Touchstone Blog

Echoes

This feels so much like it did when I was abruptly put on hospital bedrest nearly 24-years ago at 24-weeks pregnant with twins.


How bizarre to be hospitalized when I felt fine. Healthy. There was nothing actually wrong with me (apart from contractions every eight minutes that I couldn't feel.)


Ordered to bed. "Stay still. Don't get up."


Trying to avert disaster.


Waiting. Waiting.


How long could I hold off their birth? Endless days trying not to wonder. Sleepless nights realizing how absolutely impossible it is not to wonder. Not to worry.


So much waiting.


How bad would it be when they were born, far too early? Could my actions now prevent bigger disaster later?


Oh, yes. This reminds me so much of being on bedrest in preterm labor with those babies.


Back then and in the years since, this has been my deepest wish, my most fervent blessing:


Be boring.


Be. Boring.


Be. Boring.

I know that I am not the only one who has felt this, what we are all feeling now, before. Waiting. Wanting nothing more than to be boring to every doctor (and epidemiologist) that ever walked the earth.


Hoping for the best. Fearing the worst. Waiting for the inevitable to happen.


Eventually, those babies were born.


Yes, they were too early. Early, but blessedly just a little more boring than they might have been.


For you who have had family members struggle to breathe.


For you who know what it's like to listen to the thump of a ventilator, the rise and fall of a loved one’s chest as they struggle to take in enough air, you who are seasoned watchers of monitors and counters of breaths…


Please know that I know how much the stories about what this virus can do can evoke so much fear and anticipated loss.


It's not hypothetical when you know the layout of an ICU; when you know how to read the monitors and blood gases.


Even when you forget the details, the body remembers.


Yes, we are all facing uncertainty. However. Right here, right now, look around.


Dig your heels into the ground. Take a deep breath in and slowly let it out.


Aha. Breathing.


Listen to your kids shrieking in the background (shrieking means they can breathe). Fantastic.


Text your parents. Call your grandparents. Remind them to wash their hands.

Listen to them complain. Complaining means they can breathe. Outstanding.


Talk to your spouse or partner. Bicker, even. Yep. Breathing! Magnificent. Breathing.


Even when you forget the details, the body remembers.

When the body gets confused, remind it – we are in the year 2020. We are here and now, not back then when we would have done anything to breathe for the one who couldn’t breathe on their own.


We are doing everything we can NOW to prevent what couldn't have been prevented back then in the (N)ICU. Anything to not need that ventilator. Anything to breathe. (Yes, we. I'm talking to myself, too.)


Here, now. Today. Be present.


Breathe. Breathe, and be bored.


Be bored, and be boring, my friends. Be boring.

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