Now doctors from all over Denver had begun to descend on my room, Larrys and non-Larrys alike. A neurologist arrived, and a urologist, and several other -ologists. I welcomed them all, of course; but Vicki’s preoccupation (and mine) was not diagnosis, it was the danger of overmedication and overpowering sleep well past my schedule for appearing at the Pepsi Center.
We were not vigilant enough. A nurse gave me more pain medication when no one was looking. The doctor had not yet changed the orders in the chart to reflect our private conversations. Vicki, shall we say, remonstrated with her. Yet there it was, the sleep-inducing drug, coursing anew through my system. How long before it would lift?
"What do you think?" I asked Vicki drowsily.
"You can just go out and wave," she replied. "Just go out there with the family and wave."
But I had not come all the way to Denver just to wave.
We worked on a compromise: Shrum cut my prepared remarks down to about four lines, in case my deep drowsiness persisted. Then, assuming the best—which by now was not as good as I'd hoped—he cut the original in half. That would be the version I would give if I was strong and awake enough to speak at any length at all.
The convention's opening gavel was scheduled for 6 p.m. At around 4:30, I awoke and told Vicki, "I probably ought to get up now and see if I can walk and not fall flat on my face." I made it from my bed to the end of the room. "I think I’ll go back to sleep now," I said.