So it has been just over two months since TJ was admitted to the hospital.
Two months since I saw him lying on the floor after collapsing at Urgent Care. Two months since I followed the ambulance wondering what was taking them so long to leave – worrying that he had had a stroke or a heart attack in the ambulance.
It’s been two months since I heard the phrase, “septic shock” and spent an entire night staring at monitors willing his blood pressure up. Two months since I first saw the inside of an ICU. Two months since I heard “guarded condition” and “not stabilized” and “central line,” and “your husband is really, really sick.”
It’s been over two months since that evening I paced the hospital in the middle of the night praying “Hail Mary” after “Hail Mary” asking Mary to intercede for him and for God to do what I simply could not. Two months since I worried about having to shatter the worlds of my girls should the worst happen. Two months since I called our priest for Anointing of the Sick. Just in case…
Two months is a long time. You would think by now the things would be back to normal. Even though he isn’t completely healed, you would think that the psychological wounds that we incurred while he was battling his physical wounds would have healed.
After all, shouldn’t a spirit be easier to heal than a leg? Especially one that has been that wounded?
Well I don’t know about normal, but for me, two months isn’t enough.
TJ made it up the stairs last night to sleep for the first night since the night before his hospitalization. He told me he was going to try to make it up there, and my heart started to pound. I wasn’t worried about him going up there; I was remembering back to that night in January. The night when everything was perfectly fine… right before it wasn’t.
Last week I passed the hospital he was at – a hospital I pass many times a week. But the time of day and the blinking yellow lights and perhaps something about the traffic pattern brought me back to those nights when I would race to the hospital after giving the girls dinner. The memories made it difficult to breathe as I felt the fear that would overwhelm me as I would pull into the hospital in anticipation of the ICU nurse’s report.
Then there was the day I saw all of the ambulance’s flashing lights approaching the Urgent Care where he was picked up. I had to push those thoughts out of my head in order to feel safe enough in the world to drop my children off at school, to let them out of my sight.
And I have dreams. Last week, I had a dream that I heard a thud coming from the kitchen, and even in the dream I didn’t need to wonder what it was. I heard the sound, and I knew that it was TJ having passed out again. In the dream though, it was the worst case scenario that happened, and I didn’t even need to look to confirm it. Luckily I was able to will myself awake and back to reality. But reality didn’t seem a whole lot safer.
But it’s not all bad. Wounds can leave behind strength when they heal.
These days when I see an ambulance race by, I say a prayer and I feel a kinship with those involved. I know what it’s like to face down one of your worst nightmares. I know the loneliness that washes over you as you wake up in uncertainty and go to bed in a world where your one and only partner isn’t totally present.
I don’t want to know those things. I don’t want to feel those kinships. But I do, and so I’m given an opportunity to make the best of that. Any time we understand people better and feelings better, we can be a stronger force for companionship in this world.
I’m not asking for help here. I’m not saying my world is falling apart. Words are just the only way I know how to make sense of the world. And the last couple of months haven’t made much sense to me at all.
One day I pray it will again. One day I hope I will feel safe. One day I won’t feel a hare’s breath from disaster.