The agony of uncertainty while waiting for recovery fills your every day, chooses your every thought and each word you have to say. You sit beside your child’s bed, your mind chases what nurses, doctors said…
‘It won’t be long’ | ‘It’s too soon to tell’
‘A proven treatment’ | ‘In its trial phase’
‘We needed your permission first’ | ‘We had to go ahead without you’
‘A bit of a warning sign’ | ‘Nothing to worry about’
‘You can go in now’ | ‘We need you to leave’.
Anxiety peaks and ebbs like that brainwave pulse–up, down, up, down. Oh for a stable line on the former, a steady pattern on the latter.
‘Play favourite music tracks’ | ‘Don’t make so much clatter’
‘A calm atmosphere’ | ‘Mental stimulation’
You sit, as wallpaper, occasionally talking, anxiously waiting to start planning rehabilitation, while agonising on the question… How long before he’s walking?
I wrote this thinking back to the family’s near disaster some years ago, when our son was in the critical care unit of Auckland hospital. His side of a friend’s car had been tee-boned and he’d taken nine hits.
The first we knew was a phone call which woke us. As the voice on the other end of the phone spoke, I repeated it back to her – partly to check I’d heard it correctly, and partly so my husband would know what was happening.
A long night’s driving, then the first view of his body – hooked up to feeds, drains and monitors. Weeks in the CC unit, then a ward, followed by a transfer to Upper Hutt hospital via plane to be operated on by a plastic surgeon to repair a nerve (femoral, on the arm he made music with on guitar).
Well recovered now, and playing in VCRs and Vaseline – a Marilyn Manson tribute band – this is definitely in the past for us all.
But the jumble of feelings during his recovery time is unforgettable.