It was December 14, 2011 around 2:30 P.M. when we first arrived to the E.R. My heart racing along with my mind. The moment it hit me was when we placed Kelsey on the scale at registration and started to talk about the past few weeks. Her hospital bracelet acknowledged that this was truly happening.
I realized how desperate we were for medical attention and how I truly should have seen this sooner.
From that moment, we were treated with respect, care, and attention. The doctors were compassionate and concerned.
By the time the evening shift change occurred, we were impatiently awaiting an answer that no one was able to provide. We had likely been there for seven hours without food or a glass of water. I was still nursing my ten month old baby girl so she did not seem to notice that her father and I denied ourselves nourishment because we were completely numb inside. Nursing seemed Kelsey’s only comfort in the world beside my arms throughout the past few weeks. I think it was my solace, too.
Later on in the evening, we met a husband and wife team of emergency room doctors. I will never forget their eyes of concern or the sandwiches they brought Brendan and I around 11 PM. According to the compassionate female doctor, whose name I do not recall five years later, “you really should eat something.” Her warm brown gaze met mine. Whether she was a mother herself, I do not know. She certainly had a nurturing and motherly sense about her regardless.
Even though I had not an inkling of hunger, that sandwich was necessary. For it was a source of nutrition, but even more than that, it was a sign that we were in the right place.
Even if it was a warm turkey and cheese sandwich at 11 PM, it was exactly what I needed.
The summer sun warms my heart and gives me enormous hope. There is laughter, water games, and trips to the park.
The lingering hours of sunlight also remind me to count my blessings. These blessings exist in kind messages, warm smiles, and the generosity friends and family members have shown. I am realizing how tremendous my support system is both near and far. This week, I have reconnected with friends, received kind messages, and felt an overwhelming sense of love and gratitude.
My husband has also been an incredible source of support. He is truly my rock. Whether I need to laugh, cry, or say nothing at all, he always knows how to let me be. My strength often grows with his presence.
Then there is my mother who makes it her daily mission to make sure that I am okay and doing what I need to do for myself. Sometimes I don’t want to respond to her because I’d prefer not to deal with the truth. My mom always has a way of getting the best out of me, though, as only a mother can. A mother’s intuition is one of the strongest forces on the planet if you ask me.
The National Institutes of Health are also on my mind. My family’s recent visit there fell on my birthday. It was fitting in a way because the work done there is a gift. although it is a present you hope not to need. I often leave with more questions than answers, but I know that doctors and researchers there are always on a quest to answer the unknown. It can be a lot to process while you visit the facility and talk with so many brilliant minds. The conversations can be heavy, but I appreciate the level of care they provide.
This morning’s intense sunshine reminds me of today’s appointment. The intensity will come sans sun in an air conditioned room as I will learn the results of my own genetic testing. Like so many recent appointments for my daughter, I will likely leave with some answers and many more questions. Whatever the results, I will leave with my support in place and the summer sun following me home.
I may need a bit more warmth today than usual.