Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A long, long time ago, I can still remember.........

When I was about 3 years old, my little brother who was maybe a year old had a seizure, and was taken away in an ambulance. I remember it clearly, the afternoon is burned in my memory, and it is, in fact, probably one of my earliest childhood memories. The fear and confusion, the panic, the shouting, the phone calls....the fact that my mother was not there, and that my father and uncle (two people that are not exactly cool calm and collected) were there, and "handling" the situation.

Still, to this day, 30 years later, I have tears in my eyes remembering. I was so damn scared. I had no idea what was going on. My mother was (as she usually is when family comes to town) at TJ Maxx with my aunt, and they were paged by customer service and told there was an emergency at home.

I remember being hustled next door to stay with Mrs. Steel and make paper chains and wait for someone to remember me, to come and get me from this strangers house where everything was unfamiliar and no one could explain what was going on. There were no hugs, no comforting words, just the typical Yankee stoicism and maybe a snack.

And yesterday, as I debated calling an ambulance for myself - something I have never done in my life nor even considered before yesterday - I called the neighbor first. The neighbor who knows my children, who has a home that is familiar to them. To come over, and be calm, and soothing, and hug the kids, and get them out of the house quickly, so that the would not see, would not know, would go through life unaware of the feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach when an ambulance arrives at your home to take away someone you know and love. Once S arrived and I knew the kids were OK, and L had arrived barefoot and panicked with her tank on empty, and Sami had been called, and I had been hustled into the car instead of an ambulance much to my relief, suddenly I was able to focus on my breathing, and to be angry - very angry - that as in control as I can be even in an emergency, that I was suddenly out of control. The doctors weren't calling me back, the pain was overwhelming, I felt helpless and hopeless. And that is when I remembered.

I was not out of control. I took care of my children first. I protected them, and assured their safety and comfort and well-being before I left. So even though it seems as though I am out of control, I'm not dammit.

This disease may think it is in charge. I may be at the mercy of doctors and insurance and medications. But the bottom line is, I am at the wheel, here, and I am hanging on with white knuckles and a clear mind.

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