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Thursday, November 21, 2013


They walk among us.

Mortals, capable of immortal acts.  Sometimes I recognize them as they pass me in the hall.  Sometimes they are next to me on the elevator, seemingly normal human beings wearing white coats with novels in their eyes.

I watch them adjust their glasses, check their notes.  I notice the mechanical movements of their invaluable fingers.  Is it you?  Are you the one who plates the rib, that prevents the puncture?  Are you the reason my brother breathes again?  The sculptor of my mother's smile, can you restore my faith in life?

I thought we had moved past this, that day.  My kids had just finished the EOC.  You were not awake yet, but life was beginning to resemble some state of normalcy for the moment.  It was Friday, 2:20 pm when my phone rang.  We were in the library, waiting for the bell to ring.  I had gotten my kids jolly ranchers for the test, and had just placed one in my mouth.  Sour apple, which forever tastes rotten to me now.

Molly calls.  By now I've learned that no news is good news.  I hardly want to answer, so I don't.  Then I call right back.

They are not sure what happened, but you started bleeding heavily from the tracheostomy tube in your neck a short while ago.  You are currently being prepped.  I need to come quickly. 

I know I sound agitated to my sister.  A defense mechanism to hide the fear, the adrenaline that was now surging through my body.  As I quickly walk through the crowded halls back to my classroom, I want to scream.  Instead I grab my things quietly, and I make my way to the car.  I make my way to you. 

For the first time since you were hurt, I allow myself to feel the anger I have been repressing.  I'm gripping the steering wheel so hard that my knuckles are white.  It's completely illogical, but I'm angry at everything, and everyone I've ever met.  I'm angry at the person who asked if I was okay as I ran out the door.  I'm angry at the strangers in the next lane.  I'm angry at you.

By the time I reach the hospital, you are in surgery.  Mom and Dad and Molly are pacing outside the ICU waiting room.  I take a mental note as to the normalcy of this sight to my eyes now.  No one knows what happened.  You were doing so well, and then the sudden bleeding.

So here you are again, fighting for your life.  And here we were, clinging to a doctor's nod and a few baffled stares.  Bobby's plane will be landing soon, and he will come straight here.  One of your nurses informs us that the surgery is underway.  I call Mike and inform him that I won't be picking Frankie up from DayCare. 

This operation doesn't take as long as the others, and soon your surgeon is explaining to Mom and Dad that everything went well.    He has repaired the tiny tear in your jugular vein that caused the bleeding.  He referred to it as a "pin prick".  The doctor went on to say that he has never seen anything like this three days after a surgery.  He says that he is unsure of how it happened but assures us that it is fixed, and that he has eliminated the possibility of any further tears. 

It was later that mom told me.  She had been near your room when the bleeding began.  When she was alerted, she entered to find a doctor with his finger in your vein to stop the bleeding.  As the nurses cleaned your blood-soaked sheets, he stood next to you, explaining to mom that he was gently "pulling" the vein tissue upward.  He had seen this procedure done before, read about it somewhere.  While they were prepping your operating room and contacting your surgeon, he was saving your life, calmly and methodically in front of your mother.  Two days later you opened your eyes. 

Mortals, capable of immortal acts.

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