The week from HELL carried on into the weekend from hell. Friday wasn’t a good day. T has some serious things going on at work that I will keep out of this blog to protect his privacy. However, I will say that they were serious enough to consume hours of conversation and to cause fear in both of us. Not the kind of fear where you’re afraid of losing your job, but the kind of fear that makes you wonder, “Why in the hell am I involved in this anyway?”
For me, last week was filled with worry over my sick daughters, political shenanigans that I imaged only occurred in poorly written movies, and too many murders. Yes, that’s right. There have been too many murders in the area of the city near my office. Gang-related murders with newspaper articles that read “body riddled with bullets,” and “shot in the head while three children sat in the back seat,” and “shot first and then run over with a car.” While I am not in fear of my own life, the ugliness of such violence casts a large dark cloud over my days. The weather has warmed up a bit, and the activity on the street is like nothing I have experienced before. There is aggression in the air. One night last week when I worked late and realized that the security guards were no longer in the parking deck, I walked to my car with my finger on the trigger of my mace. I drive through a terrible area on my way home where people walk out into the streets, in front of moving cars, unseeing like zombies. It scares me, the aggressiveness of such actions, and the fear that one day I’ll hit one of them by accident. What am I doing here?
All week, I looked forward to the weekend. I needed a few days away from the ugliness. I wanted not to have to leave my clean, tidy neighborhood. The weather was looking good, and I hoped to take a walk. Maybe a warm spring breeze could blow some of the stink of this past week off of my skin.
Nothing about this weekend was good. I had been gone so much last week that the house was a mess. The four of us usually do a fairly good job of keeping up with things, but not this week. The girls had been sick (and messy.) T had been completely preoccupied for days. To top it off, Andrew was applying for a corporate job, so the one night I had been home during the week I had spent on the phone with him helping him update his resume. Friday night was spent trying to make sure the girls were comfortable and fed and making a dent in the mountain of laundry.
By Saturday, Lola was feeling much better. For that, I am thankful, but Emily was much worse. She kept promising me that she was “feeling better,” but she couldn’t seem to eat. When she thought I wasn’t looking, her face was a mask of pain. I prayed that we would soon see an improvement, because I was becoming more and more worried. Her voice was weak and shaky, and her coloring was off as well. She was much worse when we woke up today.
It has been almost a week now; the time for wait and see had passed. We knew that Em needed to see a doctor. The problem is, we don’t have a doctor here. Oh, I missed home at that moment. I missed our old doctor and the little clinic where we took all of our kids if they were sick on a weekend. I missed something, anything familiar. I hated this place at that moment even more than ever. Why in the hell are we here?
I remembered the clinic where I had taken Lola for her 6th grade physical. I had vowed to never go back to that place again. Although it had been clean and the doctors had been professional, I was expecting to see a bloody gunshot or stabbing victim walk through the door at any moment. Thankfully, T already had it figured out. He later told me that he had been anticipating this emergency trip to seek medical care for Emily.
He drove us to a hospital, which freaked both Emily and I out. We sat in the parking lot bitching at him like a couple of hens. “This is a hospital! Why are we here?” Both Emily and I are deathly afraid of doctors, hospitals, needles. We’ve both seen too much. Walking into a hospital triggers post traumatic stress-like symptoms in me. I was dizzy. My heart was racing. Emily was clinging to my hand like a frightened child. I think both of us refused to look at T. (Yes, I know he was right, but in our moment of fear, we blamed him.)
For three hours, we waited. We waited for a room. We waited to be seen. We waited for test results. Emily was very sick. Her urinalysis showed a serious infection. That meant blood tests. Finally, she was released with a handful of prescriptions and orders to stay home from work for a week.
I know this, as terrible as this week has been, I have had worse weeks. Today as I sat in the emergency room, I remembered other days from long ago sitting in other impersonal hospital waiting areas. I remembered back to the three weeks when I lived, slept, and ate my meals in a waiting room like the one I sat in today. I shivered to remember a time when I walked out of the hospital on the day when my daughter had died. Today as we left with Emily, I reached for her hand. I looked at her pale face and I smiled. She is young and strong. She’ll be OK.
Tonight my head is pounding and my muscles feel almost sore from the stress of worry. My house is a mess. I’m hungry, but I don’t feel like eating. Tomorrow is Monday, and I don’t want to go to work. I’ve given about all I can give in so many places, too many places. I need a weekend redo. I need a few hours without work, stress, ugliness, problems, or responsibility. Where is that place?