Before coming to Boston for rehab, I had been told by others who had made the transition from an intensive care situation to a rehabilitation setting to prepare myself for culture shock; and common sense too tells one that, as the aims and goals of these units are different, one might find other significant differences in tenor, practices, and so on. These differences have indeed been felt by me since coming to Boston on the 25th of January. The most grievous difference, though, has been the loss in my daily life of all of my dear friends in Salt Lake City -- friends who saved my life, who nursed me through surgeries and recoveries and pushed me through therapies physical and occupational, who helped me through the days and oversaw my sleepless and difficult as well as my easy nights, who were the most generous and kind and good-humored women and men a poor sufferer like me could have had during such a challenging time: their professionalism and empathy made the realities of the Burn Unit easier to bear.
During my recovery in Salt Lake City, I was granted a few leaves of absence from the hospital. One such trip, to see "Mission: Impossible," I already wrote about. An earlier excursion, though, I haven't yet mentioned: that was to Whole Foods in Salt Lake City. I took the TRAX to the store accompanied by my nurses Thane and Lois as well as Thane's wife Michelle.
The store was vast and overwhelming, particularly for someone such as myself who had been in an ICU for many days but I met up with other friends, Eduardo and Jen, and Jen's mother Corine along with another nurse Jill; and Eduardo guided me through the myriad options for lunch to select a tasty Indian-inspired meal.
Another excursion a few days before leaving Salt Lake City was to a screening of a Sundance movie, "Beasts of the Southern Wild." In front of the movie theater there was a somewhat eerie sculpture, especially for an amputee:
The movie was great and everyone I went with, all of whom were staff at the burn center and had by then become my dear friends, enjoyed it. "Beasts" went on to win the grand jury prize of the festival.
The last excursion I went on was to the Salt Lake City library, building designed by Moshe Safdie. This trip I took with my nurse Mary and my social worker Kristen as well as my brother Tom who had come to collect me, to bring me back to Boston.
In Salt Lake City I didn't need to leave my room to enjoy the company of my friends. One of my doctors, Dr. Amalia Cochran, brought her dog Nikita ("Kita"):
And sometimes a picture tells a story that words cannot:
The only good thing about leaving Salt Lake City is knowing that I have so many kind faces to see again when I go back.