Monday, 27 August 2012

March 9, 2006

     I pulled my sweater around me tighter, wincing with the pain of my incision stitches being pulled too far too soon. I lifted my legs up onto the window ledge laying my face on the cold glass. I didn’t even notice I was crying until the tears started falling from my eyes. I let them come, needing the release.
     I woke up in the Intensive Care Unit ten hours after my surgery. I was having a lot of trouble breathing on my own during the operation and in recovery so the ICU would be my home for 24 hours because I needed close monitoring, just to be safe.
I had been out so long that by the time I woke up in my room it was well after midnight. My mother had waited restlessly all day but the nurse sent her home. I’m glad she did. I always hate knowing that people are just waiting and worrying.
    When I woke up I had a breathing tube down my throat. The nurses pulled it out when I was still only semi-conscious but I still felt like I was suffocating. Luckily, after surgery the doctors like you to be up and moving as soon as possible. So when I’d asked my nurse to help me down the hall so I could look out the window she was impressed at my ambition. My throat was still scratchy from the tube and crying certainly wasn’t  helping any.
     “Now what could a pretty young girl like you possibly have to cry about?!”
     A short elderly man in a long blue robe that looked like it had seen better days came up to the window and sat down next to me. He asked me in a gruff voice that made it sound like it was such a pain to bother asking, but his blue eyes twinkled showing his kindness.
     “I don’t feel young,” I said. “I’m probably about your age on the inside.” I gave him a half smile.
     “That’s funny because I feel like I’m about your age on the inside,” he gave me a grin and I instantly loved him. He sounded just like my grandfather.
     “You know, I have no idea why I’m crying. Over everything and nothing all at once.  I feel like such a burden on my family sometimes. I’m almost 30….I want to be able to take care of myself.”
     “Kitten, my kids are in their forties and they are still my babies. Parents always want to love their kids up – no matter how old they are.” He sat there with me for over an hour, telling me about how he would bring his daughter Popsicles when she got her tonsils out at age six. About how his grandson broke his arm falling out of a tree because his older brother told him he could fly if he concentrated hard enough. All the while he was talking he made me laugh. I felt like I knew him my whole life. His cheeks were rosy and his voice was strong.
     “You know, you don’t seem sick. Most of the other patients on this floor can barely move let alone go around cheering up damsels in distress.”
     “Well, I’m a lot better today. But you should get back to bed. I’ll walk you.”
He helped me off the window ledge and sauntered slowly down the hall beside me. When we got to my room I let him tuck me in as if I was a child. I think he let himself enjoy it as much as I did.
     “Thank you for cheering me up,” I said, half asleep. I smiled at him and he pinched my toe and left the room.
     The next morning when the nurses did their rounds I asked who the friendly old man in the ratty blue robe was. I scolded myself for being so rude, not asking him his name.
     “Winston Brant,” Cindy, my nurse smiled. Cindy was beautiful and she reminded me of a friend I had in grade school. “What a doll! Such a charmer!”
     “He’s really great. He made me feel so much better last night in the TV room. I was crying and he sat down and told me stories for hours.” The young nurse looked at me with a furrowed brow, obviously confused.
     “You must have had some crazy dream,” she said. “Must be the pain killers. Your  night nurse told me you weren’t able to get up last night. And….poor Mr. Brant died yesterday afternoon.”
      My nurse knew as well as I did that I was in surgery yesterday afternoon before being transferred here from the eighth floor. She gave me an odd look. 
     After she gave me an injection of pain medication I started to feel drowsy again. I tried to make sense of what happened. Was I dreaming? I thought about his baby blue eyes and his mischievous smile. I smiled to myself knowing that I may never be able to understand exactly what had happened that night. What I would always know, though, is how grateful I was, that for some reason I was lucky enough to have him with me.

******************************************************************************* I was lucky enough to have my grandfather with me for all my life. Now I carry him in my heart. Love you and miss you Papa. Duncan MacLeod Nov. 22, 1927 - Aug. 20, 2011  

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