Reeling

{This was written on October 16th in the wee hours of the morning, after returning to my hotel room. I thought I would want to edit it, but although two weeks late, it seems apropropo}
Just as I was communicating with our donor coordinator on timing for our next cycle, shit hit the fan in another area of my life. My best friend’s brother had a torn aorta and was in the hospital. She and her sister and her 3 year old twins drove north to the other big city in the PNW to wait out the night, and hope their brother (who is 34) survived the surgery. He did, but had spent over 30 minutes without oxygen to his brain, and that began the 12 day wait to see if he would/could recover.

As a community we began doing what we know how. We folded cranes. People from all over the world began folding cranes, some by the dozens, some just a few, in a fervent prayer to pull this sweet man back from the abyss. I drove north the next day and spent 4 days ferrying people to and from the hospital, airport and grocery stores. I slept on hotel couches and hospital chairs. I drank bad coffee and worse coffee. I ate hospital food and hotel breakfast. And then, when things went from uncertain to… uncertain, I went home. I needed to work, I needed to snuggle my girl and I needed to let this family decide what was to be next.

A week later I received a text that sadly cemented what my heart (and doctor brain) feared: No chance for recovery. I packed my bags, canceled the rest of my weeks patients and drove north, again. This time to sleep in my own hotel, and to once again be of service in the best way possible to my friends and their family. I joked that my job was two things: chauffeur and jewish grandmother. I’ll get you where you need to go and  make sure you eat, then remind you to eat some more. There is only one way to survive the death of a loved one, and it’s not just xan.ax. Food will get you through the toughest times. Yeah, I’ve done this before.

Today, the ventilator was removed while my bff’s fiance and I took the twins to the aquarium to play. Then we brought them back to the hotel for dinner and bed time, but while I was reading the twins some books, the call came that things were shifting and I was left alone with two rambunctious 3 year old boys and a daunting bedtime ahead of me (boys who are used to one parent each to lay with them as they fall asleep. It wasn’t pretty, but no one got bit (huge success) and both boys were sleeping peacefully within an hour.

I took up my post on the couch, watching travel tv and folding cranes. We’d reached our 1000 earlier that day, but no longer were these  a prayer to heal his brain, to bring him back to the world, but to heal the hearts of those left behind. To mend the gaping hole that will be left behind in his mothers heart. To shore up the sadness in his sisters. To give his father strength. To give his beloved passage into the next portion of her life. They are a talisman for each of these family members to carry with them to remind them of this wonderful son/brother/uncle/friend/lover who forever touched their lives and changed the very core of who they are.

Shortly after 11 pm I got a text telling me these cranes had flown this sweet soul on, and I felt a sigh of relief. In some ways the hardest part is yet to come. Grieving this loss will take months, years, a life time. But the uncertainty is over. The waiting has ended. Now they can step forward and begin anew.

And I must turn my eye back to what is next and waiting for me. My calendar is printed, I’ll be picking up my meds next tuesday. Tentative transfer date of 12/1 which means we’re hoping for really great news right before Christmas. It’s not too much to ask, is it?  Surely the gods above will send us this tiny mercy, right? I know. I’m a dreamer.

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~ by zeneggs on November 1, 2011.

2 Responses to “Reeling”

  1. powerful stuff, friend!

  2. You write so beautifully. What a blessing you were–and are–to that whole family. Sending up prayers for the merriest of Christmases for you guys; it’s time.

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