Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Check your hope at the door

"A glimmer is better than a black hole."

So says Mum, and she's usually right because she's my Mum. But I'm not sure it's true in this case. For my part, I'm trying hard not to succumb to hope, here. I get horribly depressed when people don't call when they say they will; disappointment in the context of something, you know, actually important to me and those I love is something I can't bear to think of. Best to expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised than to get my hopes up and have them dashed if the situation deteriorates.

But it's hard not to grasp at whatever straws are available. Yesterday, Lisa's neurologists left no doubt in my mind that this was not going to end well; today, she's shown signs of improvement they didn't expect to see. Small, microscopically small signs, but positive microscopically small signs. I'm trying to stay downbeat and pessimistic, but it's not easy. What a strange situation to be in, to find myself tempted to hope here, of all places.

It's ten to three in the morning here in Ottawa. Mum and I are on the night shift, sitting with Lisa. Mum's a former nurse and has worked extensively in the palliative care field. I don't know if that's a plus or a minus--well, it's a plus for Lisa, because she knows how to apply the mouthwash and what to look for, but knowing what to look for...I don't know. She seems less optimistic than I am right now, and that's highly unusual. I'm the family doomsayer, this situation has disrupted the natural order of things.

Lisa's being well-taken care of here at the Ottawa Civic Hospital ICU, by a number of healthcare practicioners, a disproportionate number of whom are named "Heather." She's surrounded by all sorts of machines--numerous drips, a dialysis machine, heart monitors. They haven't brought in the machine that goes PING! yet, but I'm confident that should one be required it would be supplied in short order. It all feels a bit like tackling the incoming tide to try and stop the wave from reaching the beach, but there's something comforting in the notion that everything that can be done is being done.

At the risk of being crass, I feel compelled to point out that if we were in the United States, I and the rest of my immediate family would likely be facing debtors prison once this situation is concluded. I always thought the healthcare situation down there was a #*&%-up of monumental proportions, but current circumstances just reinforce to me how lucky I am to have been born above the lower 48. Nobody should ever have to go through what I and my family a re currently experiencing, but that a bunch of assholes' desire to reap profit from others' misfortune should trump what ought to be a basic human right is repugnant.

Trying to keep my gallows humour to myself. Not being entirely successful. Might share some of the funny but completely inappropriate things I've thought of saying recently when I'm sure Mum's not going to be reading.

I said it on Twitter earlier and I'll say it again here: thank you to everyone who for your messages of support. I feel blessed, which is not something I usually feel (I'm sure it'll pass) and my family and I are very thankful.

Take care of yourselves.


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