We have been constant companions, you and I, for some months now. It all started the night the worst of you jumped from the land slumber to the land of reality. He really is the very worst part of you. He almost took Theodore in his sleep. If I hadn’t woken that very minute I would not have been able to breath life back into that little fragile body. He would have taken him.
That scream that no on heard that night still rings in my ears months later. It haunts me day and night. I don’t deny I am almost grateful for your constant compainship. Even in those early days when sleep was so elusive you were there. That silver shadow in that hospital room forcing me to ask the hard questions. The splattering of disney characters and nurses with bubbles did not detract the reality. We had almost lost our little one…
The tests did nothing to diminish your presence. The doctors could not answer the hard questions. We left that hospital with our child, luckier than many others, but worried every time we put him to bed. I couldn’t leave his room when he was asleep. I slowly started to unravel. Your company at that point was overwhelming. You were pulling on every fabric of my being and I was drowning.
I was in fact gasping for air eveytime I went for a yet another opinion. Nothing felt right. I was floating above reality for a time, refusing to come down until there was a reason. There just had to be. There was a second opinion, then a third, then a forth. I somehow kept my composure during them, or did I? Could the doctors see beyond that mask? Could they see my baby may have been smiling and seemingly fine but I was falling apart?
Finally we saw the right doctor. His face showed genuine concern. As I recoutered the story his eyes remainded on Theodore, they didn’t glaze over on account of the evident drama. All of a sudden he stated ‘something about his breathing doesn’t sound right’. That one sentence was my worst fear.
The next appointment was an ENT surgeon. Then a surgical investigation. My self doubt was so pronounced that day. What if I was wrong? What if all the other doctors before had been right? Putting Theodore under general anaesthetic on one doctors and a mother’s gut feelings, had you truely made me insane? He wasn’t even one years old.
My fingernails were destroyed in that waiting room. Then, surprisinly eairler than expected, the surgeon raced in. He was always shorter than I remembered. His presence seemed to quietly fill a room. He had found a rare birth defect. It was unexpected but it was definitely there. There wasn’t much time, could he have my consent to fix it? My mind raced, I had so many questions and what if he was wrong? Theodore was lying on that table though. My husband was with our three year old at home. There was no one to share the burden with except you and you are not exactly someone brimming with positivty. I heard myself saying yes, do whatever they needed too.
You and I watched later as he slept. Connected to all sorts of machines, a nurse always in the room. I was so angry they hadn’t found it sooner. That they had sent us home the first time without finding it. Something that could have taken him forever had been missed.
The next feeling surprised me. I found myself grateful. Not just to the doctors that had fixed Theodore’s airway but also to you and your constant presence. I had unravelled over those previous months sure but as a result of my desperation I had pushed and refused to accept there wasn’t an answer. As a result we were here, Theodore breathing deeply for the first time in his life. That was worth falling apart for.
So thank you Nightmares, that scream still rings in my ears and I am lost for words on how to explain what happened that night. You covered me in darkness and it forced me to look for the light, the rationale.
Theodore sleeps peacefully now. I don’t but with time I will and your presence will diminish.