She was gone one hour. One. Enough for Gingham and I to get a cup of coffee, set our younger daughter up on a waiting room couch, plug-in our phones and then the nurse was back. “Come with me please” she said to us. We got up and obediently followed her. Gingham asking a million questions as we walked. “Why is she out already?” “What’s going on?” “Is something wrong” The nurse never had time to answer before he shot her another question. Finally we were back where we said our goodbyes to her and she was there and so were three doctors. Her eyes were not open, she was not moving and I began to get a sinking feeling. One that made my legs feel weak. We stared at the doctors intently when the young one spoke “We just took her in for x-rays. We needed to put her under based on the pain level she is in. We are now going to take her for surgery and just thought you’d like to see her one more time.” I wanted to punch him in the face and hug him at the same time. I grabbed her limp hand in mine and squeezed it three times, as I had done since she was a little girl. One – I, Two – Love, Three – You. I waited a beat in the hopes that she would repeat my squeeze with the appropriate four squeeze answer. One – I, Two – Love, Three – You, Four – Too. No squeezes and then she was gone again. We went back to the waiting room where Gingham’s mother and sister were waiting for us with our younger daughter. I had now been up over twenty-four hours. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t really speak. I called Jolly Guy and he began to cry. I could her his voice waiver when he said as soon as he was done with work he’d be back in the car and on his way back down. We sat in the waiting room for what seemed like a lifetime. I tried to sleep, I paced, I text my girlfriends, I called my parents, I joked a bit with Gingham and I waited. And waited. Seven hours later the nurse appeared again. Gingham and I instantly got up and ran over to her. The hospital was massive and everything took forever to get to. “She’s out of surgery.” She said, but didn’t sound all that enthusiastic. “She is still intubated and will need to stay next to the OR for the next few hours because we could only stop some of her internal bleeding and the doctors don’t want to risk moving her to a room yet. You can see her, but she is sedated.” We followed in silence. I could tell gingham was nervous and scared and looking to me to hold it together as I always did. This was above and beyond what I’d ever imagine happening, but hold it together I did. We walked in and saw her. She was wrapped in blankets from head to toe. There were tubes coming out of her from every which way. There were wires and beeping sounds and pressure sounds and air sounds and it all made me nauseous. We were only allowed to stay with her for a minute and then were told to go back to the waiting area and they would find us as soon as they were satisfied she was no longer in any imminent danger. Gingham and I by this point in our lives had a good rapport with each other. He would call me by his last name or mama or whatever other silly name he thought up thinking he was clever. As we walked those hallways back and forth to see our oldest daughter we joked and giggled and flirted, but it was more nerves than anything else. We were her parents. And she needed us. A few hours later the nurse returned again. “Follow me” she said. Again we walked down the hallway to our child. The tube was out of her mouth. Her whole body looked swollen and was covered in warm blankets. She was enveloped like a cocoon, keeping her warm and safe. Something I wished at that moment I could have done for her. Safe and warm, that’s a mother’s job isn’t it?
2 thoughts on “Intubate”
A parent’ worst nightmare seeing their child in a dangerous situation. Nice writing, shows lots of emotion.
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I can’t believe that didn’t warn you when they took you back. On the one hand, how thoughtful to let you see her again. On the other, how silly not to know you might think the worst.
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