Friday, May 4, 2012

And Now We Wait

I guess I would be remiss if I didn't mention that my brother is a cop.

In 18 years on the force, he has made many friends and they spent the whole first day coming in and out. I think that someone was mistaken when they called it the "thin blue line," because the line of law enforcement was long, strong and steady. We made the "large family" with the GSW rather nervous for a day or two and even caused more than one family member to pull his pants up and straighten out his hat or nervously exit the building. When I pointed this out to my family, my daughter scolded me for not being politically correct. "I noticed that too" her boyfriend remarked, never looking up from his phone.

My father and step-mother came. I learned that my stepbrother, recently released after lung cancer surgery, had returned to the hospital. My eldest niece, RaRa, was also coming to the hospital at 5:30pm. She was having her labor induced and soon we would be welcoming a new baby boy. I couldn't help but think of the old wives tale, that when a new baby comes into a family, someone old goes out. I worked hard to push that thought out of my mind.

On the second day of  Dooder's hospital stay was my oldest daughter's, Julz, graduation from a local medical program.  It was hard to celebrate this victory for one family member, while another had just started the battle.We had all taken the day off weeks prior, but this newest development left a bittersweet aftertaste.

Dooder had been Julz biggest fan,  since day one, and she was equally smitten with him.

 The day of her birth coincided with his Senior prom. I remember the nursing staff smuggling him and his date into my LDR room (a no-no back then) so that I could see them. I tried my best to not show any pain and keep a smile on my face while they visited. They went off to enjoy the prom. When it was over, rather than going to the "after prom breakfast" they came to the hospital to wait out the rest of my labor.  I have pictures of my brother's mulleted head, leaned back on the wall, mouth agape, asleep.

He had been very excited to have a new baby in the family. Most likely to have a new audience for his never ending barrage of jokes, stories and one-liners.  When she arrived, he held her like she was the most precious possesion on earth. She smiled that precious little baby smile (that they always say is gas for some reason) at him for the the first time and he was awestruck. 

Over the years, Julz was always guaranteed to laugh at whatever silliness he threw her way and she always enjoyed his company.  As she got older,  trying to become her own person, they butted heads over the decisions that she made, and the guys that she saw, as much as if she were his own child.

Celebrating without him just didn't feel the same.

We collectively rushed to reach the chapel at the hospital where the graduation service was to be held. The chapel was large, but not quite large enough for all. Seating was scarce and we felt a little guilty as we saved a whole pew. The ceremony took a few hours and afterward we were treated to a reception. Then we all went back to the hospital to be with Dooder.

Arriving in the lobby, I noticed a congregation of familiar faces. My neices, RaRa and AA, standing by the elevators! RaRa was in her street clothes with her i.v. port in her arm, pregnant belly leading the way. Turns out, there was a shortage of nurses, only 7 for the 17 LDR rooms on the unit. AA had her walking, so they wanted across the crosswalk to our side of the hospital.

They had taken him for surgery on his collarbone. They wound up having to put in a plate. While he was asleep, things were good, but when he'd start to wake, he would thrash and fight. I couldn't bring myself to stay in there.

I bought a notebook so that we could keep up with all who had come by. Had I thought about it earlier, I would have brought one with me on the first day, because there were far more visitors that first day. We tried to write down as many as we could remember, but we know that we do not have them all.

My Facebook account was on fire. Messages from accross the country filled my wall, and Dooder's wall. I answered endless messages. I really wish I knew how to copy and paste on my Kindle. It would have made the whole process easier.

In the midst of answering messages and speaking to visitors, a woman came in. We were told that she had been a girl-friend of his friend Steve. Afraid that she was there to start trouble, I jumped to my feet.There had been enough drama and I was determined that there would be NO MORE DRAME. She had seated herself away from our group and when we were no longer looking, she wandered into the unit.  The Chief followed her down the hall. She apparently took a wrong turn because The Chief was able to make it back to the nurses station before her.  Because he had been so aggitated, they were limiting visitors anyway, so they stopped her right there.

Finally, the events of the day proved to much for me.
Exhausted, we said our goodbyes and went home. I posted one more time on my Facebook that I was exhausted and needed to gear up for Day Three.

I don't even recall my head hitting the pillow.

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