Tuesday, July 26, 2011

living in an alternate reality

In the past week, we have spent much time in the alternate reality that is a hospital.   I don't want to dwell too much on the details here, we have shared much of those through emails and calls with family and friends, but my mother-in-law has been in an ICU with a serious illness that came on very suddenly and is still little understood.  Thankfully she seems to be responding to treatment thus far.

In the many hours of time in waiting rooms over the past few days, I have had plenty of time to think.  Hospitals truly are a unique environment, especially around the ICU.  Time has much less and night blur as activity happens round the clock.  Visiting at 1 am or 5 am seems as normal as mid-afternoon. Time sometimes seems to go by very slowly, and other times rushes by.  We learned quickly that very little activity, being told "no change", and progress that is slow enough to make a snail look like a sprinter, is actually preferable to any sign of rapid activity or major change, which is almost always bad.  We are learning to love the boring days for the slow progress that is afforded by them.

The human side of this alternate reality is strange as well...people who are brought close by loved ones who are suffering, many people in waiting areas who do not look each other in the eye for fear of what they might see there, an insular world where it seems nothing is happening beyond the hospital walls.  Weather, world events, daily routines at home all seem meaningless there.  All focus is on our loved one, and while we can do nothing to help but be there by her side, it is enough. 

At the end of the day when we come out of the hospital, blink in the sunshine and head home, we re-enter our normal world, realizing that it is just a bit more fragile than we thought.  I hug my husband a little tighter, and wrap my arms around my children, trying to give them just a little more love. 

( I may be more absent from this blog over the next week than usual, but hope to return to more regular posting soon.  Take care....Katie)

1 comment:

  1. Whew... I have read and reread this post a few times. I had a hard time getting through the entire thing... it kept bringing me back to when my mom was in the hospital and when I was in with Lucas. You really nailed the time warp and oddity of a hospital. It's an entirely different world that is very hard to describe to someone that hasn't gone through it. Unfortunately my mom never left (but we pretty much knew that going in) but I am SO glad to hear that husbands mom is out and on her way to recovery. life is too short and too fragile. hugs!