I walked into the hospital never once considering how long I’d be there.
Or even how in the world I’d find my way out.
And I tried not to wonder, tried not to think…How would this story end?
All in all those hospital days for me totaled 15.
The first four I didn’t leave. I stayed by my son’s side day in and day out.
I was told to be patient.
Time would tell.
So arrangements were made for me to stay at a nearby hotel. And when I say nearby, I mean…
turn right from the parking lot
at the first light
and you’re there.
It couldn’t have been more simple. I could have walked if I wanted.
I have to say how hard it was to leave that night. So, so hard.
But I was convinced by the staff that nothing would change if I went to get rest. My son wasn’t going to go anywhere without my knowledge.
So I covered every single base I thought to cover…made sure I knew the nurse on night shift, called everyone that needed to be called to let them know where I’d be. But, more importantly, I picked up a dry erase marker and wrote on the patient board the word
as big as I could along with my cell phone number.
I remember lying in bed that first night…and how my mind wouldn’t stop racing, and my ears wouldn’t stop ringing, and my body simply wouldn’t stop throbbing.
I might have slept a few fitful hours.
I was up before dawn, showered and back to the hospital long before shift change.
I decided to start a journal to keep track of all that was happening. All of the who’s and how’s and what for’s.
I wanted to remember every detail so I could tell my son about them when he woke up. We could go over all of these days together and laugh with wonder…
and be ever so mindful of the Miracle.
As I put my pen down to write the date, I realized I had no clue what day it was.
All those days and I didn’t even think to care. I didn’t keep track except to guess how long I’d been there.
On the counter sat a digital clock glaring at me with its big red numbers. Reminding me that yes, I was actually there…yes, this was really how my son and I were spending precious minutes of our lives together…
adding it all up and counting it all down for us.
The annoying colon between hours and minutes being the only constant. Staring at me. Mocking me. Its one and only responsibility was to keep all of those minutes from running into all of those hours. Standing guard against it all becoming a blur.
That colon was letting me down.
I could not tell you what minutes had passed or how those minutes turned over into hours. The only reliable markers would be the religious rounds of the doctor and the 12 hour shift change of the nurses.
Those red numbers hurt my eyes and made my head spin.
I so desperately wanted them to stop. Please stop.
Allow me to catch my breath.
Better yet, back up. Let me to go back to a day when all was well. Reverse those numbers and let’s go back in time. Fix all of this.
Please let this be an illusion. A bad dream.
I am ready to wake up now.
The date on that clock didn’t line up with the date on my phone and I asked the nurse what day it was. I was so unaware…
could you tell me please, what day is it?!?
Turned out the date on the clock was wrong. It was a day ahead.
How horribly cruel of you, Clock.
Trying to rob me of a precious, precious day.
Time was not working for us.
Someone had murdered it.
It was all standing so very still yet slipping away. Just like that.
I had set my mind early on to keep things positive. I was steadfast and firm about keeping an upbeat and positive attitude. I was controlled and poised. Confident. Hopeful.
On the outside.
On the inside I was nothing more than a frightened white rabbit. So fearful that I was too late. To this most important date…I just might be too, too late.
(Will he ever hear me say hello?
I do not want to say goodbye!)
This situation was threatening to have my head and I felt myself falling.
I could feel it. I could.
I had fallen into the abyss of extreme fear and trauma.
I had fallen into a rabbit hole.
Sometimes I was on the verge of crying…but my rock hard pride and determination would not allow a single tear to fall (in front of others, anyway).
Let me tell you the truth: I could have shed gallons of them. Waded through a pool of them.
But there was no use in that. No use at all.
A girl like me…crying like that.
I would not.
There were days when the end came and I realized I hadn’t seen daylight.
Because the shades were often drawn and I would turn off the overhead fluorescent lights because they were just too much. Way too much.
Halfway through those fifteen days I found myself forgetting things. This isn’t anything unusual as I can do that normally, but there were times in that room when I would be talking to someone (especially about inane things) and I would lose track of what I was saying. I’d just lose track midstream.
Once I was asked my address…and for the life of me I could not remember my zip code.
My zip code.
This was no silly riddle…there was no clever answer to contrive. It should have been easy and automatic.
Yet I could not for the life of me remember.
The one who asked for it told me to say my address out loud. From the beginning.
Once. Twice. Three times.
The third time I finally got it right.
We laughed but I was taken back by it. It was as if all of the small stuff was lost. Things that were seemingly insignificant stepped way back into the recesses of my brain and hid themselves away.
Making room for urgent things.
When I walked through the halls, I sometimes felt like my feet were a few inches from the floor. I was levitating.
Suspended and hovering just a bit above reality.
And the room would feel as if it was spinning. I was so afraid that I might pass out.
I so didn’t want to pass out.
I wondered if I was going Mad.
Turns out there is an actual medical term for this experience.
Normally this happens to patients themselves. But somehow I took it on.
It’s as if there was a bottle on the shelf just for Momma’s like me that said Drink Me the very night I arrived.
A bottle filled with a love potion like none other. A powerful elixir that allowed me to remain aware and never sleep and keep going and to stay alive.
I don’t know one single Momma that wouldn’t pick it up and drink it down. Willingly. Without much thought.
Not caring if it was potion or poison, I chose to swallow it. All of it.
Because I would not allow my son to go through this alone.
I didn’t want him to go without me. I wanted to follow him.
So maybe I could save him.
He went down before he let me know. Something drew him and he followed it down. He didn’t wait for me.
Why didn’t he wait for me?
He went down to a place deeper still.
A place where I couldn’t reach him.
A rabbit hole of his own.