Friday, April 4, 2008

That Knot

Ugh. Few people know THAT knot. The knot that the parents of Ethan Powell have in the pit of their stomachs this evening. It feels literally like your heart is in your throat and you feel like you are holding your breath but then you realize you aren't.

You sit there in that room, doctors sit there with you. You all watch the monitors because you all know that there isn't one person in that room that can save that child right now. It's up to God and that baby at this moment. You watch the numbers and they mean so much, ever drift of a blood pressure every drift of a sat number means the world to you. You watch those numbers and when they start trending quickly in the wrong direction you see the doctors tense and the nurses look at them for instructions.

The monitor constantly sings it's scary song..... ding ding ding....ding ding..... over and over and over again no matter how many times they silence it. The blinking red numbers scream at you. Nothing else in the world exists. You don't hear the sounds of others talking, you don't hear the sounds of ventilators or the hustle and bustle in the hallways. You only hear the sound of that monitor and hang on to every word that is muttered from a doctor or nurses mouth..... listening, waiting for some indication that they know what's happening, for some clue.

You want to run away and hide and you want to run to your child and scoop them up and take them away from the invisible danger in the room. You can do none of those things. Helplessness takes over and you wish you could even cry but you can't. You are so far above, or maybe below any emotion.

The staff tries to comfort and inform you. You shake your head but don't really hear what they are saying......... the dinging of the monitor is so overwhelmingly loud and fills the entire room with it's terror. You sit there, the most insignificant person in the room yet the one with so much to lose. You are frozen in your seat as people glance your way, waiting for you to crumble. Yet they don't understand that you are so far beyond that, you are on autopilot. Time slows down, seconds become hours and that god forsaken dinging won't stop. You feel your heart pound and think it might just burst at any moment........

Maybe it gets better. Maybe with enough blood, enough medications, enough equipment they finally stabalize him. You walk to his bedside and hold him as much as you can, terrified to touch him, terrified to feel. You look at his battered body and, maybe selfishly, thank God for another chance. You push the thought from your mind as to what this constant turmoil is doing to him because the alternative is too much to bear. You kiss him and dust yourself off as doctors beging to put their chairs away and filter out of the room with a sigh of relief. But the knot never goes away, it stays in it's spot in your stomach, sometimes waning for a time only to be brought back up when it all starts over again.

You never know when that monitor is going to start, and you never know if this is the time they won't get it to stop. Your life hangs in the balance almost as much as your child's does, your very sanity dependant on what the next 30 seconds will mean. This is a ride you can't get off. A scary room you can't find the exit to. The walls close in on you.

Imagine living this every day. Imagine living this every hour. The rollercoaster ride from hell. Just imagine..... and you will understand why when it's finally over the relief is as welcomed as anything. The pain is there, but at least you know that this pain will be different, in some ways easier to bear in some ways more difficult. Because the rollercoaster, the teetering between life and death is now over and the decision has been made. Once again you kiss his tiny body, afraid to touch him, and exhale slowly as the knot, for the first time in a very long time........... fades away.

For years you continue to hear the sound of that monitor in your head, it wakes you from your dreams and sometimes prevents sleep from coming altogether. But now, you get to wake from the nightmare from time to time.

Please pray for Ethan tonight. Pray for him to be healed in whichever way God has planned for him. Comfort his parents and give them the strength to hold on and if the time comes, the strength to let go.....

1 comment:

pdrinkard@xanga.com said...

Hi Kat...I don't know you, just linked you from Ethan's chat room, but this is a very powerful expression of the reality of the situation you described...should be published somewhere to make real to those of us who have not gone through this some of the reality. I feel like I was there a little, and seeing it through the eyes of a sick child's parents.
I have been in the room of a dying friend, and know something about how fixed one gets on those moniters and stats, but not with the eyes of a parent. Thank you for such a thoughtful, well-expressed post. May the Lord continue to heal you and Ethan's dear folks of the pain.