I was feeling completely helpless as I sat there afraid to touch my own child. There was no place on her that wasn’t covered with a bandage, a blanket, a wire, a tube. It was a frightening sight. However, in true Gingham fashion, no matter what our circumstances or how dire they were he always made me laugh. I’m not sure if it was nervous energy, but he could crack a joke, make a comment or just be silly and the mood would lighten. He was good to have around in that sense. He and I sat there for a long time. His mother and our other daughter wanted to come see her, but only two people were allowed in at a time and I was not planning on leaving. Her room for now would be right next to the OR. The tubes were gone from her throat, but they were still in the “watching” stage and she wasn’t gong anywhere, which meant neither was I. One by one Ginghams’ mother, sister and my other daughter would come in and out of this area and spend some time just staring at her in the blanket cocoon. The nurse would come in and ask if I was ok every now and then and give me an update that her status was the same or minimally improving and they had hopes of putting her in a real room in the near future. She spent about five hours outside the OR when they finally decided she was stable enough to move to a room on a regular floor. This hospital was not regular. It did not have regular rooms or regular floors or regular anything. It only handled trauma cases. It had helicopters landing all day every day with only trauma patients. There was no maternity ward or pediatrics wing. It was patient after patient with life threatening injuries. It was morbid and upbeat at the same time. It was and still is the only free-standing trauma hospital in the US. How we got here was still a mystery to me and being this all happened in the last twenty-four hours, I couldn’t think straight. Also I’d had sixty-two cups of coffee, no sleep and was beginning to be able to smell myself. As the staff got her together and were ready to move her to her room, they handed me a bag. “What’s this?” I asked. The nurse looked at me and said “Her things” I held the bag in my hand and could feel my arm begin to go numb. I slowly opened the bag and looked inside. There were only a few things in it; a bloody bra that had been cut in half, a bloody ripped piece of her shorts that she was wearing the night before, one flip-flop, a broken necklace and her ring. The ring I gave her when her troubles began. The ring that I wore the matching one of. The ring that had the word faith on the inside of it. The ring that was cut into two pieces in order to remove it from her broken finger. I closed the bag and just looked at Gingham. “Do you want me to carry it?” he asked. “No, I got it” I said, as I could hear my voice crack. I took a deep breath and we moved upstairs to her room. It was one of those fishbowl rooms with the big glass doors and wires hanging from the ceiling and machines and horrible fluorescent lighting. By the time all was said and done and she was in her room and they got her settled in and gave us chairs and blankets and more coffee it was close to 6pm. I could feel the delirium beginning to set in as it had been forever since I had slept, but my mind was alert, my body was fading. After a few hours of Gingham, my younger daughter and I just sitting there staring at her and each other….she opened her eyes. I felt everything in me go weak as I saw her looking around, seemingly disoriented and a bit scared. I stood up and again had nowhere to touch her and said “You’re ok baby, you’re going to be ok.” and she just looked at me, said nothing and tears ran down her face.

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