I‘m new to The Red Dress Club, so this is my first offering. I wrote a longer version of this post a week ago. I edited it a bit and used this week’s prompt that asked that you begin your piece with the words, “I could never have imagined” and end it with “Then the whole world shifted.”
That Monday Mourning
I could never have imagined that morning would be his last.
It had been a long night. And all I knew was that his lungs were no longer working.
There had been talk of the oscillator, but they had tried to hold off as long as possible. By 6am, they couldn’t wait any longer. There was no choice left but to put him on life support.
The oscillator is a horrible apparatus, it is a piston based machine that creates constant motion. It caused David’s entire body to vibrate non-stop. It was a jarring presence in the peaceful atmosphere I tried so hard to hold on to.
I needed a break and since I hadn’t left to take a shower the day before, I walked to the RMH for a quick shower. I’d only gotten 2 hours of sleep – I needed a boost for the day ahead.
At 9:10, just as I was getting ready to come back from the RMH, one of the nurses called and said the words I wasn’t prepared for “I think you need to come back, now.”
I dodged through the people in the concourse, I swept past the guards stationed in front of the elevators – by now they no longer asked for proof that I was allowed up – and I’m sure with my wild-eyed, frantic appearance – they knew I needed to hurry through.
I tried to catch my breath in the elevator, I was scared and alone. I knew I may have to face this all by myself – my husband was an hour and a half away. I took a deep breath and walked into the throng of people that had gathered outside our room.
I watched as they worked over him, the images are so firmly etched in my head that I see them whenever I close my eyes. I’d seen them bag him before, but never with the urgency I saw at that moment. The Attending doctor pulled me into the hallway to talk. Ironically this is the same Attending that admitted us, all those months ago. We hadn’t seen him since.
He explained to me that there comes a time to decide. To differentiate between doing things for him and doing things to him. We were no longer doing thingsfor him. I understood and all I could say was, My husband’s not here, can we hang on until he arrives?
Then he coded.
His heart stopped. I replay the words over and over again in my head, his heart stopped and then suddenly, with an increased frenetic pace, the Attending began chest compressions. Again and again and again, I wanted to shout Enough! Enough already! Please stop! But I didn’t. I let them continue, his Daddy wasn’t there and I couldn’t let him go by myself.
Some how, they brought him back. Not David, not really, not my Capt Snuggles. I think he took flight the minute his heart stopped. But they kick-started his heart and kept blowing air into his lungs until his Daddy arrived.
Which he did shortly, by now it was almost 11am. The doctors gathered and ushered us into a small conference room. They said everything I already knew. I looked at each one of them telling me all these things and it didn’t matter.
All I could think of was that in a few minutes I would be allowed to finally hold my son and it would be the last time, and it wouldn’t be enough.
It would never be enough.
We returned to the room. They brought in a rocking chair and I held him. I held him while that awful oscillator vibrated and vibrated and vibrated and finally, I told my Hub to get the nurse – I was ready, I
wanted, needed them to turn off that awful machine, just so I could hold him in peace.
They came. The drips keeping his heart pumping were stopped. That awful machine was turned off and they removed the breathing tube from his nose. I was finally able to look at my sweet boys’ face without the tape and tubes.
He was finally free of it all.
And I held him.
I held him when the Attending came in to listen for his heartbeat. I held him when the Attending called out 12:15. I held him while they left us alone and I cried. I cried for all the hurt and pain that he had endured. I cried for all the lost hope and the pure senselessness of the whole situation. I cried for the boy that would never grow old and I cried for the emptiness and brokenness that would haunt me for the rest of my days.
I cried until I thought I was empty and then I cried some more, just like a cut that starts to clot, but if you bump it, it starts to bleed again.
I bent down and kissed his forehead, more tears than I ever thought possible, streaming down my face.
I had to leave, it was more than time. It may very well be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. To put one foot in front of the other and walk out of that hospital room. To walk out and leave my Capt Snuggles behind. I did it, though. I walked out of that hospital room.
Then the whole world shifted.