I went back in to the room for Brant’s next visit. He stared wide-eyed across the room as I approached with my carry-on bag and pillow and blanket, of which I brought with me everywhere I went. I had to or they’d be stolen. The neighborhood wasn’t the greatest.
I approached the bed and our eyes met.
“How do you feel?”
He spoke slowly. “You…look…like… oompa…loompa.” His first words while we were alone. Wow.
“What’s an oompa loompa?” I asked grinning. Not sure if he was hallucinating or if his brain wasn’t quite right after waking.
“Charlie. Chocolate Factory.” His words were garbled, but I understood. I laughed. “Everything orange,” he said rolling his eyes around room. I looked closer at his eyes. Orange cream rimmed them. Must’ve been something necessary. His eyes hadn’t been open for 45 days.
“There’s some sort of orange film over them. They put cream on them or something.”
“You’re bootiful,” he said lifting a forefinger. I looked at his hand. An odd thought struck me.
“Brant, can you lift your arm?”
He tried and his eyes widened as the tips of his fingers were the only things lifting off the bed. “Caaan’t mooove.”
I took a deep breath. “It’s okay.” I took his hand and squeezed it. “You’re probably weak.”
“You’re diff…rent,” he said eyeing me.
“Slimmer. I bet so. I’ve lost some weight.”
“No, you’ve been asleep awhile.”
“Don’t be scared. You’re doing much better now, but you’ve been asleep for over a month,” I told him.
He was silent, the shook his head. “No.” He shook his head some more.
“It’s okay. We’ll talk about all that later. What matters is that the doctor says he thinks you’ll make a full recovery,” I kissed his cheek and hugged him best I could.
“Another thing. What’s in my butt?” he asked. I couldn’t help but break into giggles.
“A tube, honey. It was that or have poop all over you and risk skin break down.”
“Want it out.”
“I love you,” I whispered to him as I hugged him again.
“Really?” he asked.
I leaned back and put both hands on the sides of his face. “Really. I’m in love with you. Butt tube and all.”
Brant stayed in ICU for a few more days then was moved to the tenth floor, the cardiac ward. Brant had so many things they were worried about, they sort of didn’t know where to put him. As his body healed, he had to have dialysis, insulin and various other drugs to rejuvenate him. The tips of his fingers had turned black, pus seeping from them where his extremities had started to rot. Like I said, the machines were fighting a seemingly hopeless battle. God had different plans.