Thursday, August 10, 2006

I am a rock

Tonight I was watching a rerun of Grey's Anatomy. At some point Meredith had a breakdown. She ran into a linen closet and started crying hysterically. McDreamy followed her into the closet, listened to her, and got her a paper bag to breath into in order to cure her hyperventilation. She didn't really get better until he held her hand though. She needed comfort, not medical help.

Okay, I have been in the hospital A LOT. My mom brought me in like the first three times, but after that I went in solo. Which means I would suffer through several hours of pain, it would progress to vomiting, and then when I couldn't stop vomiting I would drive myself to the hospital.

(Non-stop vomiting does get fifteen-minute breaks. The act of heaving calms the stomach giving a reprieve. Twenty minutes of tortuous nausea followed by two minutes of painful retching followed by fifteen minutes of peaceful bliss. The body likes rest what can I say...)

Even in the early days when my mom was present I had to send her away.

When I was very young I learned my parents were human, and when I discovered their flaws I started my mantra. "You can only rely on you. You will have to fix this, no one else will do it for you." This may sound strange, but as a coping mechanism at twelve when you realize you are the most qualified person in your family to make things function...hell it works.

I didn't mean it to, buy my mantra has followed me throughout my life. Maybe therefore it is not so shocking that of all the hospital visits over all of the years I am alone. I walk in by myself, and unless forced by surgery I walk out by myself.

Which is why I found tonight's episode of Grey's Anatomy so interesting.

I remember one visit to the hospital in my mid twenties. Same ole thing, same ole symptoms. I got admitted because they just wanted to diagnose me. (They never believe me when I tell them what is wrong.) At some point I was in my hospital room, and I started to shake. Really shake, like teeth chattering whole body moving shake. It was terrifying. The medical staff became alarmed assuming I was presenting with some kind of allergic reaction. They added one drug and then another to counteract whatever I had.

But it didn't get better. Until this one nurse stopped and she just held my hand. She just held my hand to calm me, be there for me, to comfort me.

And the shaking stopped.





I was horrified at my own weakness. But at the same time I was so grateful that she was the first person in that twenty-hour ordeal to show me that human kindness. To have such a strong physical reaction to something so ethereal astounded me.

Heck, I may say that I am a rock, I am an island, but is an island defined by its solitude or simply by the fact it is surrounded by a different element? If the water recesses and the island becomes a mountain is it any less remote?

In so many ways I may stand out but I am still made of the same cloth, the same earth as others. Once and a while that simple touch is the entire cure a person may need. Someone letting you know that they are there. For you. That you don’t have to only rely on you, that once and a while someone will do it for you. Just let them.

1 comment:

shirley said...

Human contact is amazing, they need to bottle that shizz! (oh wait, they do & call it scotch) ;) Missing you at the big flightless bird!