Walking down the gleaming white halls towards ICU it’s like the feelings of all those who walked before you smack you in the chest. You don’t want to keep going but your feet keep pushing you forward. Thankful for the locks between corridors as I try to find the strength to keep going. My husband tried to prepare me for what I was going to see. He told me it wouldn’t be an image that I would want to remember our friend by. In my head I can’t think of how I could possibly be anywhere but there with his friends and family. I thought about the last time I saw him at a community fundraiser. He was a lil bit ackward but who wouldn’t be at a hen run fundraiser to support our kidlets. But that was who he was. He was still that guy who would do anything for his friends and support them in any way he could. Just those damn demons. Those demons have a hold on him something hard.
I wave through the next set of doors and think about the day before. Supposedly he was on the phone when the next minute all that could be heard was the sound of him gurgling. Nobody knew where he lived. In his embarassment he refused to tell any of us where he lived. My husband knew but nobody thought to ask. So in their furry to find him he had slipped away for at least an hour. That is the length from when he went down till the time the paramedics were kicking down his door.
I think about how I have yet to meet his mother yet or his wife and I am scared to keep going. There is no way my grief amounts to theirs but taking a deep breath I know that there is no comparison that would make sense and as his friend I had to make my peace. I was terrified. More terrified then anything else in this World. I was scared that he was just going to be this empty body hooked up to tubes. Should I go? My reality is I know that feeling of not feeling loved and looking for a reason to come back. I was going to make sure that if there was a chance (and the doctors gave him a 1 and 10 million chance of waking up) that I was going to do all that I could to bring this daddy home to his sweet little boy. I couldn’t help but think of our son and our struggles. So minor now in comparison. Dressed all in black I kept trudging forward. Still scared. Scared of the lives that I was about to see in the ICU. Scared of all those others people’s grief. I am an empath not a martyr. I couldn’t feel all these feelings all at once but I had to.
Finally there he was. Just on the other side of the curtain. I can here talking. To scared to move forward I asked the nurse’s that were there if it was ok if I went in. Opening the curtains the first thing I saw was this intense bright white light. I remember this light. Just like the day when I woke up in ICU. To the left were all the machines pumping life into him. There was this weird smoothie looking stuff that was clearly his nourishment. Like hospital food couldn’t get much worse. Now it’s slurried. I think back to the steak dinner we had just weeks before. He ordered his well done and I laughed at him as he wanted to get out of there but its the wellness of his steak that kept us there. I wonder now if his agitation was because he wanted to use. I know you can’t keep looking back just forward. I trace the lines that are the only thing keeping him with us on Earth. The faces looking back of are none that I know. I was expecting that. I introduced myself and around the room the intro’s started. When his wife introduced herself I gave her a hug immediately. She cried as she told me she wish this was a different circumstance. It took his mom a minute to register who I was. She beamed from ear to ear as she also had heard a ton about me. She kept saying over and over again how much I had meant to him and how much he loved me. He thought I was the coolest person for saving all these animals and doing what I do. They thanked me over and over again and told me to pull up a seat.
Sitting by his wife she looked up at me with a smile and gestured towards his hand. I took his hand not knowing what to expect. There was no movement no life, just his rigid hand by his side. I gripped onto his hand for dear life. It took everything inside of me as I held onto his hand and rubbed her back. Looking at his face he looked alive just asleep. His eyes were swollen shut and his tongue was out to one side. There were so many tubes keeping him alive. We tried to talk idly but it was so hard to even focus on our conversation. With every blip and every beep we would look up. I moved to the other side to his comfort his mom as the doctors started to come in. His brain was unable to regulate his blood pressure and he was running the risk of overflooding or not having enough blood pumping. They tried to explain to us what the two numbers meant. His mom grasped onto every word like it was gospel. What she didn’t hear were the instructinos coming from the other doctor. The other doctor was explaining that he had to give him more medicine in his breathing tube. By changing the apparatus his breathing could be affected. I heard him say that but she didn’t it. In what felt like a second his stopped breathing. Just like the Dr mentioned might happen. She twirled around and looked at what was going on and she lashed out at the Dr (who in turn was a repiratory therapist). I caught myself trying to say that it was ok but I knew that I was still a stranger and he was the medical professional. I kept my arm around her shoulders as he told her he wasn’t breathing on her own. I could feel her panick, I knew it would be ok. As they tried to regulate both of these vital signs I tried to distract. We talked about how much he loved our cats, how our boys loved each other, how he had dreams of our families getting together. The whole time his mom would include him in on the conversation.
So many people are saying he has no hope. There must be at least a little bit or we wouldn’t still all believe in miracles. Miracles do happen and lives do get spared. My husband says he thinks he will not last the week. My soul can’t believe that our friend is gone. It is so super rare to find somebody that thinks you are pretty awesome. I found out last night night just how awesome he thinks I am. My fear of him relapsing around my son kept me pushing him away. I wonder now why I did that. Was it out of fear my son would come in contact with the drug and die himself? Is any life worth more than the lives in front of us? I am so ashamed that he thought so highly of me to his friends and parents and I turned my back. I pray that I will have a second chance in showing him true friendship. So today after my tears I will dress and drop off my son at Nani’s. Then with my Stanley (our kitty that he loves) and my violin (somehow he liked my playing) and head to the ICU to give our friend and his family some positive energy. I don’t have much but I know that they need it. I can’t believe this is my reality right now! What is happening? We all knew he was using again but how is this now him? Like you thought I was pretty neat. Please don’t go! Please don’t leave us!! Show us you can come back from this!! I need to believe in something! Please dont leave. I need you to make me feel special. When you were around you made me feel like wife/mom of the year. Please, please don’t go! I am desperately pleading with the Universe. I told myself I wasn’t going to but please don’t let this epidemic claim on more! Till then I will walk these gleaming white halls looking for salvation.