*I wrote this update for a class project just a couple days after the previous post and meant to copy it over to post it here since the previous post was a bit of a cliff hanger, but you know me…Anywho, here it is. Better late than never, amiright?
When I arrived on the 5th floor of the hospital on the day after writing the previous post, I had a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. I tried to brush it off as I walked down the hallway, through the double doors, before preceeding to the nurses station to check in. As I walked up to the counter, I saw a nurse sitting behind it, talking on the phone. She looked up at me and smiled before giving me the “just one minute” signal with her hand. I replied by smiling and nodding in response before becoming distracted by the huge monitor on the wall behind.
The screen of the monitor was full of last names, next to room numbers and various acronyms in bold, bright colors. It reminded me of the monitors that you see in the news footage of the stock exchange, only it was missing a hyperventilating, balding, white guy next to it.
“Hey, that’s kind of cool”, I thought as I started searching for my mom’s name on the board.
I scanned past the A’s to the B’s, but didn’t see her name.
I went back to the A’s, thinking I had gone past it.
But, it still wasn’t there the second time…or the third time.
That’s when the funny feeling I’d had since I’d stepped off the elevator, started to rise into my throat as I felt my heart beat start to pick up.
Why wasn’t she on the damn board?
Was she back in the I.C.U?
Had they taken her back for more scans?
Had they taken her back for an emergency surgery?
Or was she….
I stopped myself. I didn’t want to think about what came after “she”.
“Can I help you?”, asked the nurse from behind me, interrupting my thoughts just as they were about to spiral out of control.
“Yeah, I can’t find my mom on the board. It should be under Brown.”
She searched the board with me before asking if I was sure she was in this side of the unit.
“Of course, I’m sure!”, I thought to myself. “I’m not an idiot!”
I smiled at her, trying to hide the fact that I was slightly annoyed, before I started searching for my phone in the bottomless pit that is my purse.
“Yeah, she’s supposed to be in 5201.” I said, as I looked into my purse, spotting the pink case of my phone peeking out from underneath my wallet and what I hoped was an unused tissue. I pulled it out to find a text from my brother where he’d given me her room number.
“Well, I just came on shift, but I don’t think she’s in this part of the unit” she said.
I nodded, partially distracted, as I looked down and started scrolling through my messages. It took a while, but I finally found the right one and read the room number again.
I felt my face get hot with embarrassment as I promptly shoved the phone back into my purse.
She was in 5102, not 5201.
I was on the wrong side of the unit.
I smiled awkwardly at the nurse as I turned to go back the other way in search of the correct room which was, indeed, on the other side of the unit.
Eventually, after taking a few more wrong turns due to my incredible sense of direction, I walked into my mom’s room to find her
snoring like a freight train sleeping peacefully.
Relief washed over me.
“THANK YOU, SWEET BABY OBAMA JESUS!”
I tip-toed carefully past her to sit on the small couch under her window and continued to watch her sleep for a few more minutes, before reaching into my bag to grab my laptop so I could do some homework.
I was just getting started when I heard her phone start to ring. I started to lunge toward it to silence it, but I was too late. Her eyes flew open and she started frantically searching for it. By the time she finally found it, it was too late. It had stopped ringing. Frustrated, she started to put the phone back down before she finally noticed I was sitting in front of her.
“How long have you been here?” she asked, sounding a little startled.
“Just a few minutes. Have the doctors been in?”
“Oh, yes. They came at 6 this morning.”
” I guess everything is fine. Dr. E said the scan was clear, except I have short bowel something-or-other now, which is probably why I was so sick.”
“Well, what the hell does that mean?” I asked, impatiently.
“Well, I guess it means I can go home, today.”
And she did just that.
…After making me watch Tucker Carlson and his stupid bow-tie for the remainder of our visit, of course.