When I got to the hospital in Edmonton, Cid’s uncle was there. He had driven from central British Columbia on the request of Cid’s mother who was still in Lethbridge. His creased and worried face had me on full alert as he met me outside Cid’s room. I shook his hand and told him who I was and why I was there. He tried to tell me what the doctor’s had thought had happened, but his heavy Italian accent made it hard for me to understand at first. He informed me that they were going to operate the next morning and try to remove the brain tumor. No one knew what the outcome would be. Shaking my head in understanding I went to enter the room, but his uncle put out his hand to stop me.
“Don’t be surprised by Cid’s condition when you get in there. He has lost his ability to speak English and doesn’t recognize anyone.”
I stared at him in disbelief. It had been less than a week since we had been lying together on the bed in my guestroom and listening to talk shows. How could this have happened in so short a time?
Taking a deep breath I entered the darkened room and went to stand beside his bed. His eyes were closed and a frown creased his forehead as if he was in deep thought. The room was darkened because the light affected him and I could barely see him in the gloom. Taking his hand I bent over and gently called his name. He opened his eyes and looked at me, but I knew he didn’t recognize me at all. It was absolutely obvious in the look he gave me and then the one he gave his uncle. Neither of us registered. I held his hand and felt how cool and smooth his skin was, but he didn’t respond at all when I gave it a small squeeze. Instead he withdrew it quickly and tucked it back under the covers, and my heart hurt.
Cid closed his eyes and drifted back to sleep as I stood beside his bed and watched him. After a while his uncle and I both went to stand outside the room to decide what to do. His uncle had arrived earlier and was tired from his long drive. I insisted he go and get some sleep as there was no way I was going to be leaving Cid alone. After giving me a great hug he gave his nephew one last look and left while I pulled up a chair and settled myself in for the wait.
Sometime in the night I woke suddenly and found myself in a strange room, sleeping in an uncomfortable chair. Once I oriented myself, I soon realized what had woken me. Cid was out of bed and standing in a corner talking to himself. I couldn’t understand a word he said but it was obvious that he was upset. The sound of him peeing into the corner got my attention and I sprinted for the nurse’s station. We all entered the room at once and a nurse tried to get Cid’s attention and failed, so all we could do was wait until he had relieved himself. Out of nowhere a janitor arrived with a mop and cleansers and while he cleaned up the corner, the nurses got Cid back into bed. He was so agitated and confused, and I knew he felt completely alone with no one there who could understand what he was saying. I felt helpless as I watched him thrash around in his bed and babble at us all. A nurse came with a hypodermic and in a few minutes he was settling back and calming down. While all of us were relieved, I could still feel his anguish and my own and I sat in the chair for the rest of that long night and watched this beautiful man that I loved so very much.
In the early morning hours they came and got him and wheeled him away to the operating room. A nurse came in and packed all his belongings and I had a horrible thought that they didn’t expect him to live. Instead she said that he would be going to another unit once the surgery was over with and that his clothes would be there when he arrived.
I went off to the cafeteria and tried to eat as I thought of them cutting into Cid’s skull and messing about in there. I was terribly afraid of what they would find and could barely get down my breakfast of fruit and tea. Afterwards I went to the unit where he would be transferred and checked to see if he was back from surgery yet. They smiled and said it would be a long wait and I went and sat in the lounge and tried to occupy my mind with the magazines that were strewn about. I haven’t a clue what I read that day, but eventually Cid’s uncle arrived and the two of us kept each other company as we checked the minute hand on the clock constantly. The longer we waited, the more worried both of us became although neither wanted to show it. I wrung my hands constantly until they ached but it was a welcome pain to distract me from the wait.
When the doors burst open and Cid’s gurney came through, I was up and striding towards him when he turned and looked my way. The smile that spread across his face hit my heart and made it glow. What he said next brought tears to my eyes and I wasn’t ashamed to let him see them.
“Hi Sunshine! What are you doing here?”