The good news was I had a place to stay. The bad news was it was with fifteen of my new best friends whom I had only just met. And not even properly, mind you. We were all thrown together in the waiting area for the CVICU. Mama didn’t want me to stay, but I was without wheels and it was too late to call someone for a ride home by the time they got Mama settled in her new room. Night 2 of HospitalStay.
The lights were still bright in the waiting room around midnight. I only hoped they would eventually dim them. Let me go ahead and break the suspense. They did not. Bright lights. All. Night. Long.
The TV was blaring TNT. Now for those that love car chase movies with constant car crashes and gunfire, well, people is this the place for you! Oh, and if you are hard of hearing, never fear, you would not have had a problem AT ALL in this room.
I called my sister who lives closest to the hospital. I told her I had my Kindle (yes very fortunate, that) and I could read but I was having a hard time focusing. I could have done any number of things with it, but what I really wanted to do was watch a show we had recently begun to enjoy at home–Duck Dynasty. I could download it through Amazon, but I would have to buy the whole season. My frugal sister said, “Do it. You deserve it. You need it.” Now, yes, she is my younger sister, but when this girl tells you to do something, it’s a little hard to say no. So I bought it and downloaded it. Because she told me to. (Yeah, that never really worked when I was young either.)
After I went back to visit Mama for the half hour I was allowed to be in there, I returned to the waiting area. I did have my favorite chair that was close to an outlet and was on an end of a row. Okay, I could do this. But wait…..pillows and blankets? These people had pillows and blankets! This was like every spend the night party I ever went to. Go to the bathroom or doze for a few minutes and totally miss out on everything! I looked around. The lights were still bright and the TV still blaring, but these folks were snoozing away, most of them. Because THEY had pillows and blankets. I was very sad. Pitiful even. I tried to use one of my bags as a pillow and my sweater as a blanket. I must say that the twenty minutes of sleep I got that night were delightful. And very rejuvenating. NOT.
Fast forward to the next night that I wrote about in The Three Gifts. After midnight when Sandy and I were by ourselves, cuddled under blankets brought by our friend, I pulled out the Kindle. With all the competing noise the night before, I had not even started watching Duck Dynasty. Sandy had never seen it, so we sat in the otherwise empty waiting area of the surgery unit and watched a little Duck Dynasty. We laughed at times, if a bit tentatively. I mean, really, these are just fun people. It was very surreal, laughing in the midst of the anxiety, but it helped.
After we watched an episode, we checked the clock for the umpteenth time. Sandy asked me if I had watched the link she had sent me earlier. I had not. Okay, she said, now is the time. And she introduced me to Sal Siccia, someone who was to bring us much comfort and many laughs during the HospitalStay. Bless him, he took requests. So friends, meet Sal.
It might have been that we were both so tired and anxious, but we laughed until our stomachs hurt and tears were running down our cheeks. I found myself going back to watch this at the oddest times, just to bring that great feeling of our camaraderie and laughter back for a moment. And can I just say that Taylor Swift is a true poet! So many times in the midst of all the unknowns for Mama during the HospitalStay, Sandy and I would say to each other, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” And when the folks on the STICU were a little too rigid with their visiting times? “Why you gotta be so MEAN?!”
It was a little over three weeks later that Sal shared this, a surprise and blessing that brought me to tears. A beautiful sympathy card.
A precious tribute to our Mama and all Mamas everywhere. I had never really heard that part of the song before.
Tonight I am thankful for the laughter amidst the chaos, the comfort of laughing with someone who gets it even when the situation calls for tears. I am thankful for twenty minutes of sleep feeling like a couple of hours. I appreciate the gift of a Kindle, of a sister telling me to take care of myself, and of good people sharing their stories. I give thanks that I have a new friend in Sal, who loves by sharing laughter and entertaining. Most of all I am thankful for my Mama, who laughed at all my jokes, even if she were rolling her eyes at the silliness. And for the way she could make me laugh without even saying a word. I’m thankful I’ve known a mother’s love. It just doesn’t get much better than that.