I am sorry to be bringing up a very, very bad day again. Blame the forgiveness project. After the whole miscarriage, pass out repeatedly, call 911 incident in the spring, I ended up at the hospital of my not-choice. The paramedics were wonderful. They acted at all times as if something was wrong with me and I needed help. Given my state, I found their attitude encouraging.
Once at the ER, I was left in the hallway for more than an hour. This did not feel nice, but at least I got to keep the paramedics. After that, they rolled me into an empty room and shut the door. Here, I inherited nurse primary and nurse other. For another couple of hours they did as little as possible to assist me. By request of my husband, I received oxygen and an IV drip. Otherwise, I was told to walk to the bathroom and sighed at when it was explained that I couldn’t go two steps without passing out. Help bells were rung and ignored when my husband was worried about how long I had passed out for, or about me having a seizure. Nurse primary was rather uncomfortable with the sight of blood. (It made it hard for us to develop a positive relationship as my entire condition was all about continual bleeding.)
Dr. in charge, came by a couple of times, as in twice, possibly three times, for about 45 seconds each time. He was sure the worst was past and I’d be going home soon. It was difficult to see what he was basing his diagnosis on, as no one, nurse or doctor, ever did an assessment of me. In fact, oddly, until I was transferred to the angelic OB/GYN’s no one actually touched me, except to draw blood. They glanced briefly at my face, but mostly they looked at their charts or the machines that told them about me.
That was in March. This is December. I know. I should have forgiven them by now. I have tried not to think about them. They kind of popped out after I thought about vegetable man. Did I mention also that my disgust for them feels justified?
I too have treated people as interruptions rather than human beings. I have failed to see fear and vulnerability, and so failed to provide empathy or care. I have failed to see the people I am assigned to care for, bleeding to different kinds of death right in front of me.
To the nurses and doctor assigned to me that day, I forgive you. I have been you too. May we all have fresh eyes to recognize the very real needs around us. May we have to grace to respond with compassion, and the humility to say, I’m sorry. May you and your families be much blessed this Christmas and always.
photo compliments of morguefile.com
In the spring, I had a miscarriage that went beyond sad, straight past to scary. My then nine year old was home sick from school. Sick, but quite recovered enough to be enjoying his first Indiana Jones movie while I was passing out on the bathroom floor. Everything was trending with a distinct downward trajectory, so I eventually made him stop the movie and call his father, who could not be reached. Against boy’s strong wishes, but saving him from finding me unconscious and unable to be revived later, I made him call 911. (I would have gotten the phone myself, but the inability to stand and remain conscious was challenging me at the time.)
Son relayed when a police car arrived in the driveway. I had to argue him into answering the door. The ambulance came followed at last by my husband. I worried about my son, but there wasn’t anything to say other than please not to worry, and the ambulance people would make everything better.
In the days that followed, we said thank you. We told him we were proud of him. In the quiet spaces, I tried to check in.
“How are you doing about when you were home with me that day?”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. I just didn’t want to talk to the 911 people.”
“So really, you’re ok?”
“Yeah. I really liked that movie.”
A check in a week or so later yielded similar results. I decided not to push the point. If he wasn’t traumatized because he didn’t understand how serious things has been, I didn’t see anything good about changing that. And if he was upset, he wasn’t ready to talk yet.
Last week, a little more than six months since that day, we were sorting through his clothes.
“What’s with these shorts?” I ask. “You never wear them.”
“Give them to charity. I hate them.”
“They don’t fit or you don’t like them? What’s wrong with them?”
“I hate them. They fit but I’ll never wear them. You were wearing shorts just like that the day the ambulance came.”
“You don’t wear these shorts because I was wearing shorts like this the day I went to the hospital?”
“Yeah. I’m never wearing those shorts. ”
“So you were scared that day?”
“I was so scared. I didn’t even know what would happen. And then they took you in the ambulance. It was a really bad day.”
“I’m sorry all that happened.”
“Are you ok now?”
“Yeah, but I hate those shorts. Give them to charity.”
“They sound like pretty lousy shorts. Maybe we should burn them.”
Boy slowly grins. The thought of the shorts on fire is in his eyes.
“Maybe, I’ll burn mine too,” I say. “I don’t really like the shorts I wore that day either.”
“Yeah, we can burn them both.” Boy laughs, then looks me in the eye. “We can just give them away. It’s ok, Mom.”
My heart lets go a little more, because finally, I believe him.