Saturday, November 6, 2010

D Day Plus 224 (October 18, 2010): Bridge to Awakening

Alone after midnight in my hospital room, I buzzed the nurse’s station for ice chips and pain meds. Since surgery, I’d been in and out of consciousness – thanks to the Dilaudid and sleep deprivation. According to Dad, the surgery went well. They cleaned up the adhesions so my insides weren’t a tangle mess anymore. My surgery was laparoscopic. Not open surgery like yours. So you win when it comes to scars. Remember how you explained your scars away by saying “I was attacked by sharks.” You’d wait for your victim’s reaction to your tall tale – then smile. The real story got old and sometimes you just wanted to lighten things up a bit and play with people.  Sort of like a cat playing with a mouse.  

Dad got a prize after surgery – a glossy color picture of my bowel all cleaned up and pretty – suitable for framing. Before surgery, I got a prize of my own– a foley catheter.  Remember how I teased you about being an octopus with all those tubes coming out of your body? I didn’t tease you right away. It took a little while for me to get over the initial shock of seeing you connected to all the machines at MD Anderson. After a week or so your sense of humor came back. Mine was coming back faster. But in your defense, my bowel surgery paled compared to yours. Anyway, if I would’ve had a chest tube I would've of caught up with you in the tube department.  But don’t you think I get a gold octopus star for sporting an IV, NG tube, and catheter?  

I shooed Dad out last night around 6:30 or so. He was tired and would’ve stayed. But, I didn’t want to worry about trying to feel better than I felt. That didn’t bother you. You liked someone with you in the hospital all the time – even when you were sleeping. I didn’t mind staying. In fact, I got really good at distracting myself (and not to “Rainman” you) with crocheting, writing, drawing, or reading. You said, “I like to see you happy and relaxed.” 

I fumbled to find the right button on the remote. The one that turned on the light at the head of the bed so I wouldn’t spill ice chips. Before I got it right, the foot of my bed started rising. Once I got that under control, I found the right button. In an instant, the pale green walls and wall locker came into focus. Don’t you think all hospitals look the same – they have the same muted color pallet, same blue recliner chair that folds out into a bed, same IV poles, same bedside table, same window blinds, same whiteboard with the name and number of the nurse, tech, and doctor?  

A tech came in with my ice chips and a promise – the nurse would be here soon with pain meds. It didn’t really matter, my throat from the NG tube hurt more than the surgery. I only wanted to stay ahead of the pain. I wanted ice chips more. I had some around 9:00, the first thing by mouth, in two days. It was the only thing that soothed the fire in my throat.  

Right after the tech left, I spooned in a couple of ice chips, let them melt, savored the sweet relief, and really appreciated how good it tasted – just like you did, when you finally graduated to ice chips. You said, “This tastes so good.” I thought it was funny too see you in ice chip ecstasy. I get it now. 

The nurse came along with the drill, “What’s your name? What’s your date of birth?” I got the answer right and got my hit of Dilaudid. This nurse didn’t inject it as fast as the other nurse. So I didn’t feel like I was getting slugged in the gut before the pain dulled. 

I wanted to drift back to sleep. But the muffled voices of nurses and the random squeaky cart outside my room annoyed me.  So I turned on the Easy2Sleep track on my iPod to drown out it out. The track sounds like heavy rainfall on a tin roof.  Sort of like when it rains in Bassett. About five minutes into it, my mind wandered and relaxed enough for me to appreciate all that was right in the world. I was thankful to be alive. Thankful for Dad. For Morgan. For You. For Katie. And all my extended family and friends. 

That’s when things got fuzzy. You took me back to the beginning and reminded me. Reminded me that it all worked out fine and the way it was supposed to. It wasn’t about cancer and beating it. It was about the journey – the highs and lows. The highs for the exhilaration and the thrill. The lows for the growth and to reach new highs. It was knowing unconditional love. It was about you and me and everyone keeping up with who we really are – perfection. It was knowing we are eternal and there is an eternity.  

As soon as it happened, I turned off my iPoD and tried to get you to come back. But the harder I tried, the further away you seemed. For now, the connection was lost. But, by now you'd think I'd know, inspiration never comes when you're trying.  It comes when you're not.  


  1. that is i true inspiration never comes when you are trying. thanks for sharing! xooxox