After the nurse closes the door behind her and leaves, I stare ahead at the wall.
Great, because of her, Iâ€™ll be back in the Health Center tomorrow.
I readjust the pillow behind me and use the remote control to ease the chair back again. Iâ€™m not sure if Iâ€™m relieved that the insanity is over or if Iâ€™m made more aware of my helplessness. I look down at my left hip and shift to my good side.
A sharp pain radiates up my leg. I wince then pop a couple Darvocets in my mouth.
Despite the physical pain, I feel nothing.
Numb, I put my head back on the headrest and stare at the ceiling fan, whirring overhead. All the arguments and threats of another lawsuit are put to rest now. Iâ€™ve got no more leverage. The director of nursing and the administrator will have their way. Ruth will be sent to the Alzheimerâ€™s unit, and Iâ€™ll return to the Health Center.
The end is near. My steady supply of bourbon will cease. No drinking in the Health Center.
Once again, I’ll have to share a 12×12 room with some blithering idiot and will be reduced to 144 square feet of anonymity; all the achievements in my lifeâ€”the million dollar cases won, country club membership, and status earnedâ€”will only remind me how painful it is to no longer exist.
All because of those damn puzzle pieces. She always had to be working on a puzzle. Sheâ€™d leave me to go in the study to put the same damn puzzle together over and over.
What about me? I needed her help.
She never understood that. Nobody in this God forsaken place does. Sheâ€™s finally gone and Iâ€™ve got no help. I canâ€™t even get a drink around here . . .
. . . maybe one more drink. I can still get one more. I can make it to the liquor cabinet, Iâ€™m sure I can. Iâ€™ll get good and drunk one last time even if I have to crawl there. My hip can stand one last strain.
I ease the chair forward and slide down. The pillow behind me tumbles to the floor. From inside the pillowcase, a heavy-duty zip lock bag, containing thousands of puzzle pieces I took from their boxes, spills out.
On my hands and knees, I crawl to the liquor cabinet. I look up at the TV one last time. Tiger Woods punches the air with his fist as he drains a putt. I better be careful not to get cut on any of the pieces of glass. Those damned puzzle pieces.
For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. (James 1:11)