The Cold Dish
So I’m unexpectedly in Cape Girardeau, where I grew up.
Last Wednesday morning I got up as if it were going to be an ordinary day and found out that my mother, who lives in an apartment in a retirement complex, had fallen in her kitchen at 11 pm on Tuesday night and lay on the floor until 7 am on Wednesday, when she called out for help as her newspaper was delivered to the front door. She is in the hospital with an arm broken just below her shoulder, and as of Friday morning is stabilized in terms of her heart medicine (blood thinner) but waiting for Monday to have surgery. This is because orthopedic surgeons can’t be bothered to operate on 80-something year old ladies on the weekend, but require that they lie around in pain with bone splinters poking every which way for two days.
Anyway, I drove here from central Ohio and I didn’t listen to an audiobook, but played the Hamilton soundtrack on repeat. The whole way. We’re talking a 9-10 hour drive, depending on traffic and stops. Now that I’m sitting around in the hospital I’ve been reading a book my friend Miriam sent me, The Cold Dish, by Craig Johnson. It’s a pleasant-enough murder mystery, but I suspect the real reason she sent it is that on page 108 the author has the audacity to work in this sentence: “I had to smile at the importance of being Ernest.” That is actually not a reflection of how good the writing is, generally. Just a brief and spectacular spot of self-indulgence.
Everyone needs a little indulgence when hanging around a hospital.