My photo
mommy. wife. teacher. yogini. writer. coffee drinker. aunt. crocheter. reader. dog lover. scattered. methodical. rational. irrational. paranoid. annoyed. lost. found. content. searching. peaceful. i am constantly in search of my story. the one i have never happened. the one i've lived i cannot write.

02 March 2009

chapter 4.

chapter 1.
chapter 2.
chapter 3.

chapter 4.

everything up until this point had drifted.
if there had been urgency on the part of the doctors and staff in waterloo
they had done an amazing job of concealing it from me.
they had been gentle
and worked at a pace that i seemingly set.

but as i was pushed through the double doors at the university of iowa hospitals
my world spiraled out of control.
i was pushed into a room
very much like the ones i watch every thursday night.
teal tiles
a bright light overhead
surgical steel
sterile draperies
trays of tools
and a waiting staff

hands began grabbing at me
throwing me onto another gurney
without any regard for the pain that was surging through my right leg
my modesty was cut off of me
along with the rest of my clothing
questions were thrown at me from every direction...

how far along are you?
what is your name?
how old are you?
do you know where you are?
can you feel this?

then there were the orders...

take off her jewelry!
get those dressings off!
get x-ray on the phone!
don't move your head!
don't move your head!
wiggle your toes!
stop moving your head!

i remember trying to ask questions...

where is my husband?
does he know i'm here?
can i have some water?
how is my baby?
where is my husband?

at some point everything slowed down.
after my clothes were cut off of me
and the leg dressings removed
i was wheeled into x-ray
three young women, barely out of college
worked to lift me
34 weeks pregnant
onto the flat x-ray table from the gurney.
the nurse, a woman who worked with my sister per chance
stood behind me and rubbed my hair.
it must be something they teach all nurses to do
as it was the second nurse today to try and calm me down using this method.

the girls puzzled over how to position me to get the best shot.
they couldn't move the leg
they couldn't move me.

can you roll over?
can you lift your right hindquarter in the air?
can you lift your left leg?

i wiggled as best i could
realizing very quickly that i had no control over my lower extremities
and the inability to control my abdominal region.

i was wheeled
back into the sterile environment which i had arrived in.
men in white coats waited for me and stood
in corners of the room without saying a word.
a woman
a nurse whose name i have sadly forgotten
stood with me
and my baby
watching her heart beat
helping me to see
and hear
the little thumps that sounded so much
like the clogging of horses' feet.

a charlie horse.

bill arrived.
my family behind him.
his family behind them.
and we waited.
and waited.
and waited.

i sucked water out of small pink sponges
and kept an ear on charlie's heart rate.
i mourned the loss of my jean jacket
an article i had had since college
a birthday present from bill (that i bought and informed him of).

him: i'll buy you another one.

that little ba-da-dump was got us through the waiting.

nurse (whose name is forgotten): do you have a name?

we had vowed to only tell family charlie's name.
we had our reasons
and they were many.
but as we waited in that room
in that environment that reeked of blood and rubbing alcohol
it was clear we needed to say it out loud
for she was as much a patient in all of this as i was.

him: charlie.
me: charlie jo.
nurse: how perfect...charlie jo. i love it.


thin and lanky
long white coat
coffee in hand.

i had seen him when i was brought into the trauma center.
he had spent much of his time observing what was going on.
he was not as hurried as the others;
he carried himself slowly and quietly
which is probably why i noticed him
and remember him.

he stood at the foot of my bed.
introduced himself
doctor something.
coffee in hand, he reached out and brushed a finger along the top of my right foot.

doc: can you feel that?
me: no.

a quiet sigh through the nose.
some further pondering.
further poking.
he'd seen the x-rays
he'd seen me
he'd sipped his coffee.

and then he said the words that will stay with me for the rest of my life:

"well...i think we're going to try and save your leg."

1 comment:

Meg Hill said...

the tears are flowing! can't wait for the next chapter - this is easier to read knowing the outcome. Knowing that I can stop in and chat about it with you tomorrow - that we can WALK down the hall and roll our eyes at 8th graders together.

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