The irony of life never ceases to amaze me.
On November 23 of last year, at 2 a.m., I was asked to leave my son’s hospital room because he was crashing and they needed to act quickly. A very kind nurse walked with me down to the family lounge and waited with me. She asked me questions about Charles, my family, where we were from. She did a great job distracting me.
And then she left to check on progress, and I absolutely lost all composure and called my husband in a hysterical mess at 2:30 a.m. (I had sent him home, I wanted normalcy of some kind for our daughter. Charlie was stable, so I sent him home.)
He asked if he should come back right away, I said no I still didn’t want to worry our sleeping little girl,so I told him to take her to daycare in the morning and come up after.
I proceeded to cry hysterically after getting off the phone. My anxiety climbed every second I sat there. My thoughts racing a million miles a minute. What are they doing? Is he ok? What if…? You name it I thought it. I prayed. I prayed hard. I begged and pleaded.
And then that nice nurse came back into the room and told me they were done, he was successfully intubated and sedated. The Doctor would be in shortly. I’m not sure where she came from, or her name, I have never seen her again, but I thank her.
I anxiously awaited, for what seemed like an eternity. And then the Doctor came, she sat down in the chair next to me. This was going to be one of those serious talks.
His lungs had filled with blood. His mitral regurgitation was so severe he couldn’t tolerate it. And his lungs had collapsed. “If we didn’t intubate him, he wouldn’t have made it through the night.” The words slapped me in the face, punched me in the gut, and squeezed the beating heart in my chest so tight I thought it would explode. She saved him. She and her wonderful medical team, they saved him.
It would begin the most depressing, frustrating, and trying hospital stay we would have. But I had him.
That date-November 23 at 2 a.m.- haunts me. It haunted me that day and it haunted me leading up to its anniversary. My anxiety running on high all of the dreadful November 22, when we had returned to the hospital with him the last year.
And now as we lead up to 2 a.m., on the 23rd, I’m riding with my son in an ambulance, in a snow storm, on a high anxiety trip. I can hear every rumble, every spray of slush, every slide. I can feel every slip of the wheels, every bump. We were even flagged down by someone in the ditch. But I can’t see more than a fuzzy car light out the window, into the dark of night. And once again I pray, I pray hard.
And while this year, less severe then the last (at least I choose to believe so), it comes with its own challenges and pains. It comes with the fear of spending Thanksgiving in a hospital once again, disappointing a big sister at home, and sleeping (if at all) on a plastic couch.
To the nurse in the ER that told me I handle it all so well, Thank you, thank you for saying that and for letting me tell you that I don’t always. Because there are days, like today, that inside, I can’t.
And now it’s 2 a.m.