I shocked myself with my honesty. I felt like I betrayed you. But lying wouldn’t have done anyone any good. In that hospital bed with your bloodied bedding pulled out onto the table beside you, it was plain to see you needed help.
You needed my help.
I was lucky to have Dave by my side because I could barely stand or think. I usually have a constant rambling in my mind of things to do, what to say, how to act. The thing is that when I’m around you, I shrink. I’m back to being five years old, walking home from kindergarten, excited to have you make me a bowl of chicken noodle soup that I’ll eat while I watch Blues Clues.
You had a thing for Steve.
When the physician’s aid came into your curtained room to staple your head wound, Dave and I excused ourselves. I leaned with my back on a hallway wall, unable to put into words how I was feeling. There were so many things wrong and your head being stapled around the corner was just the most recent wrong thing. Dave kept poking his head around the corner for me to see if the coast was clear. I felt like a wimp.
As detached as we are, you’re still my mom.
When the carnage was over, the ER doctor came by to update us on your status. “Will she be here overnight,” I began asking the doctor, “Or are you going to release her or…?”
“I think we’re going to transfer her over to the crisis wing,” she said while looking over at you briefly. “I think she can benefit from speaking with a counselor. So we will move her over shortly and we will have someone speak with you about the next steps in her treatment plan.”
After the doctor left, you kept trying to wave us off. You didn’t want to keep us, but we insisted we were staying. The nurse wheeled you down the hallways and we trailed along behind you. She had to get a security guard to escort the two of you into the crisis wing and then she sat us in a small waiting room to speak with the counselor.
When the woman came in after what seemed to be forever, she tried to ask simple questions that instantly bloomed into mushroom clouds of complexities.
“How often do you two speak?”
“How long has she been an alcoholic?”
“Does the family have a history of mental illness?”
Rarely; at least forever; and every other generation tries to kill themselves.
Depression is our family tradition.
By the time we were done speaking with the counselor, she was flipping through pages of her hand-written notes. She said she would call us when you were evaluated and had mapped out a treatment plan. It would be anywhere between couple hours and an overnight stay before you could be discharged.
When the counselor left the room, I turned to Dave and said, “I feel like I just ran her over with a bus.”
“Yeah,” he began, “You ran her over with a bus, hit the brakes, reversed it and ran her over again.”
But we knew it all needed to be said.
Unsure of when you would need a ride home, Dave and I decided to stick around the area just in case. We drove around Lakewood, looking for a diner to grab a bite and kill some time. When we were sat down, country music played over the speakers: a man sang about how he drinks too much and it was ruining his life.
Dave and I laughed.
We finished our food and went back to the hospital parking lot. The counselor called about an hour into our car nap to tell us you’d officially be staying overnight. It was nearly two o’clock in the morning. We sped home, called out of work, and knew that the day ahead would be a challenge to say the least. We had told you we’d help clean out your apartment and help move some of Ed’s stuff out to the curb.
Little did we know: Ed had been a hoarder.
(To be Continued…)