Nightmare on the 14th Floor

I read that Mahatma Gandhi said – Those with the greatest awareness have the greatest nightmares.

I have been dealing, over the last three days, with my father’s very serious medical issues.

On Monday morning, he had a fall caused, we suspected at the time, by a blackout of sorts. My mother was reporting him to be unresponsive to her on occasion. They don’t always seek medical help because they fear the consequences. Loss of their independence. However, my father is on dialysis and when he goes for treatment they assess him and if they have concerns about his health they will call an ambulance and send him to emerg. His face was badly bruised from the fall and his blood pressure was very low. He was very frail and weak.

Having a negative assessment by the dialysis clinic has repercussions because in the town where they live there is no in hospital dialysis and so if he ends up in the hospital he must go to a city about an hour away. It is very hard on everyone.

On Monday, this was the scenario that played out. He was not in good shape, the dialysis clinic called an ambulance and he was sent to the emerg. Things did not go well there. It was serious. At one point he had no pulse and the doctors were talking about do not recusitate orders. And he had to travel to the city to have dialysis.

During this time, both my father and my mother spoke of my son which they never do. My father to ask if I ever heard from him. My mother to say she would be dividing some money she had saved in her will between her four grandchildren. That would mean she was including my son.

Being there in the hospital with my dad, I kept thinking back to when I had my son and how I was driven to the hospital by my mother and left to go through two and a half days of labour by myself. About how when I came home from the hospital I broke down in tears on my father’s shoulder and he did not respond in any way, did not put his arm around me. Nothing.

But that was a long time ago and I tried to put it out of my mind as I advocated for my father during his hospital stay.

It turned out that the problem may have been a mal-functioning pacemaker and so my father, after another evaluation and a re-jigged pacemaker, is now permitted to go back to the dialysis in the town where he lives. The crisis has passed.*

Tonight my husband and I returned to our condo overlooking the lake. Both of us were exhausted and I fell asleep on the couch watching tv.

While I was sleeping, I dreamt that my daughter was in an orphanage and I had gone to rescue her. When I came into the room where she was with rows and rows of babies, she saw me and her face lit up and filled with hope and I could tell she knew I had come to get her. She was little, maybe 9 months or a year old. I signalled to her not to show that she recognized me so no one would suspect I had come to rescue her.

As I looked around I started to see how sick all the other children in the orphanage were. It was a horrible place. I became very worried about her, feeling that I could rescue her but even if I did she may not be alright because conditions in the orphanage so terrible.

And then I woke up.

I don’t think the dream was really about my daughter, I think it was about my son. How even finding him cannot undo the harm that his adoption experience has done – to him.

My husband asked me if there was anything wrong and I told him that I had had a nightmare. When I told him the details of my dream, he had a great look of concern on his face.

He is pretty savvy about the impact of adoption but I could see, having been through the journey of this week with me, and having heard about my dream, he understood it all in a new way.

Peace

UM

*The crisis passed only briefly because they called back the next day and said he has to travel to the city again.

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3 Responses to Nightmare on the 14th Floor

  1. Margie says:

    I hope your father is doing better, UM. And I hope you’re being good to yourself. It’s been a very hard time for you, no question. (((((hugs)))))

  2. Amazing and frightening, the things our minds do when we sleep. No doubt your father’s illness and your visit to the hospital set off your nightmare, but it just goes to show how haunted we are by that long-ago loss. It never goes away. The fear, pain, anxiety is always lurking in our subconscious.

    Sending wishes for your dad’s recovery and BIG HUGS to you.

  3. Leanna Ralbusky says:

    I feel for you, believe me, I do. I went through the same thing with my mother. I was the one who had to tell her that she had to stay in the nursing home. It was 1986 all over again, only i was the bad person. I told her “you require too much care, we can’t take care of you, etc.” I was the only one in the family willing to tell her that, and it was hard, but not that hard.

    Whether we want to or not, it will affect our relationship with our parents forever. I wish that I could have forgiven my mother for everything as I looked down at her coffin, but all I mustered out was “you did the best you can.”

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