Monday, April 18, 2011

#3 Facebook = Powerful Prayers

I parked the car in the grey lot and found my way to Trauma.  I was told by the doctor that the surgery should only take a few hours and according to my clock she had another hour to go.  I informed the Trauma ICU that I was here and proceeded to go wait in the waiting room, with Dani in tow. 

The room was dimly lit and that’s about all I remember about the interior.  We initially sat at the back of the room, away from the TV and the few others who were waiting as well.  It had been less than 10 minutes since I posted on FB where I was and my phone began to blow up.  I swiped through the posts mindlessly and responded to text messages to keep my mind off of the wait. Soon a family came in and sat down near Danica and I.  They talked loudly amongst their selves, but not in English.  I thought to myself, “geez, really???”  Dani and I moved closer to the TV.

I remember looking around the room at the faces of the people.  I wanted to see if they were hurting the way I did.  I would give a smile and put my arm around Dani.  I watched the clock on my phone as the two hour mark was coming and I felt a panic arise.  I went down to the Trauma door (there was an intercom, and you had to be buzzed in) and asked if there was any word. Sadly the answer was no, so back to the room I went.

 Dani sat close to me as I watched the TV, I remember there was some stupid insignificant program on with people getting caught on film doing ridiculously dangerous stuff.  I wasn’t amused, neither was Danica.  I texted to friends, who gave me support, and I waited…seemed like forever.  Danica, being the 11 year old that she is, was bored and asked me when we were leaving.  I responded by telling her we were going to be here a long while.  My little smartass comes back with, “Man, this sure isn’t like Grey’s Anatomy” Some place in my mind, I found that remarkably hilarious but without humor I replied, “This is real life Dani.” 

Real life, real hurt…this stuff only happens to “other” people.  How surreal it all was to know I am someone else’s “other” people.  This was my reality, Hayley’s reality, everyone-that-cares-for-her’s reality.  Somehow, some way, I remained calm and silently cried while I watched through that stupid show and held Dani to my side.

Three and a half hours and counting…another trip to the intercom.  This time the response was that she should be coming in to ICU in about 45 minutes and that someone would come and talk to me and then we could see her.  I took that time and ran to my car, one-to smoke, two-to charge my dying phone, and three-to call Jen.  I told her everything I knew and she was strong for me and I faked strong in return.  We talked for awhile, smoked another cigarette, made other calls, and then headed back in…holding my breath. 

When I returned to the waiting room, I found a doctor looking around.  She asked if I was Hayley’s mom, then took me in a small room.  She explained all Hayley’s injuries and what was done to repair them.  I remember gripping the chair with all my might while she talked.  She was happy to tell me no colostomy and I was more than glad to hear it.  No 17 year old wants to live that way.  She talked about many other things that she explained in more detail than I understood, but what I did get out of it was that she was not done, Hayley need another surgery and they were going to keep her highly sedated for the next two days and watch for infection before they did the final repairs.  She says to me, “Hayley is a sick little girl.”  I would hear that phrase many more times throughout that night and as optimistic as I wanted to be, I started to think that phrase was a code for something more ominous, something I didn’t want to imagine, something I couldn’t begin to comprehend.

It was awhile longer before we were able to see Hayley, by this time her father had made his way from Morgantown to Inova.  A loved family friend brought him in and planned on taking Dani home with her for the weekend.  They waited in the hall while Jason and I went to see our daughter for the first time. 

It is very overwhelming to see a child in such a helpless condition.  She had tubes and lines and wires coming from every part of her body.  The nurses were busy transitioning her from surgery and trying to get her mixture of Fentanyl and Versed to a place that would keep her under and comfortable.  My baby’s hands were strapped to the bed so she wouldn’t try to yank out her breathing tube.  She was in and out of her dream place and when she was alert she would try to get the tubes out.  At one point I saw her say, “I want my mom” and when I went closer to her head she said, “I’m gonna throw-up.”  These are the last words I would hear/see her say for another 4 days.   She quietly slipped under as she adjusted to the sedation and then I allowed myself to break down. 

I spent a long time talking to the nurses and absorbing every inch of the room and the monitors.  I held her hand and watched her vitals.  Hours later when I knew she was stable and would be sleeping, her father and I decided to go home and get clothes.  I was assured she would be alright for the night and was given a number they said I could call at any time to check on her.  I love Inova nurses.

In my car I checked my phone. On FB my friends, family, and co-workers had flooded my page with prayers and thoughts.  On the drive home, I thought about those friends and how their prayers had became something tangible to me.  You see, they held me up every second I was at Inova.  They helped me keep my head up, they helped keep the strong tone in my voice, and they helped me help others who were as scared for Hayley as I was.  They helped me and they helped Hayley in a way that spiritually I was not able to.

I’ve battled demons my whole life; self-esteem issues, alcohol, financial issues, marriage issues.  My list is much like any others.  At the very worst of times, I would bow my head, cry my heart out, and wait for an answer that never came.   I eventually lost my faith and began to doubt.  I felt that the answers were within me, not some entity that I could no longer feel like I did in my youth when I was a devout Southern Baptist.  When I began to depend on myself, my life changed.  I became happy with my life and with myself.  I felt some shame that I no longer believed.  I didn’t often discuss my new religious views.  When life would throw me a dud, I took it in stride, but I never prayed again.  However, when bad things happened to friends and prayers were asked for, I would say a prayer…but was convinced my words fell upon deaf ears.

But this, this was out of my control.  I could not fix Hayley; her life was in the hands of strangers.  So, I had reached out.  To friends who did believe, whose lives were not so filled with the sin and shame that I had rolled around in.  I counted on them to pray for Hayley, because I felt unworthy to ask for anything, let alone to let my child survive this accident with some sort of a quality of life.  I felt my prayers would be worthless, so I let my friends pray.  Until later that night, alone in bed my prayers became pleas and I knew He was waiting to hear from me.

This poem was sent to me by a friend the next morning as we were driving back to Inova.  I just wanted to share with you.

"I'm all out of words
There's nothing I could say to you
To take away the hurt
So let me pray you through
Let me pray you through
Let me pray you through"

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