Monday, March 14, 2005

Chocolates and Discharge

I’ve been at the hospital till three in the afternoon. I’m exhausted. The president is feeling much better. He will probably be released from the hospital later today or tomorrow. He is walking around the hospital, but he still needs a lot of rest. The president had asked me to buy him some DVD’s. I bought him Johnny Carson’s collection, because I knew he was one of Johnny’s guests. He also asked me to bring him his favorite CD, The Ronettes. I had to go all the way to Chappaqua to get the disc.

Today again, there were dozens of well wishers, mostly friends, foreign dignitaries and politicians.

To be honest with you, sometimes I question the amount of visitors allowed in. The president is the one allowing them inside the room, but still, I think we need to ask these people to wait a few days before they come to the hospital. The president doesn’t want to send them away. He doesn’t want to disappoint any one of them.

He is cheerful as always, but I can see he is really tired. Sometimes, he is just so exhausted he just turns his back to all of us, pulls his blanket over his head and goes to sleep. I almost cried when I saw this. Don’t they understand the president needs his rest?

This morning the president received a visit from an emir from the United Arab Emirates. This is somewhere near Saudi Arabia. I don’t think we sell any books there, otherwise I would’ve known. He’s a good friend of the president. He brought the president about two dozen boxes of chocolates. The president couldn’t eat them himself, so he gave them to us. Us is the visitors and the hospital staff.

The chocolates were very tasty. Inside the chocolates was liquor. All kinds of different liquors. I liked the chocolates with the green wrapper. I think this chocolate contains rum, but I’m not totally sure.

The chocolates were very popular amongst the nurses. When I went to the hall to get a Coke, I could hear the nurses calling other nurses working in other wings of the hospital and telling them to get over here ASAP, because of the chocolates.

Pretty soon every few minutes a nurse would come into the room to ask the president if he needed anything. They would always leave with a handful of chocolates.

After lunch time, a group of female staffers from the Harlem office visited the president. They were supposed to come on Friday, but they never showed up. I know some of the girls. I have to go to the Harlem office once in a while. I also know some of them, because we worked together at the Clinton Library in Little Rock.

We didn’t get along very well, so I stayed out of the way for most of the time they were there. It isn’t really my fault we don’t get along. I got along very well with the girls working in Little Rock, who were from Little Rock itself. I mean we shared our bottles of water and our make up. The girls I knew from the Little Rock office and who now work for the Harlem office, most of them are from New York or the Mid West. They saw their job in Little Rock as a stepping stone leading to a great career in New York. They absolutely hated Little Rock. After a few weeks most of these girls would ask for a transfer to the New York office.

It’s not that I don’t like their wish to have a great career, I just don’t like their negative mentality. I liked the local girls working for the Clinton library. Most of them had just finished high school and were waiting to get married, others were married and loved their job and weren’t really looking for a career. They were just looking for a nice job to pay the bills.

So that’s the reason I kept to myself, when they arrived. The room was empty, because the doctors were running some tests and had asked the secret service men not to allow anybody in. The president was asleep when they came in. They were very loud and tried to wake up the president. I told them not to do that.

After they saw the nurses come in and take chocolates from the boxes, they decided to delve in themselves. It wasn’t long after that and they had emptied half the stack of boxes that one of the nurses entered, saw what they had done and said something about it. She grabbed a few boxes and tried to walk to the door. The Harlem office staffers were furious and wouldn’t let her go. I had to calm them down. The nurse left and told them she would call the head nurse and have all of them thrown out of the building.

A few seconds later she came back with the head nurse and a few other nurses. The head nurse, I had never seen her before went straight to the stack of boxes and said that Mr. Clinton wasn’t allowed to eat those according to the diet, so she would take them away.

The girls from the Harlem office wouldn’t let her anywhere near the boxes, because I think they wanted to take the boxes of chocolates home themselves.

I will be honest and say I had hoped to take a bag full of those chocolates with the green wrapper with me myself, but I was going to ask the president permission first. I live at a hotel and at night there isn’t much to do but watch HBO, so I was planning on eating them as I watched television.

When the Harlem office staffers didn’t allow her to take away the boxes, the head nurse became angry. All of them started shouting at each other. I told them to stop shouting, because they were going to wake up the president.

The head nurse looked at me and said “Mind your own damn business, Scarlett”. She was making fun of my Southern accent. I really resented that. I didn’t say anything, so she turned to the Harlem office girls and tried to force her way to the boxes, which were on a desk next to the president’s bed. There was a scuffle and they were shouting again.

Suddenly Mrs. Clinton opened the door. Everybody froze. Mrs. Clinton looked at all of us with her steely eyes. She said “I would like to thank all of you for your visit. We appreciate it very much”. She had a smile on her face, but she wasn’t smiling at all.

You must understand that Mrs. Clinton is totally different from Mr. Clinton. When Mr. Clinton is in the room all the aides have a lot of fun and we laugh and joke constantly, but when Mrs. Clinton enters the room all of us walk on egg shells. It just happens.

Mrs. Clinton held the door open and everybody began leaving the room. I collected the newspapers I had given the president, took my bag and I was walking to the door, when Mrs. Clinton grabbed my arm tightly. She waited till everybody left. She said “I didn’t mean you, Bobbi”. I looked in her eyes and her eyes were so friendly.

She asked me what happened and I told her. I was afraid she might think I was involved in the scuffle and that I too was hurting the president, so I told her I wasn’t involved and that I had tried to stop the fight. She said “I know, Bobbi”. She smiled at me. It was a friendly smile. She squeezed my shoulder and sat down on a chair next to the president and began reading some Congressional papers. I cried. I made sure she didn’t see it, but I had to cry.

The rest of the afternoon, I tried to stay out of everyone’s way. The president watched some sports on television. He looked good and rested, but I didn’t really talk to the president much as the doctors were still running their tests to see when he could leave.

At the end of the day, Mrs. Clinton gave me two boxes of chocoles. I thanked her for that. That was very nice of her.

The president as I said is feeling all right. He needs more time to heal, but he isn’t in any pain. His chest itches a lot, but that is normal according to the doctor. I hope they will allow him to leave the hospital tomorrow.

ADDED: I just listened to my voice mail. Mr. Clinton was discharged from the hospital an hour ago. I must’ve been on the Metro. I’m very happy to hear this news.

Bobbi Lamoon