The view from my mother’s ICU room is horrendous. The blinds open to a cement wall covered in bird droppings and a small patch of ground where sun loving plants have been thoughtlessly plunked in the shade, leaving them pale and struggling to reach the sun.
It doesn’t matter, really. Not for her – she is fully sedated and has been for the last five days. And not for me – my eyes stay on her or on the monitors that prove she is still alive. I’ve become immune to the beeping of the alarms connected to her 7 IV drips and the whirr-hiss, whirr-hiss of the ventilator that breathes for her. Sleeping, eating, and showering feel more like indulgences than necessities. Writing down these words, even. It feels selfish because I can do this, perform this act. And she cannot do anything but exist under the care of doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and countless others who continually suction, stick, monitor and adjust her.
They are incredible human beings, the people in this hospital far from home. Their kindness, compassion, and patience bring me often to the brink of tears. I would have guessed that working in a place like this would cause one, maybe even necessitate that one, become hardened to the emotional vapors. But it could not be further from the truth. They are saints and angels and will forever have my respect and gratitude.
They seem to embrace our hope, though that hope is increasingly difficult to define. We cannot stand the thought of her suffering anymore. But we pray for recovery, wanting desperately to have more time, more of those moments we all seem to take for granted. A quick phone call to ask for a recipe, a shared laugh over something funny one of the children did, a Sunday dinner. At this point I’d exchange anything just to see her eyes open or hear her voice. There is so much left to share.