January 20, 2009

Memory Lane

I realized last night that I am reliving my past, only this time from a different position in the play. It is a very surreal feeling to be an actor in the same play with a new role.

In 1982 my father was in the hospital for an extended length of time. I was 12 years old then, so my role was that of the worried child that was blissfully oblivious to realities of the situation. I was shipped off to various relatives for the duration, only brought to the hospital for short visits from time to time.

Now, here I am in the hospital for an extended length of time. No longer blissfully oblivious, I am acutely aware of the realities of each symptom and each new day. Each step forward in this ordeal is followed by backward momentum that depresses the soul and terrifies the heart. I know what it means now when the doctor tells us the number that is associated with the white blood cell count. I know what it means when they tell us that he needs a CT scan of his lungs because white spots have developed on the x-rays.

The fear is often paralyzing when I stop to consider all the long-term possibilities. I wonder if this is how my step-mother felt those many years ago as she sat by my father's bedside, not knowing if he would live or die. I wonder if my father told her the same thing my husband told me today. I wonder how she might have reacted.

Mostly I'm wondering how much longer we will be here in this place. The butter colored walls are quite drab. I'm sure the designer thought yellow was a good color because it's supposed to be cheery. Really, though, it only looks institutional. It does not brighten the room or improve the atmosphere at all. The art on the wall - well, I guess they were striving for a homey feeling, but they missed in a big way. There's one picture in here. It's in a gold frame that's seen better days. The print is of a small lake surrounded by trees and flowering bushes. It's supposed to be pretty, but it really isn't all that pretty. Instead, it's boring and depressing because it's so generic. How many other prints just like this are stuck up on a wall in a hospital room just like this being stared at and contemplated by some distraught family member - just like this? The colors aren't even realistic, they're dull and muted.

I also know that I am not alone. All over the world there are many wives, mothers, husbands, children - all sitting in a room just like this and waiting. They all wait for answers, for cures, for futures. None of them know for certain where their journey will carry them. So here I sit, staring at yellow walls and bad art waiting for answers, cures and futures right along with a multitude of others who are unknown to me.

1 comments: said...

That's exactly how I felt when my mom passed away recently in the hospital. Really sad.