My Charles is in a Coma

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When I got back from the hospital this afternoon I discovered that I’d failed to shut the door. That a thief could’ve effortlessly entered our house couldn’t have matter less today.

Getting Charles to bed has been a struggle the last few nights. About 9:30 p.m. the other night he promised to go to bed after he called a friend. With his masterly capacity for desultory fiddling it was at least ninety minutes before he called her. Shortly before half past midnight I got up hoping to persuade him to come to bed. After an hour of “one last cigarette”, another piece of candy he promised he’d come on after he pissed. It was after three when an unidentifiable sound woke me up. In the cryptic way of night sounds I couldn’t discern whether it was running water or something in the frying pan. The scary possibilities in the latter had me up in a flash. I found Charles still sitting on the commode. He claimed he hadn’t been there the whole time but it is easy to imagine him there for a couple of hours more than half asleep.

When Charles picked me up from the bookshop yesterday his exhaustion was visible. He was barely able to stay in the proper lane on the way home making for an exciting ten-minute ride.

He’d hardly slept at all for the last three days; I wanted him bed then even though it was only 5:00 p.m. After the inevitable run of haphazard but to him necessary acts he finally went to bed shortly before 9:00 p.m. But he didn’t stay. After an hour of cigarettes and a Reese’s Pieces that he never managed to eat we both went to bed. Within seconds Charles was snoring.

He snored all night.

On Sundays I get Charles up about 10:00 a.m. so we can be at the bookshop shortly before the shop opens at 11:00 a.m. I started with the usual “sweetheart wake up”, then forcefully barking his name. No response.

Eventually I was shouting. Still no response. Shaking him, slapping him and he snored on.

So I dialed 911.

That Durham Regional Hospital is about a mile away didn’t matter when we bought our house. Having an ambulance show up almost instantly doesn’t cheer you but it eases your terror.

Charles is in a coma. The doctor doesn’t know why. I sit here waiting for my phone to ring, hoping that someone will tell me he’s awake and will be OK.

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