Chapter Seventeen - Home From the Hospital - In Scott's Eyes
2004 - Mom is 55, I am 30, Julie is 27
I am alive. But everything still hurts, and I'm on a ton of different medicines, and a very strict diet. It's still very difficult to maneuver my body. These damn pads, huge swollen lumps between my legs, can barely walk. After being in the hospital for nine days, I'm glad to be home, but I probably needed to stay a bit longer. The doctor told us that Julie will have to help bathe me, make sure my skin infection is cleaned up, at least three times a day. I'm so humiliated. I don't want her to have to do that. Mentally, I'm at the lowest point of my entire life. I kinda just wish I would have died in the hospital. But Julie is trying to stay positive and make me feel better, so I'm trying. But my life sucks. It's not what you'd even call a life, really. I weigh over 600 pounds, I can't wipe my own ass, I can't do ANYTHING, and I'm hurting the people I love, every day. I still can't believe I've let myself get this bad.
In the hospital, a lot of people came to visit me. A social worker, a bunch of doctors, a couple therapists, even a chaplain. My old gym trainer, Shannon, came by one day too. I really love her, but didn't want her to see me this way. She's got a brother in my situation, and it's painful for her, and I know she's disappointed in me. Everyone's disappointed in me. I'm disappointed in me. My main doctor told me that I don't have much longer to live, if I "keep this up". It's not like I TRY to be ginormously fat. It's not my goal. I just don't know how to fix it. Well, that's a lie. I know how to fix it. I know exactly what kind of food, and how much of it, I'm supposed to eat. I know what kind of exercise, and how much of it, I'm supposed to do. I just can't. I don't know how to make it happen and stay on track. I want someone to help me, keep me motivated, keep me strong.
I'm supposed to do this silly self-esteem shit every day. Look in a mirror and tell myself I love me. Tell myself I'm awesome. Laugh at myself, smile at myself, and like it. The laughing part is easy. Though it's not a funny laugh, and it comes from the inside and tells me what a joke I am. I'm sick of being a joke to the world, a deformity on the face of humanity. I hate myself this way. I can't remember a time where I actually loved myself, physically or otherwise. I'm so tired and all I want to do is sleep, but I can't turn off my brain, my hatred, my sadness.
We got home from the hospital early this afternoon. I came to my bed and laid down first thing. Julie or Mom had cleaned my room, put new sheets on my bed, dusted everything, got me new pillows, and a new comforter, like it's my birthday. It was a nice thing to do, but makes me feel worse. More things they're doing for ME, because I can't do them for myself. Julie cooked us an early dinner. Though I don't really have much of an appetite right now, it was still good - teriyaki chicken with lemon-dill rice, and asparagus. She had to bring mine to my room, I can't sit up fully right now, so I laid in bed and ate. She and Mom stayed in the livingroom and ate. I feel so alone, so ashamed. I don't think anyone could possibly understand how totally isolated and utterly digusted I feel. Sooner or later, I'm gonna have to go to the bathroom. And then Julie will have to clean me up. I wonder if I can just will myself to stop the digestion process for a few weeks until I can clean myself up instead. God, I don't want to do this, to BE this. I HATE myself. And contrary to all my efforts, I HAVE to go to the bathroom now.
I'm laying sideways on my bed and Julie is in the bathroom, filling tubs with soapy water, and rinsing water. She has positioned a towel under me somehow. I don't know how she's going to do this. I don't know how I'M going to do this. I've started to cry, again, and I can't help it. I'm just so sorry. I hate that Julie has to be in this position. I hate that I'm the one putting her in it. I hate my life. She's singing something in the bathroom, she's nervous I think. I'm sure this isn't something she's ever wanted to do, and I'm so sorry she has to do it. She comes in, takes a deep breath, and sets the two tubs on the floor. After looking at me, and the task at hand, she decides she should probably wear gloves, and I don't blame her. What I can see of my staph infection is not pretty, and I'm sure my trip to the bathroom hasn't made it better. At least I can't see what she is doing, for that I am thankful. The fact that she's doing it is terrible enough, let alone if I'd have to watch. She sees that I'm crying and tells me to stop. But I can't. I just can't.
"What CD did you get in the mail today? Do I know any of the songs?" God bless her, she's trying her little heart out to make this all okay.
"It's jazz, a really soulful CD. You've never heard of it."
"Sing me a song from it." Is she serious? I know she's nervous now, trying her hardest to get through this, just like I am. For the life of me I can't remember even one song on that CD, and I've been listening to it all afternoon. God, I love my sister. She is so amazing. She's trying to be so gentle with me, and lord knows, she hasn't a clue what she's doing. But she's doing it anyway, for me. Oh, I remember a song now!
"I'M SOOOOOO DEVOTED,...........TO MY GIRL!!" I don't think Julie thought I was actually gonna sing something, I didn't think I was either, but it came out - and loudly. And I just realized she's cleaning my butt, and she jumps, and some water spills on the floor,
"JESUS! You're a freak, Scooter." We both start to giggle, I can feel the tears on my cheeks drying up. She moves my leg up to clean the pads, and it hurts, and I cuss, and she jumps. "I'm sorry, I'm almost done. Just hang in there." And just like that, the tears are back, flowing down my cheeks, into my ear.
"I'm sorry. Can you hurry? I can't stand to be in this position anymore." How fitting. I realize as I say it that it means so much more than just laying on my side. I can't stand to be a fat man anymore. I can't stand to have someone take care of me like this. I can't stand the stares, the laughs, the pain. I can't stand myself.
Julie finishes up and dries me off, covers me with a clean sheet. I roll over and close my eyes. I can't look at her. I don't want to see what's in her eyes. I'm afraid it'll be disappointment on a whole other level. I'm afraid it'll be disgust. I'm afraid it'll be hatred. I can't look at her. I don't want to see what's in her eyes. She goes to clean herself up, and I just hope she stays gone, forgets somehow what just happened, what she had to do. But she comes back. I still can't look at her. She curls up on the bed behind me, props her chin on my shoulder, reaches up and wipes the tears off my face. And as quickly as they're gone, there's more to replace them.
"It'll be okay, I promise. We'll get through it, just you wait and see." She's looking at my face, still wiping tears away.
"It's not okay. I'm so sorry." I can't look at her.
"Sorry for what?"
"You know what." I can't look at her.
"Go to sleep." She gets off the bed and tucks me in. Kisses me on the cheek and strokes my temple, tugs on my ear. "Get some sleep, it'll be better tomorrow." I open my eyes and look straight at her, right into her eyes. I don't see disappointment. I don't see disgust. I don't see hatred. I look at her and all I see is love. Compassion. Her heart. And I'm glad I looked.
"Good night, Julie, I love you."
"Good night, I love you too."