The call came when I was ready to leave for the day. My brother, frantic on the phone, telling me that our mother was on her way to the Medical Center again. He was following the ambulance in his pick up truck. I could picture him trying to shift, steer, and talk to me on the tiny cell phone at the same time. I knew his cheek was on his shoulder, with the phone wedged in between, and I lost him when the pressure to hold it in place caused the END button to be pressed. I hung up the phone and quickly put my work space in order. I grabbed my purse and headed out to the parking lot, well aware of the fact that I would not be getting home any time soon.
The Medical Center was a familiar place. I drove straight to the ER entrance, and greeted the valet by name. He recognized me and I saw a genuine sadness in his eyes when he asked, “Again?” He did not ask my name or how long I would be. I was inside the revolving door before he got into my car.
The doors at the Medical Center are always too slow; I can’t get into the place quick enough and find myself waiting forever in the small triangular space that spins when I leave. I am normally a patient person (no pun intended), but the anxiety to get in and get out of the hospital makes me move at a rapid pace that I have no control over. It is always a relief when the space I am in opens up into the hospital or sets me free from the place.
My mother and brother were easy to find. I know my way around the ER by now, after so many similar trips, and I don’t wait for somebody to direct me to the proper place. My brother is tall, and all I have to do is look for the top of his head above the
inadequate canvas curtains that partition off the beds. I would be able to find them without that advantage, because my brother’s voice could carry across continents if he’s in the right (or wrong) frame of mind. My brother most likely means well, but he is condenscending and obnoxious 99% of the time. He feels very important when something is wrong with our mother. His personality (or lack of) has been almost as much of a challenge as the situation itself. I am grateful that I am not alone in this quest to take care of our mother, but that is not because I need him by my side as things happen. The knowledge that I aam not the only one hurting inside, losing my mother, is what I find comfort in.