Chapter 18, When the Sun Goes Down on Hope

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Sun Set

I woke up in the recovery room, and I was really confused. There aren’t really words to describe the pain—the deep pain that sat on my chest and the unrelenting nausea. At one point, I remember the nurse telling me that they had given me everything they could give me for nausea. I was in and out of it—but I remember the sounds of the heart monitor beeping and suddenly there were 5 or 6 people standing over me and calling my name. It seems my heart didn’t want to continue working—looking back, I am not surprised by this.

Once the machines stopped beeping they let Michelle and Crissy take turns in the recovery room. Michelle grabbed my hand and kept squeezing it and using her other hand to wipe away her tears. They had been at the hospital for hours. Every time Crissy came back I asked her over and over: “where is Bootsie?”.

Remember when I told you how cool Crissy’s mama was? Yeah, well that is Bootsie, and I wanted her in the recovery room. She had to go back home and wasn’t able to see me in recovery because the surgery took longer than they thought and my plummeting heart rate meant that I did not leave the recovery room for hours and hours. I sobbed each time Crissy told me her mom had left—apparently asking 10 or 20 times, not remembering Crissy’s answer each time.

The moment I met Bootsie was almost as important as the time I met Crissy. I had heard plenty about both her parents and how they had, themselves, not had the best of childhoods. Bootsie and I had something in common though—neither of us knew our father’s at all. Both Tom and Boots are salt of the earth kind of people—you know those kinds of people that just love others and that love is only secondary to their passion for God. They loved me, almost from the beginning, and their house in Crystal River was immediately a solace for me—I could walk in their house and straight to the refrigerator and get whatever I wanted—because they are just those kind of people. I still have the first (of many) books that Bootsie gave me, “Streams in the Desert”—it is one of my greatest treasures.

I had learned to love them quickly, and before I knew it I was a part of the family. So, that day in the recovery room, in a very child-like way, I wanted a mom—and for the first time ever, we all saw some evidence of healing in this heart of mine. Conventional wisdom would indicate that a person like me could never love like I loved these new people in my life—especially a mother figure. All I know is that day she is the only person I wanted in that recovery room. I settled for two of my best friends, though. ☺

I finally stopped asking for people who weren’t there and they finally got the nausea to go away. I was finally able to be moved to a room—and I tried hard not to look at the drain tubes from the two large incisions from the surgery. That night was horrible, I was so sick and in so much pain. I can almost remember the moment when I lost my fight-which was too bad because I was going to need it to recover from all of this.

I spent a few days in the hospital; I was finally allowed to leave. I had zero fight in me—zero fight. When I got home, I rarely left my room. I needed help to even sit up in bed, and I had another steady diet of red kool-aid, it was impossible to get me to eat anything. The exception to that was when Cheryl brought her pumpkin cookies—which is like a religious experience in it’s self. Friends from church would come see me and when they did I would shuffle from my room to the recliner, but that was the extent of my interaction with the outside world. All of this started because of a dark shadow on a basic screening from my last physical. I was done, I was finished—there seemed to be no way out of this one, and if there was—well I didn’t know how to find it.

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