Monday, August 18, 2008
'The Man' Tales - Oh Cid
How well I remember that next day.
Cid’s mother left me alone and looked at me differently that next day. I felt differently inside – more powerful – more secure – and I know it was because Cid had made a stand for me and I had made my stand for him. But in the end I was too busy and worried to pay too much attention to her.
I spent the day worrying about Cid’s oxygen levels. I could see by the little monitor that I attached to his finger that his blood oxygen levels were very low. I tried everything I could to raise them but by the evening I was worried enough to call into the hospital help line. After explaining the situation and giving the nurse the reading I was getting on the monitor – she sent an ambulance.
Cid was almost embarrassed when the paramedics arrived and loaded him onto the gurney and he tried to make a joke about it all, but he could hardly breathe and talking was getting to be a major effort. His mother was off in the corner of the living room wailing into her brother’s shoulder as I smiled and stood beside Cid and tried to give him some of my strength. I kissed him hard before they wheeled him out the front door, then grabbed my keys and followed the ambulance.
They took Cid into emergency and I sat on a chair while the medical staff did their thing. I tried to stay out of the way so they wouldn’t trip over me, but I also wanted to be as close to Cid as I could. He lay on that gurney and I could see the resignation on his face and I wanted to scream – fight! fight! fight! I did inside – over and over.
As the evening wore on, the medical staff bustled about less hurriedly and the room almost became quiet. I pulled up my chair and laid my head against Cid and he stroked my hair and the back of my neck like he had always done. I told him I loved him and he told me the same thing. And we waited.
I waited for a miracle. I couldn’t give up hope that Cid would somehow beat this. I couldn’t.
As night came around I was afraid that if I didn’t take my medication that I might go into withdrawals and then I wouldn’t be any help at all. Once I had taken it though I became drowsy and I nodded off and on as I lay with my head on Cid’s chest. A doctor came in and asked me to move my chair so he could have a look at Cid and I was forced to move back against the wall. It was cold and lonely there and I was so sleepy. Through the fog in my head I heard the doctor talking to Cid.
“Mr. Marchesich? You know you’re dying don’t you? There is nothing we can do for you. I’m sorry.”
I can’t forget those words. They haunt me. Always.
After the doctor left they moved Cid to a private room and someone called his mother and uncle. I walked beside the gurney as they wheeled him off to that room and held his hand and smiled at him. I tried so hard not to cry, but I knew I was going to miss him for the rest of my life.
His mother and uncle arrived and I refused to give up my spot on Cid’s right side. His uncle stood beside me and his mother was on the other side of the gurney. Cid’s breathing was harsh and painful and it filled the room. I kept a watch on the oxygen monitor until a nurse came in and saw what I was doing. She unclipped it off his finger and wrapped the cord around the little machine and took it away. She avoided the panicked look in my eyes as I watched her, knowing I had to see how he was doing – trying to spare me that moment.
Cid had acknowledged his mother and uncle when they came into the room, but he had then focused on taking each laboured breath after that. I held his hand and thrilled at each little weak squeeze he gave me. I was so scared but I didn’t want him to know it and I would lean over and whisper in his ear and tell him I loved him. He would squeeze my hand – again.
I was watching his face when he took his last breath. He seemed to hold it. Then he let it go.
In the quiet that echoed around the room, I laid my head down on his hand and felt the warmth go out of it and out of my heart. Between one beat and the next, I heard my heart break and I could feel the shattered pieces flying off into the four corners of the universe in search of Cid's heart as it winged it's way to a place of peace with mine not wanting to be left behind. Left alone to face the future forever without him. Without his hand in mine, without the words of love on his lips, or shining from his soft brown eyes. With only the little gold hearts touching each other and pressing up against my breast. Forever.
Like now – I sobbed.