We Wait

Sitting in the ER I am glad I am not the one on the rolling bed this time. It is always like going down memory lane when I come here. Louise’s doctor is actually the same doctor I had last time I came for abdominal pain, so it is like deja vu in many ways only my veins are not the ones they are poking this time. I always hate the noise in the ER, because you only come here when you feel terrible it just seems like it would be so much better if it was quieter. But of course that is not viable. The middle of the night visits are the worst because your body really wants to sleep and that is not possible with your vital signs being checked every 15 minutes.
Tonight, or rather this morning, we are waiting for results from Louise’s tests. She is resting quietly after a seizure that left her unconscious at home. She came to in the ambulance on the way in, and has been talking, though her speech is difficult to understand. Six or eight vials of blood work take some time to process, as does a CT scan. We could be here a while. That is another fact of ER life…time stands still. We have learned to come prepared, laptop and kindle in hand, we read, write and surf. Our bay is tiny with the bed and three chairs squeezed in like clowns in a toy car. If any medical staff needs to attend to any thing, we have to pile out and rearrange to make room. As the time ticks by, the noise around us gets slightly more subdued. Fortunately there are no screamers, or moaners tonight and for that I am grateful. Waiting is the hardest part here. Not knowing the source of pain causes anxiety to rise, and frustration with the process to flow like a river out of each room. We have found that patience and a smile go a long way to making things bearable. It is one of the lessons of Cancerland that has served us well. I am aware that ER visits are a part of having cancer. It does not make them easier, only more routine. This one was a scary one because of the convulsions and unconscious state of Louise. Ray called 911 and watched them wheel her out unresponsive to their attempts to awaken her. That kind of experience shakes you up no matter how long you have been in Cancerland.
It is our theory that medication is the cause of this event. A suitcase of medicines go with cancer. Ray keeps track of Louise’s on a spreadsheet. That way they can just scan a copy to put in her file. Her neurologist added a new one last week, and the symptoms started a couple of days later. Lack of appetite, nausea, weakness all have taken a toll this week. So much so that Louise stopped the medicine on Saturday. We do not yet know if this is a reaction to the medicine, or stopping the medicine, or the cancer itself. Her last scan showed the cancer has not progressed, so we are hopeful that the meds are the culprit. Time will tell us soon enough.
In the meantime, we wait. We think of how precious every day of life is, and how to be good to the people in our lives. Leaving nothing unsaid and taking nothing for grated. Our faith is put to the test here in the ER. Our trust that every day is numbered, and that nothing is outside of God’s control is lived out in the rooms and noises all around us. Ultimately, we give all control to him…because it is his anyway. We hold tight to that fact, and we wait.

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