Friday, July 25, 2008

the tapestry of Life

there are some events in life that stay with you forever. events like your first kiss. the birth of your children. saving someone's life.

these events become carved into your soul and leave you changed, whether you know it or not. suddenly, you're a whole new person. a lover. a mother. a saviour.

and inevitably, these events touch the spirits of those around you.

over 19 months ago, on 10 december 2006, i took my 8-day-old baby to emerg because he was having trouble breathing. they sent asher on to london, where he could be helped, or at least diagnosed.

my first comfort was from the doctor there. i didn't catch her name, but i liked her. i remember thinking that baby blue cashmere seemed an odd choice for working in emerg, but it was a pretty sweater, and i was in shock, so i didn't think anymore about it. and you know, despite the stress of, well, asher, she had a smile on her face and spoke very kindly to me.

and then, once the cardiologist (dr p) showed up, she was gone. well, maybe not. in fact, thinking back now as i type this, i think she was still there, telling the nurses what to do while dr p echoed. but i didn't really see her anymore. to me, she was there, and then she wasn't.

and i have looked for her, off and on in the intervening months. you would think, and understandably so, that we would have met her again by now. but no. i still had no idea who she was.

i have kept a few things from that day. i still have a lock of asher's hair from when they had to shave his head for IV access. and i have all his hospital bracelets from those first weeks in hospital. i know who all the doctors were. except one. i have the bracelet, it's in front of me now. the doctor's name is L Purcell. i have looked at this bracelet over the last year and a half and wondered who this doctor is. which one were they? we met so many. it's hard to say.

last night in emerg, i asked which doc was on, as is my wont anymore. there were two on duty. i knew one, having seen her many times before, but i didn't recognize the other name. we were taken in, and put in the little baby room off in the corner.

through the doorway, i saw a woman walk down the hall and into the staff area. she had a stethoscope, but was dressed very nicely. so she wasn't a nurse or RT, since they're usually in scrubs. and i thought that a silky black-and-white sleeveless blouse seemed an odd choice for a doctor to wear to work in emerg, and then i gasped! dr gloor was sitting behind the desk, filling out paperwork or something. i asked her if that woman i saw was dr purcell, and she smiled and said yes.

"she's the one we saw when asher came in that first morning!" i said. dr gloor smiled again and replied, "yup, that was her. and the rest of us were in the back going, 'thank God it's not me!'" and we laughed.

after a while, dr purcell came in to see us. she was not our attending physician but she came in anyway. she was truly delighted to see asher. she couldn't get over how big he is now, because she hadn't seen him since that first day, those first minutes before we were sent upstairs to the Unit. he was so small then.

she reflected on how "tense" that morning was. she remembered dr p echo-ing asher and being very pessimistic. she remembered him talking to me and telling me that asher was going to die. but she hadn't heard anything about asher since then, so she had no idea if he made it or not, or what his journey has been like.

but she remembered.

her life was touched by that morning.

i learned something last night. that morning, now so long ago, wasn't asher's trauma. nor was it my trauma. it was all of ours. in that moment, all our lives came crashing together, suddenly, horrifically, unexpectedly. and in that brief time, all our lives became inextricably woven together. we're part of a story, part of a journey, and we're in it together. we will never again walk separate or even parallel paths. our spirits are bound together, and we will forever be part of one another's lives. dr p has become one of the people i cherish and admire most in the world (it's true, pepy, i love you!). sarah, one of the nurses, has become as close to a friend as a mother can have in emerg. and i hadn't seen dr purcell since that first morning, but i knew her the second i saw her last night.

asher's wonky heart, and his courageous battle, is a chord that binds us all together in a most breathtaking way. not just me and asher and the nurses and doctors. you, too, are bound together with us. we've now become threads in the beautiful tapestry of life. not just of asher's life. nor of mine, really. ours is the tapestry of Life itself, and we're all woven together in it.

and it's beautiful.

1 comment:

amanda said...

that is beautiful Heather. thank you for sharing your experiences and perspective.