Laughing I said, “If you’re smiling, that must be a first, isn’t it? I can see your form but not the features of your face yet, so I’ll have to take your word for it.”
“Your lab results are in. First, how does your head feel today?” I groaned at the delay but responded to his question.
“It feels fine; nothing much happening in there, right? So, what did the labs tell you? Am I going home, at last?”
“Not so fast, young lady. Are you telling me that you are totally pain-free today?”
“I am if it means I’ll be heading home.” I heard his growling murmur, responding quickly. “No, really. Well, not pain-free, but it feels pretty good. There’s just a little pressure but not really what I’d call pain. Now, about leaving this place…?”
“Your lab results confirm your report. The spinal pressure is slightly elevated but it’s stable. I’d like to see your vision return more than it has, but I think we can begin talking about discharge.” I clapped, my mouth not wanting to interrupt the neurologist, but I had to express my excitement somehow. “Wait a minute. I’m talking about transitioning away, not total discharge. I want to be sure you’re close in case of emergency.”
“How close?” My clapping stopped, as did my grin.
“I’d like to see you staying within five minutes of the hospital. Can you swing that?”
Remembering that my dear friend Cindy now lived one-half block from the hospital, hope took root. “I need to call someone, but yes, I may be able to do that.”
“It’s too early for you to stay with your parents; they live a good thirty minutes away. Check into what you can work out with them or your friend. I’ll be back later. We’ll decide things then.”
The tall form spun around and left the room as quickly as he’d come. Before the sound of his leather soles crossed the threshold, I reached for the bedside telephone.
“Yeah, Cindy, the doctor said I could leave but not go home yet. Can I crash on your couch until my next spinal tap? I’m sure the pressure will stay down if I just rest like I do here. I think he’ll let me go to Mom and Dad’s, if I can hang out at your house for about a week. Is there any chance you could let me do that? I’d want you to ask Jack first, though.”
“I don’t need to; he likes you, but I’ll ask him first if you insist.” Cindy giggled. “I know the baby will be thrilled. One more adult to play with, you know?”
I pictured little Jessica’s never-ending smile. I’d enjoyed babysitting her when she was just a few months old. Now, the baby’s fast-track to walking occupied her daylight hours. I hoped my eyesight would improve enough for me to help care for Jessie while I stayed with the family.
Late that afternoon, Cindy came to direct my parents to her home. I still had the painful spinal taps—two more for the week I’d spend at Cindy and Jack’s—on the schedule, but this move got me one step closer to regaining my normal life.