Write about anything you’d like, but make sure the post includes this sentence
“I thought we’d never come back from that one.”
Daily Prompt: Use It or Lose It
She looked at the clock for what surely must have been the millionth time. “It shouldn’t be taking this long,” she muttered to herself, as she paced the floor of the waiting room. She had grown tired of trying to read, and the television couldn’t hold her attention either. As desperately as she wanted to be distracted, her eyes kept looking toward the clock, which kept ticking the time away, second by second… minute by minute… hour by eternal hour…
“How much longer, Lord?” she prayed. “How much longer?”
As fear tried to dig its miserable talons into her heart, she fought to maintain control of her emotions. “I will not panic… I will not cry… Lord, I will trust in You with all my heart, and lean not on my own understanding. Father, I don’t understand! Help me! Be near me, O God, and hear the cries of my heart! Keep him safe, Lord, because I don’t know if I could stand losing him,” she prayed, as she choked back a sob, drawing a deep breath slowly through her nostrils, and then releasing that breath slowly, slowly, through her mouth.
She thought back to that day a couple of weeks earlier, when she and her husband met with the doctor. “The Nissen fundoplication is a common procedure, that usually only takes us around one to two hours perform, barring any complications. We will perform this surgery laparoscopically, unless we run into any complications, in which case, we will have to open his stomach to complete the surgery. Of course, we’ve performed this surgery numerous times, so it is very unlikely that we will have to open him up.”
She didn’t worry when the clock passed the two-hour point and moved to three hours. After all, she had been with enough family members to know that surgeries often times took longer than they were projected to take. Still, at the four-hour mark, though she tried not to, she began to worry, and now, after more than eight hours, her calm facade had dropped, and she had begun pacing the floor of the waiting room, looking again and again to the clock, which had somehow grown into an ominous enemy, as the hours continued to tick by.
She felt the panic within her trying to gain control, as she tried to stamp it down. She was alone in the waiting room, except for her fifteen year old daughter, who had made the hundred mile trip to the hospital with them. It was only her daughter’s presence that kept her from giving in to her mounting fears. Finally, after nearly nine hours, the phone in the waiting room rang, and she pounced on it, fearful of losing whoever might be on the other end.
“Mrs. Hopkins?” the impersonal voice on the other end asked.
“Yes,” she said breathlessly, her daughter looking expectantly at her.
“As you know, we ran into some complications during the surgery –”
“Complications?” she interrupted. “What kind of complications? Is he ok?”
“Didn’t anyone come out and talk to you?” Now the voice on the other end wasn’t as impersonal as before.
“No one has come to see me. My daughter and I have been here since early this morning, and no one has told us anything. Is — he okay?” She lowered her voice, not wanting to upset her daughter.
“He’s doing much better now,” the voice on the other end spoke gently, comfortingly now. “He’s in recovery, and this is against our normal policy, but would you like to come down and see him?”
“Oh yes,” she whispered gratefully, looking at her daughter and nodding with tear-filled eyes, that she fought to keep at bay. “Our fifteen year old daughter is here too, and I can’t leave her alone. Can she please see her daddy too?”
The person on the other end acquiesced, and after receiving directions, she and her daughter hurried to the recovery room to see her beloved. As she pressed the button to gain access to the recovery room, she was met by a nurse, “Mrs. Hopkins?” It was the voice she had spoken to on the telephone.
She nodded and hugged the nurse in gratitude, as the nurse explained the complications that had arisen during surgery. “The wall of his diaphragm was so thin, that the laser punctured it, collapsing his left lung. Therefore, we had to abandon the laparoscopic procedure and open him up. He looks pretty bad right now, and he’s in a lot of pain, because we had to open his stomach up, but we expect him to make a full recovery. He also has a chest tube on his left side, to keep his lung from collapsing again. We expect him to be here for at least a week before he can go home. Now, would you like to see him?”
She and her daughter both nodded, as the nurse led them around the corner to the only occupied bed in the recovery room. There he was, her beloved. The man who had captured her heart almost twenty years before, laying there with tubes coming out of his chest and his stomach, groaning in pain. She grabbed his hand, and he opened his eyes, smiling at her and their daughter. And though he wasn’t strong enough to tell them, his love for both of them was evident in his eyes.
Though she requested it, she and her daughter were not allowed to spend the night with him, so at around 11:00 that evening, they drove back to their hotel room, planning to be back to the hospital early the next morning. His recovery was slow, requiring him to remain in the hospital for more than two weeks, before he was well enough to make the two-hour drive to their home. Her daughter had gone home with her grandparents the day after the surgery, but she stayed behind with her husband, to nurture and encourage his recovery.
Finally, after what seemed a lifetime, he was discharged, and the two of them began the long journey home. It was a difficult ride for him to endure, because he was still so sick, but both were glad for him to be out of the hospital. Perhaps once he got home he would heal quicker. When the two finally arrived home, and she helped him to settle in the hospital bed that had been donated to them for his recovery, he grabbed her hand, looking into her eyes with great love and said, “I thought we’d never come back from that one.”
Cheryl A. Showers