Sunday, April 19, 2009

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Since December we have been enjoying a relatively quiet period, no more hospitalizations or scares. Things are evening out a bit and leaving time for the normal things: therapy, doctors, trips to new specialists in Willa’s relentless drive to accumulate a legion of medical admirers. Which of course makes me incredibly and daily nervous. I am knocking on wood, I am wishing on pennies, I am dreading another stay chez CHOP.

And why? I mean, no one loves these things but what is it that really bothers me about the entire hospital stay, other than the abject fear for Willa’s life and well-being? The boredom? The lack of control? The sense of the parallel universe spinning in an orbit away from all light and normalcy and just, well, better meals? What?

I think all these things I can bear but what is so terrible is my nightly agonizing over whether to stay in Willa’s room or go home and get some sleep. This is of course after we are through anything questionable or scary. These are the nights when she is totally stable and doing her usual, which is to say, not sleeping.

When I sleep at the hospital, there is no sleep. When I go home, I cry all the way to the elevator, down to the garage and all the way home. I feel like a traitor, a Benedict Arnold of epic proportion, a skunk beyond all reckoning. I feel like I am the worst mother that has ever walked the face of this earth. I feel like everyone is watching me with disapproving eyes, they peer into my soul and condemn me. Is this dramatic enough?

It’s awful. It’s unwinnable. If I stay I am sacrificing the only sleep I may get this year. If I go I am so guilt ridden my night is riddled with bad dreams and sadness. The doctors all tell you to leave. The nurses say that they are paid for this and can go home and sleep in the morning. I have been told that it’s ok, that I am not the antichrist of mothering, that people need to sleep and she will be well looked after. And she will be, but not by ME. And so we go around again…

Willa has had 6 hospitalizations and each time this question gets no easier to answer. I am so far incapable of making any peace with this, of being decisive, of managing to take care of Willa and myself at the same time. I can’t do it with any grace or fortitude. I have no conviction. Either way it sucks and that’s pretty much all I can get to in all this.

And so I dread the hospital… For this above all reasons. I dread walking out the door and leaving Willa behind. I dread the loss of all sleep and the crushing exhaustion of a medical emergency and then the long recovery. Is there any way to make peace with this? I think I need Willa to tell me what to do but so far she ain’t talkin’.

And so I’ll knock on wood, I’ll wish on pennies, I’ll pray for good health and sunny skies and the wisdom to know next time.


Anonymous said...

Like they say when you fly: "Put the mask on yourself before you help others." You are no good to Willa if You are not well.

Love you xoxox

matthewdotjacobsen said...

Sydney, you are a genius.

Anonymous said...

I love this letter, check it out: