By the way, the reason I told C. his stuff was in the hotel safe was not because we don’t want him to know where he is. It's been mentioned to him any number of times that he’s in the hospital, which does not appear to concern him and which he forgets immediately, as he does any new information. He did a lot of traveling in his youth and I suspected that “stuff in hotel safe” would be reassuring to him, whereas when someone has said that his stuff is in the hospital locker room, he then simply wants that person to go get it and give it to him so he can leave.
I went to visit C. before work yesterday, to be sure to see him before his biopsy, just in case. He was asleep when I arrived. When someone woke him to take his blood pressure, he asked me, “Oh, how are you?” in a very cordial manner. After they wheeled him off to surgery, I came home.
On Wednesday, I went ahead and called C.’s brother myself. I assumed he would already have heard from the social worker, but he hadn’t. Fortunately, he had heard of me. It’s been more than 20 years since he saw C., but they speak on the phone from time to time. This was the first time I’d ever spoken with him, and of course I had terrible news. K. has a very calm manner and took it in stride. We spoke on the phone several times yesterday, as well, and I speak every day with C.’s good friend Don, who also sees him every day for a bit.
I also spoke with a number of other people regarding C. Communications are a not-insignificant part of this situation.
It had been estimated that the procedure would take about two hours, and then C. would spend maybe two hours in the recovery room, so about 2 p.m., I called the hospital to see if he was back in ward 4D yet, but he wasn’t. I called every hour or so thereafter, and it was not until 9:05 p.m., 12 hours after he’d been taken to surgery, that he was back. I have no idea why it ended up taking so long. The nurses were passing out meds when we spoke and it wasn’t a good time to pester them, so I decided to let it be until today.
Each night as I lie down to sleep now, I tell fear that it is welcome to visit, along with its friends anxiety, panic and terror, and so far only the mildest form of fear has arisen, easily met and experienced, so it has not been a problem. I’m glad I’ve had so much practice dealing with nighttime fear and don’t mind (too much) if it arises. I suspect that the experience of watching an entire person slip toward the abyss could easily produce a difficult amount of fear and anxiety.