The following is an excerpt from a book I am working on about my daughter's battle against her diagnosis of Ewing's sarcoma, which is an aggressive bone cancer that most often affects the young. Read part one.
I was afraid the next day but at the same time I felt strangely calm. I had the feeling that nothing worse could happen, or it may have been that I simply did not have any strength left and was just indifferent. I tried to convince myself it must be the former and allowed the optimism to push me forward as if I were on a race track with only a single lane to travel.
On arriving at the hospital an unusual presentiment flooded over me. I saw all of the things in front of me with a new insight: a nice hall, a boutique for the patients, a gourmet restaurant, people busy with their mundane affairs. Like photographs, frame by frame — or more like a movie, I thought. Life so ordinary at times can surprise us, show a ruthless edge when we least expect it. For me, everything revolved around Natalia, but here in the hospital I could see people unaware of my concerns. Now in retrospect it's clear how Natalia's illness overshadowed everything else in my life. Writing this story I see myself at that time moving in slow motion, focused only what mattered, Natalia.
I stepped out of the elevator on the tenth floor to the intensive care unit. I felt glad that I was about to see Natalia. Going into the center I looked around. In the hall were a few incubators and three beds with older children, but I could not see Natalia. I panicked. The doctor saw my face and walked over to me and quickly pointed.
"That's your daughter," he said
"Impossible," I replied.
My Natalia was a finer, more slender, smaller. I looked at this stranger's face, and felt a new level of despair take hold. It could not be … and yet. Her body was swollen, her skin an unnatural color. Her eyes were glazed over and dull, unresponsive to the doctor's words. He turned to me and I understood implicitly that she did not respond to any stimuli.
"We have to keep her in an induced coma. The medications she was given are too strong for her weakened state, so we had to slow everything down. Allow her body a chance to metabolize the drugs we have given her. To tell you the truth, I can't assure you that she will come out of the coma," he said.
"What can I do?" I asked.
"Let the lady trying to talk to her right now follow her response. That's all we can do at this time," he said.
I drew near Natalia and my hand stroked her hair. My daughter. How do I talk to her? How do I talk to this child? She can't hear me. What do I do?