To My Wife

When you called me yesterday
I tried to get to your side.
Traffic conspired against me:
Frustration, impatience:
I was driven, I had to get to you.
All those people
Going about their normal lives
Were just obstacles
In my path.

I arrived late; you had gone.
Taken to that place of life and death.
I found you there,
In pain. You acted normal,
Not wanting to distress me.
But I know you too well.

I knew it had to be bad
For you to end up there:
Overcoming your phobia,
Asking for help.

You asked me to get you out;
I side-stepped, dodged the question,
Tried to keep you occupied
Until the doctors arrived
With their questions and needles.

Your condition changed,
Stirring them into action.
I was left standing on the edge
And then outside the door.

I looked around the ER:
I couldn’t take the sight
And turned my back on the room;
Stared at your door,
Fighting the impulse to run
From that place.

But I could not run.
I was more afraid to leave
Than to stay.
Then they moved you
To Resus.

They connected you
To wires and tubes:
Fluids in, data out.
You rang alarms:
This reading too low,
That one too high.

I stood by your side throughout,
Keeping you calm
As best I could.
Keeping my own feelings
At one remove:
Time for all that later.

They stabilized you:
You became more lucid.
You told me to go home:
You’d be all right.
They moved you to a ward,
I went home.

You had me worried,
Pacing from room to room,
Unable to settle.
I felt helpless.
Hour after hour
Until exhaustion overcame me
And I succumbed to sleep.

I awoke scant hours later,
Knowing something was missing.
Still dressed from the night before.

The phone rang:
I had to answer
Although I feared it
Even more than usual.

A flood of relief:
You were being discharged.
I came to collect you.
We went home.
Back where we belong,
Together.

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2 thoughts on “To My Wife

  1. Oh my goodness. When I began reading this an awful feeling came over me in the first stanza. When I read the second I started to panic for you. That feeling of dread mixed with something else I cannot ever figure out how to name when something awful and scary is happening. I was so relieved that she was back home with you by the last stanza. I do hope all is well and that your wife is doing much, much better. Thank goodness you are both back together again.

  2. Bird, thank you so much for your caring words. I draw strength from such support. My head is all over the place right now with anxiety – it's going to be a slow road to recovery for my wife but thankfully she's past the major crisis. I've just got to try to keep myself together enough to look after her while she gets her strength back.

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