Think of the souls you'll save

While we were at the hospital, Mom asked me why I volunteered to turn my days and nights around so that I could stay up with Dad during the night. It was hard to explain why, exactly, but it had something to do with contrary nature and my need for solitude. When I tried to explain this to Mom, I think it all came out wrong, but I eventually managed to maneuver my words into the direction they needed to go: "It's not that I don't want to see the friends and family that come to see Dad during the day. It's that I just do better when it's just Dad and me."

Her "I don't understand but I'll take that weird answer and run with it" shrug told me all I needed to know. I've never claimed to be anything but the oddball of the family. Not a black sheep, but perhaps a grey sheep. Or a paisley sheep. Not rebellious; just different.

The nocturnal daughter

They knew me as the night shift for my family; the nocturnal daughter who stayed up at night in order to force her mother to get a few hours of sleep.

This was the tenth floor, the top floor, the no-man's-land. The cancer ward. Oncology, for those who knew the term. Well-hidden above such popular destinations such as the maternity and intensive-care floors, it was not a floor one journeyed to randomly.Even during the daytime, it was quiet. On most of the floors of the hospital, rooms marked "Oxygen In Use" were the exception. Here, they were the rule.

Those people journeying up to the tenth floor were more likely to talk to each other, more likely to be carrying suitcases. One, a careworn blond woman toting an overnight bag, gave me a compassionate look and asked, "Who are you here for?"

"My father. You?"

"My mother. Will he go home?" she asked quietly.

"No. Will your mother?"

"I don't think so." She looked down.

delirium in huntsville, part IV

Hi. My name is Amy, and I seem to have a major problem staying well this winter.

I appear to have caught the same stomach bug that Heather caught. So much for my promise of a Wednesday night update—I spent most of Wednesday night praying to the porcelain god. It got bad enough (fever of 101, bits of blood coming up) that we got to make an emergency visit to the hospital in the wee hours of Thursday morning.

We got there, and they did some tests on me to determine how dehydrated I was. When lying down, my heart rate was very fast and my blood pressure was around 110/80. When I stood up, my heart rate accelerated even more (to somewhere around 135 bpm?), but my blood pressure dropped to 90/60.The end result: IV time.