parenting

broken

“I’m falling apart

I’m barely breathing

With a broken heart

That’s still beating . . . .”

“Broken” by Lifehouse

She kept opening her eyes in a panic, and choking on the tube that was down her esophagus, and I’d try to calm her down by stroking her hair or her shoulder. Then, she would close her eyes, and the machine breathing for her would start beeping, indicating that she wasn’t breathing on her own.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Every five minutes. Or less.

The blood on her face  dried into a crusty substance, nearly red-black, around her nose. Her arms had flailed about so badly after the emergency room staff put in the IV, that it pulled the needle out and blood would start rushing out of her arm, spotting the bedclothes and her gown.

They neglected to insert the catheter soon enough, so the sheets had to be changed soon after arrival.

I sat at her bedside, staring at her face. Waiting.

I wanted to ask what happened. I wanted to know why. I wanted to know what she’d taken. I wanted to know the reason. I wanted her to wake up.

My husband found a suicide note, written to her ex-boyfriend. About how it wasn’t his fault. That she just wasn’t “for this world.” Not a single word to anyone else.

I tried to ignore the machine’s mechanical breathing sound, which consisted of a tiny flap and whir, and a breathy darth vader hum. The beeping made me want to crawl out of my skin at first, because all I could think was: she’s not breathing; if you can’t breathe, you die.

The weight of that thought started to dissapate as the beeps moved further apart.

I asked the nurse when they thought she would come off of it. The nurse said, “When she starts breathing on her own.”

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