The sound stayed with me day and night and night and day. Nothing could take it away, nor did I want it to cease. It was like the sound of breathing, like the beating of the heart or the ticking of a clock. In its serenity, it calmed me to know that it was still alive. But after a while, the sound echoed inside my room and my head, too. It beat at me as if the wind twisted into a storm, beating its rain upon a windy and loud window pane like Dorothy was befuddled with in The Wizard of Oz.
Drip drop. Hum drum. How many ml are left? Let me climb up my intravenous line and check to see. Hmmm. Ony 11:30 pm and yet I know morning will be here soon. 500 ml left at 7 ml/hr = about 7 hr of fluid. Calculating. Yes. Then I need ot wake up at 6:30 am to change the iv fluid to a new 1000 ml bag. So, do I want to wake up at 6:30 am?
Well, actually, no. I do not.
So I look around my perimeter. I see the dark wooden wardrobe next to my bed, just like the one Aunt Nancy used to have. Except mine was full of iv tubing, alcohol pads that could smell if I scrunched my nose just so. Hers was full of Beswick Bone China from England, hardly a comparison. I check the iv fluid and but of course all the new bags are downstairs, cold in the refrigerator. No one took out a bag at 11 at night, because no one has to live on an iv and wonder how long the thing will last into the night. If it runs out while I am sleeping, the iv line could clot. Then I could lose my PICC line completely, and that would be sad.
I decide to change it now, because I do not wish to awaken early. Drip drop. Hum drum. I change the bag. I do my duty. I have to, needless to say, no one else will do it for me.
I look in the mirror and ask myself if I am loved. It is a hand-held mirror, blackened silver that needs shining. Of course it is next to me to ensure that I don't have pepper in my teeth after a meal. This is a little thing that gives me grace and stature. I have to be able to smile, knowing that I do not have black pepper between my teeth. I know it is not important, but then again, I know that it is important to me. So I have to live my life forward, not backward.I have to keep my eyes not on the race, but on the distance. If I pace myself, I know I can do this. I can take one day at a time. I can know that I am loved. This gives me meaning, purpose, and drive. I look at the iv and hear the hum drum and the drip drop once again. I look at the tear-shaped drop of fluid...the same drops I gave to my patients when I was their anesthesiologist. And I know without a doubt that the drop brings life. Before, the drops brought life to my patients. Now, they bring life to me. Tear-shaped drops, falling one by one, onto the meniscus housing a well of life to come.
But instead of being bitter about it, I just rise up on the inside. I tell myself that I can do it. I tell myself that not only can I do it, but I will do it. I will do it. I will.
~ written by Margaret Aranda, MD
Author, No More Tears: A Physician Turned Patient Inspires Recovery
God loves us every single moment of every single day. Nothing can take that away from us.
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