Me, Worrying Part III
Sunday, 10/2, later that day
I'm yelling at the poor woman at the doctor's office. My voice sounds unusually loud and hard. "Don't give him just Ibuprofen..I wouldn't have taken him to the emergency doctor if that was all he needed."
I don't know if it's distrust on her part, or thinking him an addict wanting to score pain medication, or if she just thinks nothing at all.
There is something deeply terrifying about watching someone you love being in excruciating pain.
My husband squirms on that bench like a snake, holding his stomach with both his hands. He can't talk, and if he makes an effort, the noise that comes out doesn't even sound human.
No, I'm thinking, that's not just another colic. That is something much much worse.
"How old is your husband?", the other woman asks me.
"37," I hear myself say. No, but that's not right.
"Sorry, I meant to say he's 38." She crosses out 37, and scribbles the number 38 in the column.
No, that's not right either. She runs out of the room so quickly, I can't tell her. At this point I don't remember how old he is, or what year he was born in. No, not anything, just thick clouds of fog.
The next thing I know is that the guys from the ambulance are hurdling up the stairs. They appear to have some instinct about what hubby might be suffering from. I keep thinking you're wrong, it's not the heart, but who am I to tell them what it is not.
No bowel activity. At least that should ring some kind of bell.
But it doesn't.
As they carry him down the stairs and take him out, up to the ambulance I find myself looking away. The gurney shrieks, and yammers. It has been used way too often. It deserves a break. Next thing I know - I'm sitting in my car, backed into a parking space. The ambulance is behind me, and I'm parked in. The lights keep on flashing. I'm waiting for them to drive away.
I hope they don't use the horn.
It must be 15 minutes until they leave, but I could be wrong. I'm sitting quietly, like a ghost in the dark. I don't even remember how I got home. I shouldn't have driven myself. My hands were too far away from my brain that day.
I'm home. Why don't we have a sports bag? I'm packing a suitcase instead, a wheelie case. A vacation trolley does send some kind of eccentric weirdo message, but it's all I have. After all, a stay in the hospital is not a self-discovery adventure trip. Or is it?
Packing now. First things first.
He should have his earplugs, and his iPad. To him, that's usually more important than things to wear or a razor. I'm thinking about what I would need in that kind of situation, except for the strength to hold on to dear life. I'm packing socks, all in different shades of dark blue. I grab several T-shirts, pants. I'm on autopilot now.
I'm making surprisingly calm phone calls to people and I write emails. It doesn't make sense to me, why I do it. Just so they know? I'm just worrying everybody, including myself. I should keep my yap shut, I'm thinking as I write, and call, and tell people, what little I know about my husband's condition.
I'm on the road, it's pitch black. The night is icy and incredibly cold. I'm driving by instinct. I have been at this hospital before. Some part of me knows the way. I'm deadly afraid of arriving. What if he's dead, I'm thinking. I almost crash into a parking car on the side of the road. No such thoughts, I'm thinking. Part of me wants to cause a huge pile up. Be done with it.
What little control I had that day.
I'm there, at the hospital where fluorescent lights and ugly ambiance guarantee everyone a horrible time. The waiting area with piles of old magazines and stained coffee mugs is uninviting. People have been waiting here all day. For years. I'm approaching the receptionist.
"Is..he alive?" is all I can muster up to say.
I'm thinking, shit, someone died. She looks at me like I'm nuts.
I probably deserve it.
I tell her his name.
"He's still in the emergency room. It will take a while."
And so it does.
The hours poke along the corridors and the thick doors rarely swing open. There is Room 1 and Room 2. Voices inside. Someone tells me to stay outside and wait. Too afraid to go inside anyways.
There are fat people, people with masks, people without teeth, bleeding people, and they are all waiting, most of them to be taken into custody. One person keeps busy talking to himself. Not a bad idea, I'm thinking. If it calms him down. I'm sitting there, waiting for some kind of sign. Maybe from god, or someone else dressed in white, who knows.
People are either idiots or they don't know how to talk to people in distress. They just swing those words around. Severe....acute..the word pancreas keeps floating around. And gall stone blockage. And transfer to another hospital. Yes, I'm nodding, OK; I get it. Another ambulance arrives, more people with masks come out. They let me see him now - my feet are like pudding as I approach the gurney.
He's white as a sheet, and the grey in his hair and beard stands out in the harsh light. He looks unfamiliar.
And yet, when he slowly lifts his hand and puts it in mine, it feels so warm. Familiar. I'm thinking, yes, that's him. That's the one I know.
"I need my iPhone.." he whispers..
And I'm thinking, good, he's still there.
He's all geared up.
He will put up a fight.
And as they carry him off into the dark, that one saying keeps flashing in my mind...
...the one about living our lives so well that death will tremble to take us.
And I'm thinking, yes, I know he will.