The oncology ward is a place of family independence. There are some seriously ill people in there with six patients to each nurse. Families are encouraged to get food or snacks for the patient from the handy dandy kitchen, bathe the patient with handy dandy bath packs that can be micro-waved and get anything else to make the loved-one more comfortable . We quickly learned that the more we could do to help out the nurse, the better it would be for Rick.
The hospital is an eerie place to be at night, glowing rooms with TV sounds emerging; beeping, clicking, buzzing, hushed voices, whirring cart wheels. It's like a city that's still awake but put in low gear, still moving, a slower pace. Radiation in the middle of the night, wheeled in, zapped, wheeled out. Vitals check, LIGHTS, pshh, pshh, pshh, hisssssss, crunch, crunch. "Can I get you anything before I go? Goodnight."
One night that I stayed with Rick, he woke me up. He was thrashing around and talking to himself. I quickly ran around to the side of the bed. He was tearing everything out of him, tape, IV lines, catheter; he was going crazy. "Rick, I'm here. It's me." I said in a soothing voice. "Where am I?" he said as he looked around the room. “The hospital, remember, Fairfax Hospital?" I whispered and pressed the button for the nurse. Luckily she arrive soon after and set things straight. I helped him back into the bed.
"I thought I was in a hotel. I couldn't figure out where I was." he said as his eyes closed again. He mumbled, “You're with me, Janie. You won’t leave?” I’m here," I said. “Everything’s alright.” Everything wasn’t alright but there was nothing to fix it. I couldn’t sleep, my eyes wide open.
How did we get here? Will it ever end? I can’t face him dying. I don’t want him to die! I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to be a single mother. I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this!
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.