Wednesday, February 15, 2017


The sun crushes my vision. I duck my head and squint, Saul like, and grimace at the irony of my prayer, 
Speak Lord. 
My heart snatches back at the prayer. Perhaps too reckless, too bold. But as I keep moving down the city street, obediently, mechanically walking to the hospital I know I need- beyond the word itself- beyond any previous meaning of need that I have ever known- I need to hear from Him.

Inside the giant bully of a building a small frail 72 year old woman helplessly waits. Unable to speak for the trach in her neck, unable to lift depleted limbs, unable to calm a fluttering heart, at the mercy of man, medicine, and my signatures of consent- she waits.

So I need answers.
The Mind of God. All knowing- past yesterday and beyond tomorrow.
Answers to the implications of an unknown future. Answers that die in certainty and do not live in my doubts, my dreams, my daytime business. When only one name fits on the line to sign away misgivings it is a very lonely thing. Even consulting doesn't add another place for a signature on a surgical consent, blood consent, procedure consent... Life and death by my name like the Queen of Hearts.

And the weariness. I know I must exude weariness like a perfume cloud. I am so saturated with it- it must leak out of me, through my porous bones into my thinning skin. I cover it with oils that mean to revive and calm but I know; I reek of tired.

My mind snatches at words, trying to hold the clarity and purpose of
Vasopressor, Dialysis, Tube-feeds, Epinephrine, PEEPS, Atrial Fibrillation,
Med Line, Tidal Volumes, TPN, A Lines, OT, PT, Creatinine, Transfusion,
Palliative Care,
I must know them all. And know what to say when the doctor's monologue ends with the inevitable...

“Do you have any questions?”

My, oh, my do I have questions.
Questions that would make you back away from the sheer raw pain.
Why is first.
It is a rare complication. Why her? Why now? Why are you so kind, Doctor, and so compassionate, so smart, so able to save and heal others but not my mother?

and How.
How do we know this is what “Needs to be done” ? How can she ever get out of this hospital that has held her here these 4 months? How does she who has been silent for 17 weeks speak again? How do I see beyond this bed that has become her ship in stormy seas. How do I remember health? How do I keep on making pictures of recovery and normal everyday life to distract her vision away from the endless tubes and needles?

When will hope return?
Who will she be when we reach the end. A sinner saved by grace- welcomed in peace and freedom from pain. Or will she be broken and forever walled in by machines. Life outside the window forever removed and out of reach. Alive enough to live, sick enough to die.

My feet ache from the walk, the long walk to go from me to my mother. And I selfishly gather the pain and rub my sadness into it. But larger than my inconveniences is her need.
So I walk I to the hospital,
and her room.

I walk into her need.
Larger than life- than my life- larger than everything
and pray God speaks.

Damascus words. Of love

and life.  

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