So now I had the place to do the deed, but now I needed the means to commit suicide. My preferred method had been asphyxiation since seeing in done in the film House of Sand and Fog nine years prior. Online research confirmed it had been accurately depicted as relatively quick at seven minutes to death and relatively painless. There were a couple problems aside from the big one of discovery before the seven minutes were up. One was keeping the bag off the nostrils while there was still air. A clinging bag could cause even a determined soul to panic. The other was the automatic urge to rip off the bag when the brain realizes there is no oxygen.
I knew from experimenting the first problem was a big one. There was no point in even finding a bag to use if I could not cover my nose. But options other than asphyxiation were limited, so I had no choice but to go with whatever I could Whenever we were given diced fruit or pudding for desert, in came in a small, clear plastic bowl with a disposable lid. It was not deep enough to fit well over the nose, but it could balance decently enough. When we were given drinks other than during meals, they were in plastic cups. One of those would have worked better, but I did not have the dexterity to tear them carefully enough. I had no scissors, either. I was going to go w8ith the lid up until one afternoon when a nursing assistant brought me a cola in a Styrofoam cup. Now we were talking. I took my newfound treasure into the bathroom. After washing it out, I carefully tore off one side in a U-shape from the lip to halfway down. I turn the cup upside down and slid it over my nose. I had make a few more tears, but I eventually got it to both stay in place and cover my mouth, too.
The bag was more complicated than I thought. McLeod-Darlington had placed all my belongings in a thick plastic bag with a long drawstring. It was sitting at the top of my closet loaded with knick knacks. I emptied it out and took it into the bathroom to blow up so I could find any holes. Naturally, there was one. There was a tiny tear towards the bottom. Asphyxiation did not require complete lack of oxygen to work, I did not want to take any chances. I looked towards the trash bags as an alternative, but they were too thin. No matter how many I layered together, they could still be torn. It was the McLeod-Darlington bag or nothing.
I needed a roll of tape to cover the hole. I wanted one anyway in order to seal the bag off period. I had two Therabands, which are long, stretchy bands used for exercise, given to me by the occupational therapist at McLeod-Darlington. They were like large tourniquet’s. If tied tight enough, one of them would cut off the air flow nicely. But I hate being squeezed. For me, the tourniquet is worse than the needle. I am not even fond of having my blood pressure taken with the way the cuff squeezes. Tape sounded like a much better idea. So in the time I was searching around for something better to cover my nose, I was looking for a roll of tape, as well.
It is funny how certain things you ought not have fall into your lap at the oddest times. During the last weekend of August, the fissure began draining. This time, my surgical incision was fully healed, so it had nowhere to go. An abscess the size of a golf bag sprung up on my abdomen. That may not sound so bad, but I promise you it hurt like the Dickens. I could not even stand up straight. Knowing the treament would involve a surgeon, I opted to not go to my hometown hospital so I could avoid the surgeons who had been treating me prior to my “exile.” I really did not want to mess with them.
I spent five days hospitalized. The first day was spent completely in the emergency room. The abscess swelled to the point it split the incision back open. It made a huge mess, but the tear allowed me to avoid a surgeon cutting the abscess open under a local anesthetic. I was back to square one with the incision, though. Fortunately, I was put on a better medication that kept the fissure from leaking, open incision or no. I need four days of IV antibiotics with an additional twenty by mouth after discharge. The relevant part to all this is that I got a new patient’s belongings bag. This one did not have a hole in it.
All things considered, my hospital stay was a vacation from screaming residents and the stigma of living in a nursing home. It reminded me of mcLeod-Darlington, which I much preferred to Oakhaven. I did everything but prostrate myself to anyone and everyone who had the power to send me back there, but to no avail. The general thought was a nursing home was as good a place as any, so why bother moving me? Gee, thanks.
You can imagine how happy I was to return to oak haven. Only the therapy crew could drag me out. But now all the stuff was together. I had a bag, a cup, a theraband, and even a disposable razor--something small that would not be missed--to tie off the bag’s drawstring for reinforcement. I still wanted a roll of tape instead. Now that I had a new bandage on my abdomen that needed regular changing, I was certain a nurse would make a mistake so I could get one. So I waited.