The Ghost of Beck (iv)

Beck sat down at his computer to email his younger sister Lisa who was vacationing in Paris.

Lisa —

Last night was pretty bad. My cell plan doesn’t include overseas calls, so I thought I’d write. You might be able to call me.

You remember that I had problems with the toilet being too low, I couldn’t get up from it. Those damned nerves in my lower left leg.

So here’s the beautiful picture: I just came down from supper (5:15) and I sit on the toilet – remember they installed that contraption that raises you up; and the only thing is, this the, for whatever reason I can’t get on my feet to stand up.

So I sit there for a while, figure that the strength will come back eventually. The PT people have a saying, “Eyes over Toes'” by which they are trying to get you to the point of balance where it doesn’t take much effort to stand from that position.

No matter how I try, I can’t raise myself to the Eyes Over Toes pivot point. I start to take my clothes off, trying to become as light as possible. Sometimes that helps and I strip to my underwear.

I wait a while before trying again.

Still can’t get up.

So I’m on the raised contraption (obviously not raised enough) and I still have that pendant around my neck – remember you and Jean were saying how relieved you were that I had that safeguard in case I fell.

So I press it. Nothing lights up. I think there was a slight glowing green light flickering on and off.

I found out later that green means something is wrong.

Anyway, after about 20 minutes of pressing the button I figure I’ll put some of those new towels that Jean brought – they match the shower curtains – on the floor and see if I can slide off the seat and land on the towels with my knees.

From there I can pull myself by my elbows – infantry-style across the rug. Then like the way they supposidly built the pyramids, or the Mayan stuff, I’ll put layers of clothing and pillows on each other until I can get onto the bed.

Nothing doing. The bed is much softer and higher than the one I had at home.

So for about an hour, I lie on the floor with my quilt and pillows and like that wounded infantry guy keep pressing the magic pendant.

But wait, where’s my cell? I left it in my pants in the bathroom. Too long a crawl. I’m already spent.

What about that damned Alexa which is always listening. I know you can use it to phone. I had already tested it by giving it my number and saying, “Alexa call Room 4510.” And it had worked.

So I said, “Alexa, call main desk.”

Alexa: I’m sorry that number is not in your program.

“Alexa, call Wellness Center.”

Alexa: I’m sorry that number is not in your directory.

Actually, I don’t remember exactly what it said but it was of no help. I found out afterwards when I was telling my story to the Case Worker that for some reason, Alexa needed a start and stop word, namely Alexa.

I tried it this afternoon:

“Alexa, call front desk, Alexa.”

The circle was happy. It turned blue, and circled around. And a voice came through. I told the main desk that I was just testing Alexa.

At some point I realized I needed to take my night meds, and crawled to the cabinet and somehow got into the blister packs and took my blood thinner and statin.

Then I just decided that I’d sleep on the floor and eventually someone would peek in and see me. I had the fantasy of saying, “Boo! I’m the Ghost of Beck.”

As it was, there were sounds of ghosts in the place. I thought it would be a great revenge to actually become a ghost and haunt the people who might have killed them.

But when the door finally opened around 11:30pm all I could muster was, “Finally.”

I explained to the blue shirt that I wasn’t hurt, just had some rug burns on elbows, and that the pendant wasn’t working.

The weekend night nurse came in, five minutes later. I forget her name but we recognize each other and I tell her this very same story.

She’s big as an ox, and somehow lifts me to a point where I’m on a low chair.

“Let me see if you can get up and walk with the Rollator. Otherwise I’m going to have call EMS and get you to the hospital. That’s protocol.”

“Alright, I say. But not this chair. I could never get up from this chair.”

So I get into the desk chair which is nice and high up. She says, I’ve only got a few minutes. There’s another emergency.

I say, Just give me a minute to get oxygen to my legs.

And I start shaking me legs. Then I get up just as easy as pie. Walk a few steps to my roller. Move around the apartment with a nice brisk step.

And say, “You see. Perfectly normal.”

And I say, “don’t write a report on this. It ends up causing me to see Dr. P. which counts on the number of medicaid visits I’ve had during the year.”

And of course makes them look pretty bad, so I didn’t need to visit the Dr.

I had PT come up here today and we put that riser thing up to the maximum . When you go, it feels like bombs away.

I brought the pendant alert to the case worker. She changed the battery. I tried it again in my room. It still didn’t work. I think I know why but it’s pretty technical and has to do with which wifi it’s set to use.

I brought it down to the case worker and explained what I thought the problem was. Over her head. And probably over the IT guys head.

Whatever. How’s d’ya like Paris? My favorite city. Although London is up there …

Published by Dave

My name is David Beckerman. I am a fine art photographer working in New York City. Or I was before I had two strokes. I now write from a Nursing Home.

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