I’m tired but, against my better judgment, I am staying up to write this.
The last few days have been traumatic.
It started in the middle of the night…those weird, transitional hours between Wednesday and Thursday. There was coughing. I felt my husband move out of bed and murmur. And then, a shaky scream for help.
I dashed out of bed, awake in a flash. I peeked into the bathroom…blood. Blood was everywhere.
With shaking hands, I rushed to my room. Changed into clothes. Pulled stuff onto my daughter. Told my husband, “We have to go!!”
Hazards on. Blinking lights.
The roads are empty. The town is sleeping.
We pull into the emergency department, with it’s blaring, bright lights. Walking as fast as possible, we enter the double doors.
It is never fast enough for us.
My baby. My baby boy. He is no longer a baby, really…but he is only five. He is white. Covered in blood. It is smeared all over his face. It covers his pajamas. His legs. His bare feet.
So much blood.
We get to a room. I am shaking. My husband is weepy. Stressed. Anxious. Angry.
They utter the words: Post-Surgical Hemorrhage.
…He is going back into surgery.
I sign the forms. I try to listen. I am overwhelmed.
We follow our sweet boy to a locked set of double doors. I give hugs and kisses. I give him as much love as I can in that moment. His eyes, which, until now have been blank with shock, start to look panicked. He does not want to go without us.
But, he has to.
We turn our backs. Walk away.
It is 2am. We sit in an abandoned waiting area. There are no other humans around. The time passes slowly. My husband gets up, pacing the floor. Looking sick. He sits down, mutters that he should have known sooner. He should have checked on him sooner.
I reassure: it is a complication. It is no one’s fault.
Finally, the doctor comes out. The surgery is done. He will be okay. We can even go home tonight.
But, we have to wait until he is out of recovery. We wait…and wait…and wait. An hour later, we are getting ancy. I am beginning to imagine all the worst case scenarios. Why is it taking so long?
I stare off into space, allowing my mind to wander in my exhausted, stressed out haze. Suddenly, the physical memory of panic re-surfaces. I can feel it. Immediately, I begin to imagine the way I feel when it takes over. I worry, Oh my god…it’s coming back. What if it doesn’t leave? What if I am so debilitated, I can’t work? What if I have a panic attack right here, right now? What if….?
I interrupt myself: No! This is the feeling. Accept the feeling. It does not have to stay. You are tired, exhausted…you are worried sick. You have Ativan in your purse. You know how to breathe and let it go.
You. will. be. FINE.
And I breathe.
My husband leaves to ask the ER desk if they know anything. They aren’t helpful. So, we wait. Alone, at 3am.
Finally, the nurse comes out, calling for us. We walk back…and there is our boy.
We go home…we clean up. Blood on the carpet, on the walls, a trail, leading to the bathroom.
We cherish the little guy snuggling in our bed.
He is scared now. Scared of the same thing happening all over again. He will not eat or drink. We are worried. Frustrated.
Tempers are running short. Communication is breaking down.
In short, it feels like it is all starting to fall apart.
Please…help me put it back together.
I really need it to be back together. I need my sweet boy back to his normal self. I need my husband to dig deep and try to find something to feel happy about.
I need some normality.
…At least, for right now.