Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bad Dreams

I just woke up from one of the most horrible dreams of my life. I'd woken up a few minutes before the alarm with that happy, fifteen more minutes!, feeling. I lay there drowsy and dreamy in my warm snuggly blankets. Then the dratted radio made that whirling sound it does before it goes off. I was dragging my protesting mind back to consciousness when a voice out of the blue whispers in my ear, 'Jennie's passed away'.
You can bet I was awake then! Heart pounding, chest so tight I could hardly catch my breath. 'It's not true. It's just a dream,' I assured myself. No, I didn't rush to call her to make sure, though I desperately wanted to. I'm not superstitious, but I do believe in self-fullfilling prophesy. Besides, someone would have called me if my daughter had caught a cold, let alone anything more serious.
And sure enough, she calls and lets me know she's having a great time and will see me later today.
Seriously, though, give your kids an extra hug before they leave the house today. Tell them you love them. Life can change in a single breath.

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Beautiful Sister Mary

Mom’s surgery goes well. We sit in her room laughing and teasing each other. We’re quiet when she’s napping; saying things to make her smile when she’s awake.

She has a rough night. She wakes up at 11p.m., anxious and scared. Mary sits on the floor beside her bed, holding her hand, reassuring her that she’s not alone. Saying the words we say to comfort a child awake with nightmares. At one point Mom tells Mary she just needs to be held. Mary carefully climbs on the bed and holds her in her arms until she feels better. Sometime around 2a.m. they sleep.

Mom’s awake at 4:30a.m., frightened. She’s reacting to the medicine they gave her to sleep. She tries to climb from the bed and Mary has to physically hold her down, reassure her that she’s okay. That nothing’s wrong. Mom struggles and says she feels like she might throw-up. Mary buzzes for the nurse. Someone comes in carrying a bucket. Mary sends him off to get some real help.

No one comes. So Mary, my hero, calls the Family Emergency Crisis number to be used only when a patient needs help NOW. Within minutes Mom’s room is full of doctors and nurses and everyone Mom could possibly need.

I can think of no words eloquent or grand enough to thank Mary for the gentleness, resolve and courage with which she is taking care of my Mom. She’s doing it out of love for Mom, but I feel I owe her a debt of gratitude that I will gladly hold the rest of my life.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Waiting Room

The three most wonderful words to hear... "He's (she's) doing fine. " I'm sitting in the waiting room Friday afternoon, hands tight in my lap, Mom five hours into her surgery, listening to the soft conversations going on around me. The lines from a Death Cab song run in my head. "...there's no comfort in the waiting room. Just nervious faces bracing for bad news. Then the nurse comes 'round, and everyone lifts their head..."
The doctor comes in and calls a man's name. His family replies and the doctor takes a seat by them. The first words from his mouth are, "He's doing fine." Dear God! The relief and gladness and joy and tears that pour from these people are overwhelming. I have to leave the room and stare out a window in the hallway for a few minutes. Cherrie blossoms and pink azaleas blur in my sight.
Our good news comes a little differently. Mary's standing in the hallway and turns excitedly to us. "They're bringing her down the hall!" Luckily they turn down another hallway before they reach us. We would have smothered her! But we got to see her in the ICU for a few minutes to say goodnight soon after that. It was wonderful.