Becoming a Grown Up
Many people talk about being an adult--they pay their own bills, have a "real" job, and have turned X-years old. They feel free to judge others and comment on how "life is" because they have met their self-designed rules of adulthood.
Many people talk about knowing what "love" feels like. They know they love someone because that person makes them feel whole, complete, etc. They feel that because they made it through the rough times--the fights over bills, the flirting, the fender bender, and all sorts of nonsense--they are one with each other.
I think that many people do a lot of thinking but not a lot of knowing. I thought I knew--I thought I was. I wasn't, and I didn't.
There was a crash, and the room shook. Jumping out of bed, I realized that my husband was not next to me. I fumbled for my glasses without luck. I pressed my face against the clock to read it--it glared back at me with an angry 4am.
Shit, shit--what is going on? I stumbled out into the hallway, nearly tripping over something very large. Bending over, I realized what was lying on the ground in front of me. I dropped to my knees and started pushing the pool of blood away from my husband's face with my hands. He could not talk or move; he just mumbled in babble speak. God no...no, no, no. Please talk to me. Jesus Christ...please say something.
Babble speak....babble speak...tick, tock, tick. It's funny how loud clocks are in the middle of the night.
Honey, do you know who I am? Yes
Do you know where you are? No
Can you move? No...I don't know
Do you know what happened? No
Please try to move. Wiggle your fingers.
Wiggle your toes.
Can you see? I don't know.
Can you see? Yes
Can you read this (holding up a magazine)? Yes
Read it aloud.
God, where is all of this blood coming from? O.K. his chin--he cut open his chin. That will need stitches and X-rays...definitely some X-rays.
Honey, can you remember anything. No
911, What is your emergency?
I found my husband lying on the floor…he just collapsed…I didn’t push him or anything, he just fell (yes I know how bad that sounds in retrospect). He's bleeding, he can barely talk, and he doesn't know where he is or how he got there....no, he doesn't have any medical conditions...no, no drugs...I don't know what my address is...yes, I do...please hurry.
Honey, what's happening to me? Please, what's happening to me. His eyes teared up. In the seven years that I’ve known my husband, I have never seen him afraid.
This is the point where my heart breaks and my head snowballs. I can not live without this man. I can not do this alone. I am not strong. I am helpless.
Can't find the insurance card..where the fuck is his wallet? God, the dog and cat are licking the blood up. I can't do this alone. Oh, my god. Who can I call? Why didn't I make any friends--why did we move so far away from our family? Oh, my god.
The paramedics arrive--all nine of them. My house is so small that only two can fit in our hallway. The rest wait downstairs staring at me while I stare back at them. My lip trembles, but I do not cry. I need to act like I'm not afraid. I’m covered in blood along with the dog—the cat, thankfully, has disappeared. My husband can not answer their questions, and the stretcher is too wide for our stairs. I hate this house.
He’ll be alright mam. He probably had too much to drink at the game and passed out.
He did not have too much to drink, and the game was 10 hours ago. Do not tell me you are sure that he didn’t have a stroke or seizure, because you do not have the tools necessary for such a statement. Do not tell me that his blood pressure is fine when it is 135 over 85, which is well above his average bp and way too high for someone who has been lying flat for 25 min.
I get in the ambulance in my pajamas. The hospital is not that far away so I can walk home during the CAT scan and get the car. Too bad we were rerouted and had to go to a different hospital.
Hours later my husband is stitched up and feeling better. He still is a little confused about what happened, as is the doctor. It’s not a tumor, and it wasn’t a stroke or heart attack, so I have calmed down. He was 6 inches away from falling down the stairs, just 6 inches. We’ll meet with the neurologist next week, but there’s a good chance he was a little dehydrated and had a vagal response causing him to black out. When 220 pounds falls over and lands on its head, there’s bound to be some confusion in the aftermath.
Did you ever try to get home from a hospital when you don’t have any money or any idea where you’re at? Did you ever wait for a cab on the highway in your pajamas, while your poor husband, bruised and stitched, tries not to pass out from exhaustion and pain killers? What a debacle life is.
I now truly understand that being a grown up means. It means that life is not all about you and that you are responsible for the lives of those around you. It means big things happen, and you may have to deal with them completely on your own. I also now know that love is more than how someone makes you feel. Love is about praying that God takes your life instead—it’s about being willing to sell your soul for another few years of memories.
I wonder what the paramedics were thinking when they walked into the house. I wonder if the 911 operator told them that I had stressed that I didn’t knock my husband out.
I need some sleep.