I am sitting in a hospital waiting room, watching the TV monitor update me on the progress of my child.
The color of his chart just changed to blue and a new word has appeared below his name.
in Arial font
point size 24.
Someone is cutting my child.
He may not look like a child to you
with his five days’ worth of stubble and
standing taller than me,
but his heart used to pump the same blood as mine.
So, yes, if you please, he is still a child to me.
As I sit here drinking my tall caramel latte, my child lies helpless and vulnerable on a sterile white bed.
As I sit here helpless and vulnerable with my latte grown cold and INCISION glowing bright and blue on the screen above my head,
someone is cutting my child.
This is not how I thought my week would go. Last Saturday was fairly normal – as normal as it can be when your child’s lung keeps collapsing and he has a tube sticking out of his chest. I cleaned the house and did some laundry and made chicken Alfredo for dinner.
Then we returned to the ER, and I left the dishes in the sink, which is something I never do. I planned to wash them later, after his tube was removed and we were safely back home on a snowy Saturday night.
But we were whisked away by ambulance to a bigger hospital where we have been all week, visited by doctors and surgeons and nurses and interns until the days and the faces have blurred into one.
And now I’m in a waiting room watching the monitor
(with that nasty word INCISION still marring the innocent blue space under my child’s name)
and someone is back there, behind a curtain, shaving off part of my child’s lung.
Meanwhile, those dishes are still in the sink, a piled-high reminder that life can yank me right out of normal and force me down a path I didn’t know existed
with branches hitting my face and shadows spreading wide in spite of the morning sun.
Life as I know it has been put on hold, with dirty dishes piled high, and appointments forgotten, and the other kids staying at Grandma’s until this path has been traveled and we find our way through to the other side.
But those dishes will still be there when we get back,
when this interlude is over,
sentries marshalling us back
to the business of living.