Are you still here? Do you remember me? I feel like I have been away from the real world for much longer than a week. Between being in the hospital with Mom and hearing nothing but Rita coverage for DAYS and DAYS ad nauseam, I am devouring every newspaper I have been able to get my hands on. When you are locked in the same place for so long and the only news you hear pertains to a hurricane, the aftermath of a hurricane and the hysteria of the media about a hurricane, you begin to feel like the rest of the world must have stopped with you. It feels like a shock to emerge and see that the rest of the world went on without you. You mean there is life outside of Houston? Outside of the hospital? Who knew! Where do I begin to update you?
I’ll start with Mom. The doctor that called me at home was jumping the gun with calling me. I mean, Mom is not going to hop out of bed and be better, but at that moment she was not dying. Not immediately. Do I think she will heal from this? I certainly hope so. But, she has so many things wrong and so many things going against her. It is heartbreaking to see one thing get better only to have something new pop up. Example: Today, we were thrilled to see that her fever was down. Her fever has been a big source of head-scratching because they cannot find the source of her infection. So, no fever is great. Of course, not to let us get too hopeful, her x-rays showed that her lung had collapsed. See? For every good news medically, we get something new that is a set-back. The emotional roller coaster is harder than I could ever do justice to with mere words. I am a mess. A MESS. I cannot describe the hell it is to get a phone call telling you to come to your mother’s bedside to say goodbye and then be told that “oops, not quite yet”, so you stay so that you can sit with her and try to comfort her when all you want is for her to comfort you. It is an emotional mind-fuck if ever there was one.
She continually asks me to take her home. Oh how I wish I could! I hate leaving her and knowing that she would give anything to be able to go with me. Her tears kill me. There is nothing I can do reassure her or give her what she wants. She wants to talk. She wants to go home. She wants someone to promise her that she will get better. I feel so damn helpless not being able to give her any of those things. It’s not fair. I know. I know. No one said life was fair. But holy crap on a crispy cracker this is outrageously unfair.
But wait, the fun never stops here! In the midst of this we are told that “Sorry ‘bout it, but a Cat-5 hurricane is headed your way. Get the hell out of dodge!” If it was just me, I would have completely ignored the warnings. But, my sister has 2 young children that she wanted to keep safe. So, we did what we felt we should do to protect them. We loaded them up–along with a 3 month old puppy– and hit the road. Along with 2.7 MILLION other Houston area residents. My sister had the van with the air conditioner and the kids and puppy. I had the small car all to myself with no air. I asked her more than once if she wanted to switch cars in order to get a break from the kids. She, however, said that I looked “pretty damn hot back there” and that she was just fine with her own little chaotic van.
It took us 12 hours– TWELVE HOURS– to go just over 50 miles. 12 hours. 50 miles. (For those of you who know Houston, we got from I-10 and Beltway 8 to southern part of Loop 336 in Conroe in those 12 hours. We began to lose all mental control when we hit Hwy 1488 and still knew it would be at least an hour to the next exit.) I suppose it was around the 5th hour that I started to go a bit mental. I called Jenny just so that I could scream at someone who would hardly even bat an eye at my rantings.
But the drive is an entirely different entry that involves flying bras, Pull-ups and flashing busloads of prisoners. You may feel guilty for laughing, but trust me, it was entertaining to hear (not so much to live, though). I will post that one later today. I mean, you know what they say….Always leave them wanting more. Oh, I want to tell you all about the amazing people I met while I was at the hospital in lock-down for 36 hours. Everyone has a story if you will just sit quietly long enough to listen to the people who will share them with you. From a Katrina evacuee to a surgeon to an alcoholic who was there for detoxing, I met many people who touched me deeply just by sharing who they are with me. I would never ask for the situation I was in, but if I had to be there, I am glad I was there with the people I got to know. But again, that is another story. Actually, many stories. But now, now I must sleep. I am still not normal. I still feel like I am a step or two behind the rest of the world. (More so than I usually am.) Will you come back again? I’ll leave the light on and the coffee pot full.