Lying there in the scratchy, unflattering folds of hospital blue, the crunch of paper stuck to the pain-sweat that slicked down my skin. My eyes were fixed on a wavy, colored light that slowly melted from warm blues and greens to soothing purples and golds, and back again. I was startled by the green scrubs that began chanting at me “We are breathing in together. In through your nose, out through your mouth; nice deep breaths. You’re doing great.”
She was wrong. I’m not doing great. In the deep inhales to distract my mind, I still hear the fear even louder. The blurs of soothing light draw my focus only enough to be jolted back by the cold touch and the sharp jabbing of the unnatural. The tearing raw of my skin during weekly routines, and the endless waking and checking and measuring and eternal dripping of the life-giving liquids feels no longer a hope, but a taunting anchor or what used to be.
I hold tight the salty wet of my eyes until the dark refuge of my quilts, because sets of young bright eyes are looking, watching, being brave for me and hoping to find me brave too. Those faces are what give me war-blood to push back hard; to carve giant chunks of living that are difficult and excruciating, but to them are memories treasured. Today’s sorrow leaves me wondering what I have left to give, but just as the sun relentlessly continues to peer over the treetops to light each dark morning, I know night will bring a small refreshing, a renewing of strength, and a little more fuel to burn for each one more day.
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