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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hearts Really Do Break...

Hello friends…

Forgive me for my absence over the last few days.  I’ve been busy and emotional.

Monday, I only worked for half a day and then traveled to Columbus.

Upon our (my cousin J accompanied me) arrival to Columbus that afternoon, the first stop was at the OSU Heart Center.

I had to see B, whether he could see me or not.

I could feel the pain building in my chest as I pulled into the parking garage.  I took deep breaths in an attempt to push it back down.  I was unsuccessful.

When the elevator deposited me on the floor where B’s room was, I immediately saw his girlfriend, A.  We had never met before, but she recognized me right away.
She walked up to me and gave me the biggest hug, my tears began to flow.  A’s graciousness to be is unbelievable, knowing the past that B and I share.  We were never lovers or even a couple, but we shared a very close bond that she was uncomfortable with for a while.  I was not the “other woman”, nor would I ever be.  We shared our passions for writing and things that were unusual.  He had said that she was my opposite.  But, she was what was good for him, where I don’t think that I would have been, not at that point in either of our lives.

So he and I would continue to talk, every 2 or 3 weeks, and from what I could deduce, they were quite happy.  They were building a life together.  We would brainstorm on writing ideas, we practically wrote the outline of my dating book the last time that we spoke.  He was so encouraging of me…

Anyway, after our embrace, A updated me on the situation, which was virtually unchanged, and led me back to B’s room.

My brain knew what I was going to see, my heart was unprepared.  My breath caught in my throat as we entered his room.  The light was dim, the illumination mostly coming from the various equipment at his bedside.
He was peacefully lying there with the ventilator tube protruding from his mouth. As I got closer and took in the sight of his sweet face, if it weren’t for the tubes and neck brace, I would believe that he was just napping.  He didn’t have a weird pallor, wasn’t puffy, he just looked peaceful.

A and I stood, on opposite sides of his bed, each holding a hand as she continued to fill me in on the things that had happened.  Her heartbreak was palpable; I could feel it nearly filling the room.  There was scarcely room enough in that ICU bay for both of our heartbreaks.  It was nearly suffocating.

I wanted time alone with B, to tell him the things that I needed to tell him.   But, I couldn’t ask her to leave me alone with him.

After we stood there for a while, a physician came in to gather the family for a meeting to discuss all of the tests that they had done that morning.  As A left the room, I quickly moved to the side of the bed that she had occupied, it was unobstructed by most of the tubing and equipment.
I took his right hand in mine, bent over to get as close to his face as the bed railing would allow and poured my heart out to him.

As I stroked his forehead, I told him that his Kentucky girl had arrived, how sorry I was, for everything, especially for not returning his last call, how important and influential he was to me, how he was responsible for every word that I’d written (except the bad ones), how I was sorry that Earlene Aberdeen never had a mother… I repeated these things numerous times.  I asked him how he expected me to finish the novel, without him to read it to, without him to brainstorm with, without him to push me…

His eyes fluttered so hard as I talked and cried, my tears soaking the right shoulder of his gown.

I told him that I knew that he was still in there; I knew he hadn’t left yet, he wasn’t just a body lying there, he couldn’t be.  I told him that it was unacceptable and that I just wouldn’t have it.  He would have liked that, but it totally meant it.

My tears turned to sobs, a nurse came in at one point to make sure that he wasn’t making the sounds that were escaping me.  There was no way I could hold back the tide of emotion, it was more than I’d felt since the death of my Grandmother nearly 11 years ago.  I let it wash over me.

I pleaded with him to come back, not to me, but to A and his family and the multitudes of people that loved him.

After I had about 30 minutes of alone time with him, a group of doctors, residents and nurses entered the room to perform another examination.  I stepped out of the room, leaned against the door and continued to weep.  I didn’t care who saw me, I was truly afraid that I couldn’t even walk out of there of my own volition.

A nurse who had been caring for B previously, came up to me and comforted me.  We spoke of how special he was, how much he meant to so many people, so much more than I know he ever realized.  I am grateful for her.  Once I felt like my legs would work, I returned to the waiting room.

I stepped into the restroom, continuing to compose myself.  Once I was publicly presentable, I joined his family and friends in the waiting room.  A and I talked for a little while, embraced a few more times, when they were called back to his room by the doctors who were examining him when I left.

I took that opportunity to depart.

I joined J back in the hospital lobby; I broke down again when I saw him.  Once I regained composure again, we went to the cafeteria and had some coffee, I would have preferred a shot of bourbon, but, alas, they do not serve that in the OSU Medical Center cafeteria, go figure… I’m sure that it would be a huge seller.  Hell, I would have shelled out $20 for one at that moment, but steamy caffeine had to suffice.

** According to his physicians, he is not making the improvements that they would expect, but, due to his age and his otherwise good health, they believe that he should be given more time to improve.  They were giving him a feeding tube and would continue to monitor his progress.
We are cautiously optimistic that he may be improving.
If you are praying for B or sending good vibes, please continue to do so… I beg of all of you.