I have gained enough experience now to recognize the look I get sometimes from family members. I used to just think it was dazed and confused, that they were simply overwhelmed with everything happening so quickly. "He just left my house an hour ago, then I got a call from the state trooper..." Random, that's the scary part; how random it all is. No one is immuned from such possibilities, not even my family. Wives, in particular, give this look of dread and hope at the same time, and you can actually feel the physical weight of it on you. Their spirit hangs on yours for support. You know they will do anything to save their husband, and they know they can do nothing. So, there is you, and you are all they have.
I give them the usual speech, like an ICU flight attendant, "This is the ventilator and it is helping him breathe right now through that tube that goes in his mouth..." I point out the numbers on the monitor, knowing they will obsess over those numbers every time they come in, because I have explained them. I chart the lines and tubes for them, "This one gives him fluid in his vein, this one measures his blood pressure...removes urine...keeps him from getting sick...allows us to suction out his mouth and lungs...monitors his heart...measures his oxygen level...drains the blood from his abdomen..." The emergency exits are on either side of the ICU both fore and aft, don't forget your seatbelts. Thank you for choosing our hospital. Or didn't you? More likely, this is just the place the chopper brought him from the scene.
So, I'm shakin' it, boss, I'm shakin' it. I leave it here on the altar of "This isn't my real life!" I sleep and wake up looking for a big shot of caffeine and some comfortable shoes. Oh, I'll stay right here in the house, thanks. Seems pretty safe here. And car free. I want to stay here forever, reading and watching TV, and surfing the web, and playing Trouble, and talking in the darkness of the wee hours about all the wonderful history we've shared, that brought us here. I want to act silly with my sons and play with the puppies, to joke about pooties and boogers. I want them all to help me free myself from that weight so I can go on. But, most of all, I want to hear them all laughing, laughing, laughing.
Writing prompt courtesy of http://onionboy.typepad.com/writing_prompts/