I open my eyes to darkness and my confusion is replaced by a reluctant awareness of where I am. The Connelly Center. Room 4. Far removed from the bustling noises and lights of the hospital. A separate, silent wing behind double doors which lead to a large, dark sitting room full of sofas. Beyond that is a locked door leading to the five private rooms given to those of us who would otherwise not sleep for days or weeks on end.
It's so quiet that I couldn't handle it last week and chose to go back to the comforting beeps and ventilator breaths of Henry's room. When Scott arrived from Bolivia, I was finally able to rest here. Now we take turns, night after night, so that one of us can sleep without interruption.
Tonight is my turn. But it's 2 am as the phone rings down the hall and I'm suddenly wide awake. I think of the other four and my breath catches as I realize that no one is answering and it might be for me. Perhaps all of us are hearing what I hear in my head: "Not me, not me, not me . . . ." There are no voices as the phone stops ringing, but a door opens at the end of the hallway and I wonder if it's the guard who mans this wing, coming to rouse one of us. "Not me, not me, not me . . . " I hear a soft knock, but not on my door.
(Written at 3 am because I couldn't sleep)
Does it sound too dramatic? It was.
This place . . . we have seen scenes here I wish I had never seen. I was able to block them out the first week . . . the other families who are going through their own worst days too. But this week, I see them. The couple standing outside the ER screaming and placing blame on each other. The young boy with no hair being wheeled into the hospital, recognizing where he is, becoming hysterical and terrified as his parents try to talk him into letting them make the pain go away. The mother sobbing in the waiting area of the PICU as her own mother tries to comfort her. I saw that woman and I've been that woman.
I will not miss this place.