Monday, May 7, 2012

Writing through the night

** Caution: Many, many words ahead! **

While waiting through the long hours of our first night in the hospital, I took to my iPad to write. It was deeply therapeutic at the time. And because I want to remember it, I'm capturing it here, too. I won't be offended if you choose to skip this post all together - it's terribly long and a bit emotional (a side affect I'm going to attribute solely to the joys of monthly hormones and not to the fact that I'm a big huge baby).

On an average night, 9:00 means staying up past my bedtime and the 5:30 alarm clock starts ringing much too soon. And then, on a night like this, I sit here wide awake, knowing sleep just isn't in my future and wishing the sunrise would hurry up already. It's funny how priorities change, adrenaline rages, and your body ignores fatigue as though it never even knew it existed.

Earlier, I was happy to be making our way to this room because it meant we were no longer cramped in the temporary surroundings of the ER. But then we took a left turn, followed familiar hallways to a place I had hoped to never see again. A waiting room ahead—the same one I made several devastating phone calls from almost exactly 3 years ago— and another left turn and I felt my breath stop short of my throat.

I was relieved when we turned into another unit, willing myself to ignore the one straight across the hall that had stolen a life, a future from Sean and his family. But then, just as I prepared to let go, the nurse asked me to wait in the waiting room while they got him into bed and on his machines.

She showed me the way and I almost stopped to tell her, "No, I know where it is, thank you. I spent two of the worst days of my life in that room," but decided I'd spare her the awkwardness so early on in our relationship.

Just 10 minutes, she promised. That's all I had to wait. But the second she left the room I felt my heart race and I wanted nothing more than to forget this tiny little, no-good, horrible room. Three years ago we set up camp here. Tried, but failed, to sleep in the reclining chairs. Charged phones in every outlet. Piled purses and clothes and gifts from visitors in a corner. And in our last hour there, made the hardest phone call of my life – to inform the funeral home that the man who was supposed to one day be my father-in-law had died.

And here I was again, a place I never wanted to revisit and a night I never wanted to relive. The circumstances were obviously different, the outcome likely far better this time. But the reminder made me ill. And then, as quickly as the panic started to set in, it was over. I was allowed back into his room and we laughed and joked with the nurse as she got Sean settled.

And here I am a couple hours later, curled on a chair with a hospital blanket and an iPad, doing the only thing I know how to do in times like this - write. I'm thankful to be in a place like this, knowing there's constant attention and care on Sean’s heart. A very important organ, I told him, because he uses it to love me!

But part of me feels guilty. When we sat in the ER, a voice inside me hoped they would keep him here. Not because I wanted something to be wrong but because I wanted them to be absolutely sure they did anything and everything to make sure he was healthy and ok. I wanted to leave here only after we were sure his heart was a healthy workhorse - and not a second sooner.  But now we lay here, unable to sleep, and Sean wants nothing more than the comforts of home. And I can't help but think I brought it on all myself by asking God to keep him here, in the protection of people to whom He gave the gifts and talents of modern medicine.
And then there’s the other half of me, the half that watches the green, blue and yellow lines of his monitor like a ballet—marveling at the dancing lines and knowing that for a long as they move harmoniously along, we're in a safe and happy place.

The uncertainty of what this day will bring is unsettling, but knowing the strength of the man lying in the bed beside me fills me with hope —all wrapped up in the faith and protection of God and all our angels up there with him.

I'm in the middle of reading Kelle Hampton’s Bloom. While an entirely different story, it seems surprisingly fitting tonight. Kelle talks about how sometimes it's the struggles, the challenges in life that mold our character into something strong, resilient, beautiful. And it's true. In the hardest of times you can learn the biggest of lessons, witness the greatest of graces.

And so I take on this challenge, knowing we will get to the bottom of it and Sean and I will be stronger in the end. Never before have we sat in a room for hours, nothing to do, nothing to distract us, and just enjoyed the conversation. We joked about the "urinal" they expect him to use from his bed. Talked about (and disagreed on) names for our unborn children. Exchanged smiles and glances behind nurses’ backs. And laid in silence, trying to fall asleep but keeping each other awake with pillow talk from across the room. Yep, this "through sickness and health" thing? We got it. Maybe just 1 more task in the list of marriage preparation activities God had in store for us.


  1. I will keep Sean in my prayers. This post made me tear up, just thinking about how hard that phone call to the funeral home must have been for you.

    1. Thank you SO much! We really appreciate it :)

  2. This is so beautifully and eloquently written.You need to submit it to somewhere. It's amazing. Seriously. Amazing.

    1. Aww, thanks! You're so sweet! It definitely kept my mind busy when we had nothing else to do in the middle of the night :)

  3. ok I had to do a double (and triple take)--is that united hospital? I work on 2500!

    I hope everything is going well for you guys now!

    1. Yes!! He was in 3900 (the first night at least, then moved to 3400 I think). Small world!

      Thanks! He's definitely on the road to recovery, just keeping our fingers crossed it keeps up.