob and I had a heart to heart where he agreed that it was better for him to get the surgery now, and hopefully the next day, otherwise he would be a Lewiston Hospital hostage. And, I reminded him,  the July 4th weekend was looming (what is his deal with surgeries and holidays?)  A nurse stopped by and guaranteed Rob that he would be there for another two hours (at least) before a bed opened up and an ambulance became available (by the way, he argued with her, too, and she went and checked with the doctor–who didn’t think it was cute that Rob was challenging it.  I should have shot a video of the whole thing).

Another race 

Rob asked me for a favor–and it was controversial.  He didn’t want me to rip the IV out and bust him out–I wouldn’t do that, but he did want me to make the 25 minute trip back to Quisisana to get his computer. Reason being, he wanted to do some work while he was in the hospital.  Remember when he asked me to bring his computer to the hospital in New York and I refused because it seems C-R-A-Z-Y  to do work from your hospital bed?  I mean, isn’t that a scene straight out of a movie, where the guy has a heart attack and says on his deathbed (which is also a conference table), “I should have spent less time working.”  Rob should be resting and healing.  Right?  Well….kind of .  In truth, he was right in the middle of doing a big orchestration project for his next job, and he was on a tight d
eadline.  And also, in truth, he was sick, but not nearly as sick as he was in New York.  Continuing this line of justification, I knew that he’d be up all night anyway (no one sleeps in the hospital) and he could bang out this job and be done with it.  So I caved.

Back to Quisisana I went, and this time I had to sneak in, get the computer bag and sneak out without being seen.  How could I possibly explain that I was LEAVING Rob at the hospital, when he might be driven by ambulance at any moment to Lewiston for surgery,

I took this picture from behind a pine tree.

so I could come bring him his work.  Mama Bear Jane Orans would string me up and fry me like a clam.

Naturally the very first people I ran into were Beatrix and her babysitter, but they were having such a blast they didn’t even give me the time of day.  Otherwise, I got in and out undetected, hiding behind pine trees as needed.  The things you do for your husband with pancreatitis.

An hour and fifteen minutes later (all of which were out nerve rackingly out of cell service), I got back to Bridgton just in time to see something I hope I never see again, but made me guffaw with laughter.

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About Sharon Wheatley

I'm a mother, an actress and a writer. I'm glad you're here.
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