Chapter Twenty-Six – The Hospital – In Mom’s Eyes
2004 – I am 55, Scott is 30, Julie is 27
This is the second time Scott has ended up in the hospital. Julie is with him there, and I’m sure she’ll make sure everything is okay. I’m going down to the hospital in a few minutes too, but told Julie I have to take care of a few things at work first. But I can’t think, and I’ve been on the phone all morning with my sisters, telling them what’s going on, crying, trying to gather myself together so that I won’t be a mess at the hospital. Julie called a few minutes ago, told me they’re going to put a catheter in Scott, so he won’t pee the bed like last time. She’s livid already. Dr. Dick-Head Frazier is Scott’s doctor, and we all hate him. But Julie seems to have things under control at the moment, and Scott is okay. His blood pressure is bad, but not like last time, not like when they just let him sit there, soiled and burning and terrified because no one would help him. God, I hate that hospital.
I feel like I’m failing him again. I should have seen the signs, should have been paying more attention. He’s been hiding out from Julie and I for a few days now. I didn’t even really notice, except that he didn’t really come out for dinner. He would say he wasn’t hungry or that he ate something earlier, and I just believed him. I’m glad Julie is here, because otherwise I don’t think I could do this by myself. I can’t believe he’s back in the hospital, and I think we may lose him this time. I don’t know what’s going to happen and I’m absolutely terrified to find out. I think if my son dies, I will need to be institutionalized. I don’t think I can take it. And that’s why I’m not at the hospital yet. I just want Julie to call me and tell me it’s all going to be okay. But I know it’s not. And I know I have to go down there, help her, give her a break, be there for Scott. And I will, as soon as I can stop crying, stop shaking, start breathing again. He’ll be okay, he’ll be okay. I’m sure he’ll be okay this time. He has to.
When I get to the hospital, they say only one of us can be with Scott at a time, so they bring me back and then tell Julie the same thing. She’s sitting on a stool next to Scott’s bed. Her head is lowered, hair hanging over her face, defeated, tired, something’s wrong. When she hears me coming, she lifts her face. It’s a mess, she’s been crying too. What happened? Julie doesn’t break like this, not in public, not in tears. Sometimes in anger, but not in tears. Oh my God, they’ve told her he’s going to die. Oh my God, something has happened.
“Do you want to stay? Or do you want a little break? The nurse says only one of us can be back here.” The nurse is still standing near us, but not too close. Julie shoots her a look even I’ve never seen in her eyes before, and the nurse quietly slips away, pulls the curtain closed. “What happened? What’s going on?”
“Scott? Are you okay for now?” Julie has kind of ignored me, is watching Scott again. He’s got his eyes closed, but tears are running out anyway. She stands up, takes both her hands and puts them on his cheeks, wipes the tears away. She leans in close, whispers in his ear, he nods, she whispers again, he nods again, and then she says to me, “Let’s let him rest for a minute. He’s okay. We need to talk about some stuff.”
“What happened in there? Last I heard, you told me they were about to put a catheter in, and that everything was going to be fine.” We’re both out in the waiting room now, there are sick people scattered around, watching us, listening to our every word.
“Mom, when I was outside calling you, they gave Scott a diuretic shot, just like I told them not to. Dr. Frazier ordered it, and totally ignored everything I said. After filling up two huge jugs of piss, helping Scott fill them, I kinda freaked out. The other doctor finally came, after Scott had filled another one, with my help, and he put the catheter in Scott himself. Thank God for that, at least. But Mom, not five minutes later, a nurse came by with discharge paperwork, signed by Dr. Fucking Frazier! They want to send him home, Mom. They want him to die. I just had another kinda big meltdown in the middle of the emergency room. I burned the paperwork up, right there at the nurse’s station. I think I might get arrested, I don’t know. But I’m tired, Mom, I don’t know what’s going to happen now. I hope I didn’t mess it up, I hope they don’t kick him, or all of us out. He needs help, Mom, he just needs help, and they WON’T HELP HIM! I don’t know what to do, or if I should just leave, or what? I don’t want to leave, I want to be with him. We’re okay together, and he knows I’ll kill for him. He knows what I’ll do to get him better, and I think he’s okay with that. But I don’t want to stress him out more. His heart can’t take it, I don’t think. I don’t know what to do.”
The registration lady has come over to ask us to use the “Quiet Room” so that we don’t disturb the other patients in the waiting room. When she looks at Julie, she backs up slowly, and doesn’t say another word. I’m so proud of my daughter and so worried for my son. I don’t know what to do either, but I know she needs a break. And I need to be with Scott.
“Why don’t you just take a little walk, get some air, or go get something to eat for a few minutes. I know you want to be with him, but you need a little breather. I’ll go in and make sure nothing else happens, find out if they’re going to admit him, or what the story is. You just need a little break. I love you, and I’m proud of you. I’m glad it was you in there, Julie, because I probably would have killed somebody. But for now, I think things are under control, and I’ll damn well make sure of it. I promise.”
“I don’t want to be gone long. I want to be with him. He needs me. I need to see him, so I know for myself he’s still breathing, still here.”
“I know, honey, I know, it’ll be fine, just take a little walk or something, get some air. Then if you want to trade me spots, and come back in, I’ll wait out here.”
“Okay, Mom, okay. Make sure that doctor doesn’t come back, Mom. I’ll kill him. I don’t want him anywhere near my brother. I’ll kill him.”
“I promise. Now go. It’ll be okay, I’ll be with him. Just have the nurse buzz you in when you get back, and I’ll trade you places if we have to.”
“Okay, Mom, okay.
And with that, she was out the door, walking it off, and taking a break. She needed it, and I needed to see my son, alone. When I get back to him, he’s not crying anymore, the light is dimmed in his little room, and I sit down next to him, hold his hand, stroke his hair. I ask him if he’s okay, and he says he’s better now. He says Julie really went off, kicked some ass, got things moving. He says she freaked him out a little, he didn’t know that was in her, but he’s grateful for it. He asks where she went. He wants her back, but he’s tired too, and just wants to sleep. He starts to cry again, but not a lot, he’s scared. I’m scared too, and I don’t know what’s going to happen either. I’m sitting next to my son, my first-born, sorry that I’ve failed him, sorry that he’s in so much pain, so afraid. Wishing I could do something, wishing I could turn back time.
Julie comes back just ten minutes later, and the nurses don’t even mention the one-person-at-a-time rule again. They just close the curtain on us. Julie curls up on the end of the bed, hugging Scott’s legs. I keep his hand in mine, and stroke Julie’s hair while she rests. These are my children. This is my life. And somehow, I just want to make it all better, for all of us.