I’m sure that you won’t be surprised to hear that I didn’t like being incarcerated in a nursing home, I mean rehab center. The whole thing was a terrifying glimpse into the future. As the Who so aptly put it, “Hope I die before I get old.” However there were some mitigating aspects of my stay at North Ridge. The therapy was very good and it helped to have someone cracking the whip twice a day. And I met some interesting characters.
I’ll start out with my roommate on the first night. Luckily, I only had roommates on the first night and the last night of my stay. They were both named Jim. The first Jim spent his days as a motionless lump, slouched in his wheelchair or in his bed sleeping. He came out at night. His wife, Jerry, kept apologizing for him in advance. As they left in the evening both she and her son admonished him to behave. What the heck was I in for?
Ten minutes after lights out he started. In a ghostly whisper, “Jerry……Jerry….answer me Jerry.” Which was bad enough, but after repeating the mantra softly a few times he turned up the volume and roared like something out of The Exorcist. Terrifying. The aids came in and calmed him down. He started up again in a few minutes. Same script. I picked up the phone and called Beck. “Now I know what’s going on. I died when I fell in the garage and now I’m In Hell.”
From the other side of the curtain, in the middle of the mantra without skipping a beat, “You’re not in hell.”
The nurses got him up and took him out to sit with them in the hallway until he was ready to behave.
More on my new friends later.