Praying for the phone to ring
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What do you do with yourself when you donít know if your lover will ever awake or be sane and whole again?
I havenít cried. I almost broke down when I explained to Yance why I needed a ride home from the Durham General ER. A couple of times I thought I would burst into tears. Good news or bad eventually I will.
Right now my wisest course is to just be in my home and entertain myself. That sounds callous doesnít it? My deepest hope is my phone will ring, that someone will tell me Charles has revived. More than anything I want to be sitting in an uncomfortable chair holding his hand. To tell him how much I love him, how terrified I was. And then Iíd lecture him like a crotchety old Baptist about foolish choices and dangerous chances.
Hoping that Iíll be able to be with Charles again soon my sanest choice is to try to enjoy myself. If I were to exhaust myself Iíd be less able to cheer him when he awakes. No, Iím not suppressing anything.
What I fear is that night will come without any word. Thereíll be a long, dark panicky stretch of time. And when the sun rises Iíll be waiting even more fervently for the phone call. A new day means something has to happen, doesnít it?
Writing for my journal affords me temporary salvation.
When I got to the ER they told me I couldnít see him, theyíd call me when I could. After a half hour they called me back. The nurse put me in a white cube and told me the doctor would be along shortly. A phrase I know only from TV and movies. Iíd been trying to read South Wind but the words twisted me up inside. Would the doctor come tell me that Charles was dead?
[Interruption: My friend Robbie, called to ask if there was anything he can do. As soon as I hung up I pulled my t-shirt over my head and finally cried.]
After an hour the doctor came by to see if I could tell him anything useful and to tell me that they didnít know why Charles is in a coma.
They werenít going to let me in Charlesí room so I called Yance for a ride home. I was so scattered that I first asked him to pick me up at Duke Hospital. Having forgotten to tell him Iíd be waiting outside the ER it was a long wait.
Being the only person who obeyed the signs to smoke at least 50í from the hospital I stood in the rain.
What if Charles dies or is forever brain-dead? My thoughts werenít those of a damaged lover. I was wondering what to do with his clothes, his car — would, as old as I am, find somebody else or would I live alone?
Sometimes I say Iím a cold fish. My wholly analytical self came alive then. I thought about basic personal concerns like getting to the bookshop on my bike. Nothing about Charles well being or even how Iíd feel about being alive without him.
Made me feel guilty. Iíve sometimes wondered if the guilt that can come from true detachment isnít one of the things that make it hard. It removes us from much that is considered common decent humanity.
Being able to type the above and my prior entry helps me maintain my serenity.
Some of you have compassionately offered your best hopes for Charles. As youíve observed it is hard for words to seem substantial in a time like this. But for what youíve said, will say or even think without sending you really do have my deepest thanks.