Lottie is in the ICU
at Foothills, in Calgary.
She was airlifted there,
filling the helicopter with the smell of Windex and patchouli,
after swallowing too many Tylenols.
Her back hurt; she fell on ice on Monday.
Dr. Patel put her on dialysis because
the extra strengths fucked up her kidneys so
she’s not allowed to drink very much; ice chips at the most.
But her husband keeps sneaking in Snapple and she chugs it down,
burping citrus bubbles with
little rivers of lemonade sneaking from the corners of her mouth,
moving through her wrinkles down her knobbed chins.
They’re from a town called Vulcan,
on the western edge of the Canadian badlands though
there isn’t anything especially bad or bad-ass about them
unless, of course, you’re a Trekkie.
Dr. Patel has had to remind Lottie of her name for
the third time.
And Lottie keeps sniffing every time she gets close to her,
as if searching for whiffs of masala or vindaloo.
It’s really fucking uncomfortable but the doctor is professional, patient.
She’s noticed the empty bottles in the garbage and is
gently asking about it, trying to be calm.
Lottie sighs indignantly, head pressed back against three pillows on her hospital bed,
staring morosely at the ceiling,
her chins emphasized.
Dr. Patel summons her goodwill, weakly offering the joke,
“Live long and prosper, Lottie” as she makes her way off to continue rounds.
And the chins are lifted by a tight smile.