Thursday, October 11, 2012

Long Night


I generally feel the urge to blog about every two or three days, but for the last several days I’ve been silent. There’s a reason. It started with my wife having sharp pains in her side. She, being a tough woman, tried to ignore it and refused to go to the doctor even at my urging. Finally, on Monday she went. To make a long story short, three hours later she was getting prepped for surgery for an emergency appendectomy and I was sitting in the critical care unit waiting room. It was late and I was the only one there. In the course of her surgery, visiting hours also had ended so the hallways went vacant. I picked up a magazine and started reading, quickly discovering the magazine was from 2008. It had been sitting in this waiting room for more than four years. That got my writer mind going, thinking about all the people who had thumbed through these pages while their loved ones were being operated on and possibly fighting for their lives. It intrigued me in a slightly morbid way that my worries and fears for my own wife’s safety were universal, as if I was connected to thousands of people who had sat in this very chair during moments of crisis. As I looked about the empty, silent waiting area I could imagine the stress and tension. I could almost feel the sorrow of those who would learn that their loved ones did not make it. At that moment, I was in the loneliest place on Earth. About an hour later, a nurse cheerily popped her head in to tell me that my wife was fine and the surgery a complete success. My elation at the news momentarily cleared my writer’s mind and my full attention immediately focused on wanting to see her. As the nurse led me down the Critical Care Unit hallway my mind switched back once again to writer mode. The reason; I passed the rooms of those who would soon be deceased. The rooms that had the dreaded ‘no longer feed’ sign attached to their files. The doors were open and I was able to see their faces, drooped in the death mask, their skin so pale it reflected the hallway light. Some were conscious and their eyes shifted and followed me as I passed. But most were mere containers, waiting for their soul to be released. It creeped me out, yet fascinated me at the same time, wondering what these people were thinking, knowing their lives were coming to an end. I tried to capture that feeling when I wrote DROP OUT, but to see it for real left a powerful impression. When I finally reached the room my wife was in I was happily surprised that she was awake, in good spirits, and no longer in pain. Now, a few days later, she’s on the road to recovery. I told her about my walk, and the thoughts I had during, and she just looked at me and said in that sarcastic, snarky, tone that I love; “Maybe I’ll have Gall bladder issues and you can get a book out this.” I would have hugged her but I was afraid I might rip the stitches.