As many of you know, my sister Lisa was a nurse. In the end she was an operating room supervisor and a collagen specialist, but mostly she was a nurse. Ironically, she decided nursing was what she wanted to do after spending a lot of time in the hospital after her first suicide attempt.
Lisa and I could fight like cats and dogs. We always made up quickly, never stayed mad, and woe to the person who messed with us. If I thought anyone did my sister wrong or even thought about it, out came the claws and fangs. My sister, being more mature and cool headed, was also protective of me. And she took good care of me. I’ve mentioned this before. Once, when my parents were out of town, I got really sick with the pukin’ and poopin’ illness. She took me home to her apartment and tended to me for a week. She had to work, so she couldn’t be with me constantly, but she was with me as much as she could be. By the time she had taken me home, the worst part of bad-things-coming-out-of-both-ends had passed, but there was still a world of misery (and dehydration) for me to endure.
This little bit of background brings me to this: hospitals remind me of my sister. Being sick makes the scab over the wound in my soul from her suicide become irritated. Also, I’m really pissed she’s not here to meet her new nephew, who just arrived (a little over 5 weeks premature) on January 20, 2011—at 1:55pm. Now, I have been blessed with an understanding and amazing husband whose good sense of humor has rescued me from many of my own stupid internal dramas. He, too, is a good nurse to me. But as I lay there on the operating room table with my doctor sewing up my second C-Section (what is it with me and breech babies?), hearing my new son crying angrily at the injustice of having been snatched from his warm, cuddly spot, and seeing my husband flit between me and him, well, damn it, I wanted my sister. The feeling settled like a heavy and warm wet blanket on my face, and I wept with relief that my boy was okay and sadness that I couldn’t look into Lisa’s blue eyes peering at me over a surgical mask. I admit, I kept searching the eyes of the OR attendants to see if maybe someone snuck down from heaven to see me and the boy.
When Peony was born five years ago, also by C-Section, I had a similar feeling, but more intense. It’s like being swallowed by some large monster whose stomach fluids consist of dark anguish. And I’m just flailing in there, trying to stay afloat by looking into Matt’s eyes and listening to the baby holler big healthy wails and forcing every good thought I can to the surface like buoys.
My Percocet just kicked in so I’d better go for now.