Emptiness. Numbness. Undefined hunger. I wonder if it’s logical to feel hungry or not?
And slight nausea.
I stare into space for minutes and years.
It’s unclear what to do.
So I worry.
Terror stares back in white silent screams.
The waves of panic break and I realize in bursts that I’m in quiet stillness.
Fear. Worry. Terror. In reaction to thoughts.
What will happen? What can I do? Should I have done it sooner? Did I miss something?
And here the preoccupation on whether it makes sense to eat or not.
An invented conundrum that could be solved by the eating if my apparent paralysis allowed such a thing.
A sip of wine now.
Making a phone call. No answer. Staring, staring, staring.
And I still haven’t eaten. Is it wrong to eat, I wonder? Too nonchalant? Disrespectful of the fear?
A layer of hunger under an icing of worry, thickly spread. Eating the hunger means eating the worry.
Another sip of wine and the lack of phone-ringing screams in my ears. I check my phone. Volume up. Second email sent.
I’m going to write this all night until I know.
Phone call. Finally. Bad news and uncertainty. Spending the night at the hospital. Possible pneumonia. My baby.
Shuffle into the kitchen. Eat something unhealthy. Go to bed, phone plugged in and clutched in my hand all night.
I wake periodically. Did I miss a text?
Somewhere in the middle of it, sleep.
The next day at the hospital, I hold my baby after bathing her with a soapy washcloth. I ask them to change her sheets as I slip her into clean clothes. One foot of her footie-pajamas was roughly cut open in the middle of the night to adjust her oxygen monitor. I throw the pajamas away. I do not want them. Her blood oxygen level is currently 92 percent of normal.
I hold her close. What a deep privilege it is to take care of her when she is sick. Her breathing is fast and deep. She is tired.
She opens her eyes and says “Mama”.
“Yes, Mama takes care of you”, I respond, and she closes her eyes again.
She drifts off to sleep. I could hold her forever.
I realize that I have been already holding her for seven hours with few breaks. Funny, it didn’t seem that long. Awkward position of aching back be damned. THIS is a privilege. And I wont give it up.