I've been at work again on the book I've been working on for the past five years. Starting and stopping, getting momentum and losing it has been a discouraging process. I haven't wanted to say anything because it's been really difficult to carve out the time. But for the past two weeks, I've worked every day on it. Here's a piece I wrote this morning (I probably won't blog too much more about it til I'm done) that evoked some emotion as I read it outloud toe the Charming and Beautiful Susan.
I checked in with a hospital volunteer and found my way up to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). I was not ready for what I was going to see. Apparatus on shiny chrome stands surrounded Allie like a crude protective fence. She was in a hospital bed that looked much too large for her. Her head was completely wrapped, turban like, in gauze to hold the electroencephalography (EEG) nodes glued to her scalp in place. She lay under a heating lamp with feeding tubes in her nose, breathing tubes in her mouth, and intravenous (IV) lines running from her little hands to a bag on a stand. A little cube shaped machine on a pole pumped liquid nutrition into her stomach through the tube threaded through a nostril. On one side of Allie was a machine that monitored her temperature, blood pressure, pulse, and respiratory rate. Next to the machine that monitored her vitals, the heating lamp stood to keep Allie’s temperature at 98.6. Allie’s little body was not maintaining the proper temperature on it’s own. On the other side of Allie was the EEG monitor. Finally, there was a machine that pumped air into Allie’s lungs. She hadn’t breathed on her own in over 36 hours.“Here, I am, honey,” I said. “Papa’s here.”