Tonight I heard about a woman who is sitting in the ICU at Mass General with her son. He was involved with a skateboarding accident leaving him in critical condition. I share a yoga class with this woman and tonight I sent all the positive vibes I could muster to her sitting with her son in that room.
I have been in a room like that, similar to many other moms and families I have gotten to know this past year. We have witnessed emergency surgeries, miraculous recoveries and devestating loss. We have walked through circles of doctors and nurses on our way back to see our baby connected to various monitors and medicines. I know exactly how that woman feels right now sitting in that room.
I hear other people talk about what we have gone through with a hint of wonder behind the question “How did you get through it?” I am always surprised at this question. You just do. You hold their hands, rub their heads and watch the monitors. You watch the heart rates, see the O2 sats and if they are on a ventilator, see how much they are breathing on their own. You watch and wait to see if there are any changes, any inclination that things are going down or up. I made myself available during rounds and insisted on participating regardless of my lack of a medical degree. Whatever was in front of us we did. Somehow you get the strength to do whatever is in front of you- changing a diaper amongst many wires, holding her hand as she sleeps or the hardest- wiping tears from her face as she cries silently because of the tube down her throat. It’s all hard. It’s not easy, but the gift is seeing how strong you really are at the other side.
After I was done with the poses and preparing for the final minutes of the class, I was asked to again send any positive energy to this woman and her family. We all were. And while I knew some people were silently praying for her son to get well, for her to have strength, for their family to get through the next day I knew what I was going to wish for her. I prayed that she would be able to close her eyes and not watch the monitors for a few minutes. To give herself a few minutes of not trying to ‘solve’ the riddle of what is happening to my child. To have peace without leaving the room.
One time I was watching the monitors and a nurse came in, busting me. She walked over and shut them off. “We can see her from the desk.” she winked at me and walked out. She knew that I needed her to shut them off because I couldn’t turn my eyes away. It never ceases to amaze me how God can do for us what we can’t do for ourselves- even turning off a monitor.
I also learned that I don’t own the corner on ICUs or serious medical conditions. I am not the only mother who has worried about whether or not her child would make it until the next day. There are many other people who are also going through similar scenes that may have nothing to do with heart disease. People get sick. They get hurt. I can be of service to them. I know what to ask for them. I know what they need and can give what I can.