Pat Davis, managing director of Salt Lake Community College's Grand Theatre, wondered recently if I've been on a cruise. Several Deseret News colleagues have been reviewing plays and covering the local theater scene in my absence, and Davis thought that maybe I'd been out sailing around the Caribbean.

I wish.The one exciting trip I did take was the morning of Feb. 10 - in an ambulance from the Deseret News to LDS Hospital.

There's no midnight buffet (unless you count the Brown Bag Special . . . served intravenously).

And while it may not be quite the same as the Marriott, the "room service" is terrific . . . especially if you push the "Code Blue" button. That gets everyone's attention real fast - from nurses to orderlies.

Anyway, after creating a little drama of my own (apparently covering local plays isn't enough), I'm recuperating at home following a sudden bout with pneumonia. It's a situation that certainly has had some interesting moments.

Like when a nervous young aide, clipboard in hand, questioned me in the intensive care unit about my recent medical history.

"Where were you when you first passed away?" she inquired.

"Huh? Aren't we getting ahead of ourselves?" I replied. "Don't you mean passed OUT? Or is there something I'm missing here?"


Dr. Nathan C. Dean, one of two excellent pulmonary care specialists who took care of me, did note during a recent follow-up visit that "For a dead man you're looking pretty good."

While I was sort of drifting in and out of things in ICU, I have a foggy memory of Dr. George E. Thomsen mentioning that I was battling "a life-threatening infection." (Actually, I had blacked out at work - sort of an encore performance of my "Phantom of the Opera" spell exactly two years before.)

Being stuck in bed, hooked up to half a dozen computerized monitors, can be quite an education. Like the night the patch monitoring on my heart became unplugged . . . and I awoke to see six nurses and aides staring down at me. That flat line on the screen does bring them running.

My wife and daughter also learned (by asking, not by activating it) that the red "CB" button right behind the bed is NOT the "call button." It's the Code Blue button - the one you push when you want really, REALLY fast room service.

A few days into my weeklong stay at LDS Hospital and I was wondering if I could, maybe, obtain a VCR and watch a few videos. (Believe me, daytime TV gets boring real fast.) Since my hospital bed was near a window overlooking a small courtyard, Ray Boren, one of my Deseret News colleagues, suggested that Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window" would be a logical choice.

Then Dr. Thomsen, a friendly young adopted Utahn with a cheerful, outgoing bedside manner, thought maybe I should consider a "hospital" movie - "Coma," perhaps.

Videos are OK (and I have been catching up on some old ones while I'm confined to my home), but I'm sure anxious to get back into the theater.

One of my favorite "get well" notes came from my friends at the Hale Centre Theatre: "We told you to break a leg, not a lung!"

- THOSE WHO LOVE showtunes from Broadway musicals should listen to a new Sunday afternoon program, from 3 to 5 p.m. on "Sunny 107.9 FM," where local performer Jim Dale is hosting a 2-hour showcase of great music from the Great White Way.

In addition to selections from Broadway shows (everything from major hits to less familiar fare), he'll also occasionally interview a variety of theater-related guests.

- I'VE HAD SOME FEEDBACK on the Critic's Journal piece I wrote a few weeks back about the overabundance of "Josephs" and the lack of rarely - if ever - produced gems from the past, and the need for new, innovative works.

I received a letter from an instructor in Brigham Young University's theater department (the letter is buried somewhere on my desk . . . 20 miles from my home, so I apologize for not remembering a specific name). The writer noted that BYU has premiered quite a few important new works in recent years.