March 27, 2009
A family is camped out in the waiting room outside ICU. Red suitcases line one wall. Small coffee tables have open bags of candy with bows and empty coffee cups stacked three-deep. I offer a smile each time I pass them; a smile bright and bold as the red suitcases - packed with comfort, sincere compassion, strength, and warmth. I wonder how long the family has been here and wish I could offer more.
My father is recovering from hip surgery…his second. Shortly after sunrise, I watched Dr Gammon write his initials in black ink on Dad’s white thigh next to the “yes!” written earlier and circled in ink by the prep nurse before the anesthesiologist came in to wheel Dad down the hall. The sunny blue sky morphed into a dreary gray while I kept vigil with Mom. The long over-due surgery went well…a relief considering the complications possible when replacing a hip on Dad’s “polio side.” Father survived three separate polio attacks as a child. He’s always had a “polio side” with one leg noticeably smaller than the other. Throughout life he continued to defy medical expectations for his level of physical achievement despite the floppy foot, lack of muscle, and mild deformity. The same doctor replaced his “good” hip five years ago in an attempt to offer some relief. The science to attempt surgery on the “polio side” did not exist back then. Half a decade of incredible pain was endured before science offered the confidence and knowledge to operate in the region wrecked by the mysterious virus. He’s a tough bugger, and that is putting it mildly.
Evening approaches. Pale blue patches of sky offer ribbons of cheer; breaking up the grayness. I write while sitting next to the hospital bed with my sleeping father. Our day was long but blessedly simple. My thoughts and healing energy go out to the family in the ICU waiting room, wishing them a future of sunshine and blue skies.