The Virago
Published in

The Virago

Nonfiction Series

How A Drug Addict Saved My Life

Part Ten: Heading home after 10 months in the hospital.

Home after 10 months in the hospital. Robin L. Jessie-Green

Hoisted up and turned face down, I resembled a bloated rotisserie chicken. It’s called prone positioning when a patient is placed on his or her abdomen to breathe easier. When you’re on your back, other organs compress your lungs. So, with the change in positioning and the help of a ventilator, you’re given a fighting chance — temporarily.

One glaring indication that time had lapsed was the talons at my fingertips. My nails had never been so long. My hair had fallen out, my skin was dry and flakey with layers of dead skin, my hands housed claws — I was Bram Stoker’s Nosferatu! That too was temporary.

I woke up. I got up. I exchanged some hardware and regained most of what I lost. After receiving new lungs from an increased risk donor, I got a second chance at breathing and an opportunity to start living a new life. Recovery didn’t come solely from self-motivation, I had outside driving forces pushing me along my journey.

My Dad came up from Orange County Virginia to visit me. As the youngest of his biological children and stepchildren, I was his baby and he had to watch me edging closer to death for most of 2019. After witnessing the love of his life dying, he was now repeating history with the only child they created together.

Daddy is a busy body and a road warrior. Constantly on the move and always finding a project to start, staying put is not in his vocabulary. So, he traveled nearly 5 hours, one way, back and forth from Virginia to Pennsylvania until I awoke. When it was time for my release, he tried practicing the art of being still — at least for a little while.

Once, my daddy was told he had a “Savior Complex”. He liked to save damsels in distress. My mother was one of those damsels. She had physical disabilities and suffered from mental illness but was beautiful, feisty and creative. Separated for longer than they were together, my parents remained legally married for nearly two decades.

Encounters between my parents were occasional, and tension was probable. But I still had a close relationship with my dad. For the years he didn’t actively raise me in his household, he was about to make up for them within my own.

A friend of mine brought me home from the rehab hospital and got me settled into my bedroom. He had overseen some home improvements for me while I was hospitalized and spent hours thoroughly cleaning my bedroom so I could return home to a comfortable place. Being mindful of clearing space for me to maneuver my rollator, being home was to be less of a challenge than I thought. Or so, I thought.

The first thing I noticed as we drove past my front lawn before pulling into my driveway around back, was the barren area that once housed large shrubs both my Dad and ex-husband had planted one mother’s day. Frustrated by the wild overgrowth, my Dad had cut 15 years of mature, full foliage down to stomps in the front of my yard. The protective privacy wall that had formed, creating a haven in which to relax, was gone — leaving emptiness raw and exposed.

Awaking to pans clanging and water running became my alarm clock. Dad didn’t whistle while he worked, he sang. Preparing breakfast for us to eat together so I wouldn’t vomit my morning meds, we hung out in my bedroom most mornings. Since my bedroom was on the bottom level of my house, it made it easier transitioning home from the rehab hospital. There were no steps for me to take unless I ventured upstairs to the main level of the house.

I wasn’t ready for steps just yet, but Dad was going to get me ready soon enough.





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Robin Jessie-Green

Robin Jessie-Green

Blogger, Content Contributor on Vocal, Experts123 and various other sites spanning a decade. Survivor with stories to tell. Temple U BA, AIU Online MBA Alumna.

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