I Thought I Knew

It's been quiet here at thenegativespace.

The absence of new content has nothing to do

with a lack of ideas. 

Quite the contrary.


Exactly one week ago,

my husband

complained of stomach pains

began vomiting.

The pain increased.


I knew it was bad

when he agreed to go to the ER.


As we waited for our turn in the ER lobby,

he collapsed from his wheelchair,

crumpled to the floor,

a rumply pile

of the man I love,

legs tangled

in the feet of the chair.

Regaining consciousness

but not strength

he vomited on the floor.

This is one way to get moved to the top of the list.


This event led to seven days in the hospital.


Low blood pressure.

Possible sepsis.

Moment of unresponsiveness that led to a code being called.

30 doctors rushing to his room.

Tubes added to his throat.

Fast pass to the ICU.

Electrodes attached to his scalp.

Heart being monitored.

Every type of scan, image, test done.


And at the end of seven days,

we were sent home


zero explanations

for the things that occurred,

only traumatic




that will last forever.


This week I was no ordinary caregiver.

(Not that there is such a thing. Each one of us is a Superhero dressed in snarky t-shirts with unwashed hair.)

I was a

"Something's not right,"

"Someone help NOW,"

"I'm right here with you. You are safe,"

"You're not leaving this room until you figure this out,"

"Get him more pain meds,"

"I'm not going anywhere. I'm right here."

"I'll do the talking, you leave him alone,"

"Page them again,"

"You are loved. You're going to be okay."

Sleep in the hospital every.single.night

kind of caregiver.


Now we are home.

Exactly one week later.

And I have much to process.

Seven days ago,

I thought I knew what "caregiving" meant.

I thought I had seen and experienced trauma.

I thought I had felt fear and uncertainty.

I thought I had seen my husband in the most unbelievable medical circumstances.

Turns out,

I had only scratched the surface.

Chronological images from Emergency Room to first inpatient room, to ICU, to second inpatient room, to discharge.