Thoughts from a Hospital Bed


(last september, I was hospitalized with pneumonia. Standing up felt like running a 5K, nurses poked needles in me in the middle of the night, & I had a big Bane mask on my head forcing air into my lungs. I write my fiancee kasey a letter every friday, & below is part of that letter from my hospital bed.)

kasey rose,

I wonder if this will be the only letter that I’ll write in a hospital gown.

Maybe it won’t ever have to go that far again. Or maybe it will be one of the last letters we write to each other. Still funny to me, somehow.

Hospitals are kind of like life. I’ve got three reasons.

For one, people who don't want help won't get it.

But those who take their guards down and choose to receive help really, truly do.

I’ve had antibiotics shooting through my body non-stop for the last couple days. Before that, I was rejecting help and getting worse. I’ve literally had to ask to pee the last couple days. But they let me go. This hospital is full of people that have admitted in one way or another that they need help. And they’re getting it.

And two, you find that people really aren’t like TV or movies. They aren’t always shooting each other, having crazy sex, solving a major crime mystery, and making hilarious one-liners.

That’s because they’re real.

I mean, they’re a lot more plain and unresolved than we craft and shape them in our scripts.

They’re finishing their bachelors degrees & working night shifts. They have to miss their kid’s music recital ‘cause work pushes them back. They’ve got pocks on their skin, problems in their lives, and dreams in their hearts. They fill their bed with stale-urine-smelling sweat and green poop stains.

These are real people. These are the people I love.

And finally, I’m realizing that sometimes you don’t know how much you’re loved until people think they might be losing you.

My older brother Nick came in today. It didn’t seem like much when he walked in, like he’d heard that his brother was sick and came down to see him. That’s what brothers are supposed to do.

But a little later as I was inching my way back from the bathroom—walking IV firmly in hand—I heard him tell my grandma about his last twenty-four hours. How he’d spent lots of it balling his eyes out. Unable to concentrate in class. Needing somebody to talk to. Truly, truly, deeply, deeply concerned for me.

I guess some people will never let you in on how they really feel about you until it gushes out like water breaking through a dam.


#letters #reflections #family