From April 30-June 5, I spent most of my time flat on my back in hospital and rehab beds, most of that time with a feeding tube in my nose to bypass the inflamed pancreas that laid me low.

It’s been a miserable experience, but lots of people suffer far more for far longer so I am grateful it isn’t worse.

Still, a bellyache that leads to delirium, a heart rate responding to stress by soaring toward that of a hummingbird and falling back toward that of a frog, and requiring a series of endoscopic procedures to correct, is a serious matter – one that knocks you out of your familiar life and into a bewildering experience of medical care led by specialists, hospitalists, physicians’ assistants, nurse practitioners, med techs, RNs, CNAs, therapists and a support crew of food service, maintenance and laundry, all dedicated to your recovery.

During May I avoided most political news, preferring long nights of seemingly endless Red Sox-Astros games, but I did hear that President Trump was proposing a merit-based immigration system. Not sure who he thinks is without merit, but I can tell you a lot of the hardest working people in the hospital are immigrants.

One of the pleasant discoveries of my month on ice was Midcoast Senior Health Care Center, the former Brunswick hospital now serving memory care, long-term care and rehab patients.

I knew nothing about Midcoast except that it was close to home, so we took a chance. The facility turned out to be a well-run, human-scale health center where local people went to bat for me and provided excellent personal care. I just wish I had been able to sample the food, which my roommate told me was excellent. I ate nothing but ice chips for the two weeks I was there.

Friends and family eased the burden both at home and in the hospital, helping out Carolyn and visiting me when I felt up to it. But it was my lovely wife who saw me through this unexpected ordeal.

Whether in any of a dozen hospital rooms, cardiac intensive case, special care unit or deep in the bowels of radiology and endoscopy (which lie at the end of a 400-foot corridor called the hall of flowers for the painted flora which fail to beautify it), Carolyn would find me, walking in from my former life just to let me know it was still there.

Right now, I’d say I am at about 50% strength and stamina. Writing a paragraph requires a rest.

But I did manage to lose 20 pounds, a hard way to meet a longtime goal.

Freelance journalist Edgar Allen Beem lives in Brunswick. The Universal Notebook is his personal, weekly look at the world around him.

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