I started in the Pediatrics ICU with my niece and for the first time I was in the room when a doctor made rounds. I listened as she told my brother and his wife that she was encouraged by some of what she saw and felt my chest loosen. I then listened as she laid out a scenario wherein Katie would be in in-patient rehab in Birmingham, Nashville, or Atlanta anywhere from two, four, maybe even six weeks or beyond. My heart sank and shrank as something gripped it.
Feeling defeated, I headed in the direction of the ER to check with my brother-in-law and got the first and likely only "good" news of the day. The good news? The examination revealed it was unlikely he'd had a heart attack. The bad news? It was probably gall stones. Now when we talk about bad news, that's about the best bad news I'd heard in a week. Gall stones aren't pleasant but they're a lot less shitty than comas and heart attacks. I don't do well with math but I'm sure there is some sort of formula or equation where less shitty actually equals good. If only it had stopped there. For reasons of a sensitive nature I'm going to withhold the specifics and also ask you refrain from jumping to (political) conclusions when I say things took a sinister turn when the word "insurance" entered the picture.
The writer in me wants to search for some literary device to convey to you the depths of my despair and dramatically reveal how I'd never felt worse in my life. The truth is I was so beaten down at that point I don't know how low I'd sunk. I may have felt worse than I did Friday night. I can't remember when but it's entirely possible. The writer in me would also love to provide a dramatic reveal, but we're going to stick with the truth. Trust me, it's dramatic enough.
My wife woke me up the next morning to tell me Katie had woken up some time during the middle of the night. Those were the words I'd been waiting to hear for eight days, so naturally they pierced my haze and sent me scrambling to the car in my underwear moving heaven and earth to get to the hospital, right? As you can tell from the setup, obviously not. I checked my e-mail. I read the blog update from my brother, who started maintaining one because he had to leave his phone off so much of the time when he was in Katie's PICU room. I read the words that Katie was awake, alert, and responding but I guess I was waiting for the other shoe to drop because I ambled into the shower without feeling much of anything but fatigue.