I was never much one for hospitals, whether I was young or old, insured or un, healthy or not. Nor medical centers for that matter. Even after my volunteer run at Meridia Hillcrest, after witnessing all the good ‘twas done—even seeing up close and personal the mass of true good done by the medical profession. Perhaps at age sixty-five I still prefer too much to bury my head in the sand.


My last trip to the hospital I went alone. “You can’t drive home,” they’d told me, which was fine. Ed scooped me up at the end of the day, took me for groceries, then dropped me at home.

“You gonna live?” he greeted me in the lobby.

That was as detailed as I wanted, or he needed. We had bigger fish to fry. To Giant Eagle he drove, where, guiding a still-dizzy me to a cart, he pushed me through aisles. It was The Marx Brothers in “A Day At The Grocery” — two overgrown idiots, completely oblivious to the fact that an hour or so earlier one had been tied to a gurney.

To the grocery he took me; he pushed me in a cart; then home I went. Someone took me (in the morning) to retrieve my car.


Carrie not only drove me Monday, but she accompanied me in to what was truly a friendly facility. Located on Green Road adjacent to what they used to call St. Gregory’s, the place had that “home court” feel. Perhaps that’s why I enjoyed the waiting room, including (frankly), the often tedious task of completing paperwork.

“How do I fill this out?” I asked the lady behind the counter, placing before her the page seeking the name and relationship of the person driving me. (Ed. Note 1: From CJ I got the nuanced eye roll; from the staff I got only a stare).

—We were having fun though, so I continued—

“I mean we live together but we’re not married. ‘Friend’ doesn’t seem strong enough.”
“How about ‘significant other’”? one suggested.
“Too ‘80’s”, said I.
“Then just put down friend,” said the other. (The ladies had bonded).
“No,” I shot back. “Too weak.”

This discourse, I might add, was but background music to the true conversation going on. The staff lady, I had learned, was also a graduate of Brush.

— So we traded names, and I learned her husband’s name, and it sounded Italian.

“You know,” I interjected, giving her my favorite theory, “Back in the 50’s when the Jews and Italians fled the city, they all went up Mayfield Road. You guys turned left at Warrensville. We turned right.”

(Ed. Note 2: Carrie didn’t react. She’d heard the mishigos before. The lady: she nodded knowingly, and thus…in so doing, gave me the greatest confidence).

“Paramour”, I wrote down on the form.


Mt. Sinai Hospital was the venue when my children arrived. Proudly, as a graduate of at least one la maze series, I embraced each delivery. Indeed, even through the lengthy pre-Michael labor, I felt not a bit of pain. Breezed right through it.

The grandkids? Each was born out of town. It’s the Y chromosome that Michael, Jamie and Stacy received from their Jersey transplant mother. (“Y” stay where your roots are?). Ed. Note 3: Selected geneticists from MIT deny the existence of this chromosome, citing rather the inordinate magnetism — think: kavorka — that was me. Ed. Note 4: I was there for Lucy’s arrival. Hanging to this day from my car’s rear/view mirror, is the parking pass for Prentice Women’s Hospital .


Laying on my back in the ward, something about the way our friend from the front had acted was gnawing at me. Surprised she seemed — almost incredulous — that I didn’t have a Living Will.

Was there a chance I wouldn’t make it? I thought this was simple.

“Could you see if the woman that brought me is still here?” I asked my nurse. “I need to talk to her.”

Dutifully, she brought her back.

“Listen,” I said, clutching her palm,” God forbid, you need to call Michael, and Jamie…I spoke to Stacy earlier. Tell them I love them, and call Helen, and Harold…”

(Her eye roll was less nuanced).


‘ Can’t recall what they said as they woke me,  but it sounded good. Carrie gave me the headlines over gin that night yet I remembered none of it.  We celebrated my return with Pesadika pastry, “Castle”, and Duke’s victory in bed. It was a beautiful night.  That was Monday, and on Tuesday I began eating right.

‘Feeling great right now— ‘though it’s been but a day. Truth is…if  I must say … I feel I could live forever!

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