When the Ballad of 2010 is written, March 26 is not going to be highly thought of. Anguish, fear, dread, anger, confusion, and disbelief are only a few of the emotions that swirled inside each member of my family as we watched my 5-year old niece, Katie, struggle to regain consciousness.
The next seven days were a roller coaster of optimism and resignation as we watched her condition improve and stall out. I believed each day would be the day she would wake up and start ordering us around as if nothing had happened. Some days it seemed so close we could touch it. Some days the doctors seemed encouraged and encouraging. Other days were profoundly discouraging and frustrating. The worst days were ones that mixed both, and there were too many of those. In situations of greater and lesser stress and severity, I've watched people try to achieve numbness to insulate themselves from the pain. For me, numb was highly overrated. I didn't do anything to achieve it artificially so maybe I was doing it wrong, but days of feeling hope rise and plummet isolated me in a very gray place.
I was becoming despondent. I couldn't go to the place where I abandoned all hope but the doubts and fears that were once being whispered from deep inside me were becoming screams. I could no longer ignore some dark possibilities and I felt lost. It was in the dark moment that things got worse. I got a call telling me my brother-in-law was being rushed to the ER at the same hospital, complaining of chest pains. He has a rather long history of cardiac issues and all of us have had to wrestle with its ominous significance.
I was seething and finally on the verge of becoming completely irrational. I didn't have a full melt down but I did get a little unhinged. I didn't start throwing or breaking things and I didn't have a crisis of faith wherein I started cursing at God in Latin but I was pretty pissed and in no small part because there was no one to be pissed at. I huffed and I puffed but the house stood still. My failure complete, I trudged down to the hospital, trying to figure out who to visit first.