When my daughter spent six days in the hospital for the cardiac surgery that would change her life, I saw daylight and felt fresh air only for a few moments a day on my way from the garage to the hospital or vice versa. When we went home, we resigned ourselves to staying inside some more.
Sammi was cozied into a corner of the couch that her older sister had lovingly lined with soft blankets and fluffy pillows, but she was itching to move. Unfortunately, doctors’ orders were that she not only sit still, but that as long as she stayed on strong pain medication, she also needed to be accompanied up and down stairs by an adult and watched when she was in the bathroom. She grumbled and sometimes outright cried about this state of affairs. I did neither, but the emotions I’d kept in check in her presence for the last week were beginning to bubble close to the surface. Though I’ve never had trouble staying calm and steady for her, I knew there was a limit to the holding-it-together I had in me. Sooner or later, I needed to get out.
When my husband went back to work, there were still two weeks of at-home healing left for Sammi. One of my close friends had offered to come over one day and sit with Sammi so that I could get out, just for an hour or so. Deciding to take her up on it was hard for me, though I knew all the platitudes about mothers needing to put on their own oxygen masks before helping their children. I needed the break, and I also needed to be watching Sammi at all times for any sign that something — some undefined something — was going wrong.
In the end, I accepted. Continue Reading…by