A New Place

It's 1 am and the floor is quiet. I am up, limited to the line that runs from the IV into my arm, but I am up, cleaning and pacing the floors and trying to enforce in me the exhaustion I need to sleep.

Matt dropped me off nearly twelve hours ago and I came prepared, because you must be. I can pack for the hospital in less than 10 minutes: computer, chargers, sweatshirt, boy boxers, deodorant, eyeliner, books.

That's all I really need.

The nurses here are different–they are skinnier but somehow rounder. Their eyes are bright and not haggard and I think they've all had some work done, which is so very Los Angeles.

(At least their roots match their hair, which is more than I can say.)

Earlier, the attending doctor in the emergency room clucked her tongue as she looked over my chart, and then looked at me and said "Well, I can tell you do a lot of living with bright eyes like that!" She said this without irony, and she was not rushed. It was an odd reminder that I am not in New York, that I am 3,000 miles away from the crowded, noisy NYU.

Later, her daughters arrived and I played with them. The older girl wore a uniform almost exactly like the one I wore as a child. Jumper, blouse, tights, Mary Janes.

Around 3, I got word that I'd be moved to a different hospital. I guess UCLA has several campuses, so they strapped me into an ambulance and drove me 4 miles west. The cute paramedic/driver promised me an ocean view, but all I see are bricks.

Levi, the other paramedic, sat with me in the back. He bragged about the celebrities that have been in his care, and I clamored for details, swearing that I was good at keeping secrets. Which, of course, I am not.

He shared a few, and after mass texting the details to twenty of my closest friends, I wish he had told me more.

We arrived at the Santa Monica Hospital (so close to the ocean) and the clean, bright halls gave me a headache. 

But I have my own room here, with a bathroom bigger than my old bedroom in New York. The pillows are comfortable. The sheets are okay.

Plus, they have cable, and I found a Kardashian marathon, and that Mason Disick is pretty charming.

The thing about morphine is that only the first rush feels good. The nurse inserts the needle straight into your IV line and that first flush–that first flush!–feels like something new.

It feels like change. The warmth the drug brings spreads its way throughout the entire body. The toes, the tips of the fingertips are deluded, but it is momentary relief.

My head clouds and I lose hours but do not sleep. I wait for choices to be made, commands to be heeded, and the next push to come. 

I'm restless and drugged, as my cells move and transform, as my body hums under the weight of activity. It's a night in the hospital, and it's without sleep.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother to blog. I've slowed down, updating Tumblr instead. Micro-blogging on Tumblr seemed like an easier way to be funny and light. 

Three or four years of history sit on this website, and I'm not entirely happy about all of it. That on this site, my identity is so intertwined with this familiar cycle of sickness and wellness and all the "what does this mean?!" in between.

But there's value in looking back, if only for a moment. Maybe one day I'll like to see that I wrote about this, my first hospitalization in Los Angeles, so far from most of my friends and all of my family. (Save for Rachel, who is the Harry to my Marv, and who will visit tomorrow.)

It's not as hard as it seems right now, and it's because I have found friends and family in this city, and a three year old who draws me awesome pictures of 'ninja doctor houses'.

And that makes all the difference in the world.


  1. Dammit. So sorry you're back in the hospital.
    I'm on my way soon, I think. What with my lovely, ever-growing, throat abscess. Ahh, the joys of life, right?

    1. that sounds awful! i've had that before, a few years back. feel better!

  2. "Met" you through a Matt L tweet about a year ago. You're an incredible writer. I'm sorry you are hospitalized. I'm from Indianapolis...today's Groupon might cheer you up. Hope this link works. We're all hoping for another Giants' win. http://www.groupon.com/deals/vardagen?c=button&sid=11090526&s=body&division=indianapolis&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=all-deals_indianapolis&date=20120203&utm_campaign=vardagen&p=1&addxe=SkVBS0FTQFNCQ0dMT0JBTC5ORVQ=&user=8776cdc8262214edab9980bf16a2987901e2dc691ff544ade4bae71be475940f

  3. You really make me cry sometimes, Kel. Beautifully said.

  4. Kelly, I've told you several times what a beautiful writer I think you are...yet it hits me anew each time I read something so profound from you. I only wish the circumstances were different. I, too, found you through Matt a few years ago and I'm glad he's there for you now, along with Brooke and Maddy. Sending you a great big hug today and hoping you're out of there soon.

  5. Kelly, I love that you write here. Selfish, I know, but I hang on your every too-honest-sometimes-to-be-funny word. xox

  6. You don't make enough noise about your posts! It takes me a while to see you've been here... but I'm always glad when I read you.
    Isn't it strange the way we keep up with people we really don't know? The ether world is wicked cool that way.