In a desperate moment

My instinct takes me to the family room where she is sitting. Her red face has a voice of its own. The one thing I am dreading the most sends my heart beating out of my chest and a rush of heat to my face. My 12-year-old daughter has just swallowed a large number of pills. Her depressive state has been apparent for over two years. Feeling weaker by the day, she is no longer able to get on with her life.  Burdened by extreme anxiety and fatigue, this is another attempt to end her suffering. The system, it appears, doesn’t know what to do. The lights are turned off.

It takes me seconds to drag her out into the cold air of the winter without a coat. My memory skips over to the line-up at the emergency room. Ironically, the parents are standing calmly with their children and that bothers me – my heart is racing.  As I rush to the front of the line, feeling like I am going to explode, the young woman at the triage ignores our presence. It doesn’t matter that I am begging for help and that the man standing before her with his child moves aside in response to my agony. Finally, without looking up, the woman tells me to wait as some people have arrived before us and I reply: “But you have to understand, there is a window…”  The situation is a nightmare. Seconds later, I am yelling out of despair, feeling totally helpless. My body is fighting  to jump out of its own skin and I am literally going out of my mind. I walk to a chair in the adjoining corridor, leaving my daughter standing there on her own among the quiet parents and their children. Sitting, I hold my head in my hands and weep out loud like a little child with a badly scratched knee.  A caring stranger puts his hand on my shoulder and, standing in a demeanor that feels like that of the husband I do not have, tells me not to worry, that she is going to be OK.

The words cause me to stand and gather myself. My daughter is out of sight. I ask where my child is but the young woman brushes me off again, mumbling that someone has taken her.  As I finally enter the treatment room, the scene before me is paralyzing. With the innate and accurate perspective of everything that transpires from my progeny,  I see her lying there in a little yellow gown, her porcelain skin more transparent than ever, her big blue eyes empty of her own self, and her long dark hair making her tiny body appear even smaller. My child is void of expression – like she has to keep quiet, feeling misunderstood, unhappy, and threatened by the system. She holds back from crying with every painful intervention – like she deserves to hurt. The ER doctor asks me how many pills and my answer causes her to reply “that is exaggerated”.  But once the truth is exposed, she tells me that if my daughter makes it, she will most likely be on dialysis for the rest of her life. Her words are harsh, she doesn’t understand. Void of apology, she goes on pretending she never said the cruel words. Now, I am on the outside, standing as a stranger, secretly hoping for God to take my sweet child and release her from the pain that no one is able to manage. Still she lies there, fighting, her eyes watery with circles growing dark underneath, her insides crawling out of her from the effect of the overdose, her little fingernails black from the charcoal and still I am standing on the outside, watching like a stranger. The loads of linen on the large shelves are continuously being replaced, without a word employees slowly enter, exit, and repeat the task. No one says anything. Only the two-hour window will tell.

When the deadline is reached, my daughter’s time isn’t up. It feels like a miracle. but it still hurts. The scars serve as a reminder that any child’s desperate call for help should never be taken lightly. The lights need to be kept on at all times.


6 thoughts on “In a desperate moment

  1. (((hugs to you))) Sorry you have had to go through such an horrendous event like this. Your pain, contrasted against the sterile hospital setting is palatable. Strength to you my new found friend.

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  3. “Freshly Pressed” by me. The post that kept swirling in my head this week. This breaks my heart and is written in a way that your audience is right there with you at every agonizing second. Oh, what you must have gone through. I can understand this from your daughter’s perspective. I got so close to this point myself that when I had a “home,” I always had a typed letter in the top drawer of my bureau stating, among other things, that “I did this” and “I didn’t want to suffer and be in physical pain anymore.” I figured it would be weeks before anyone found me as I’m so isolated down here.

    This may sound trivial, but my cat–who is an amputee and the love of my life–kept me from going over the edge. She got sick at the worst of it. I had always promised my stray cat that I’d watch after her and since she had gotten sick too, and no one would want an older, 3-legged cat–how could I leave her to die? So, I made it through for her. There have been many dark years along my journey, as well. You are not alone–it’s just that no one talks about such matters.

    It scares me to think of what could have happened if you weren’t home that day. I think one day your blog will lead to a novel. Your story is extraordinary and you tell it so well.

    • Thank you. 🙂 And yes it was scary but then it’s strange how a mother always has this instinct – I have a hard time leaving my daughter. It’s like I just know – and that day was no different.

      Regarding your cats, when my daughter started getting sick, I bought her a dog. But then it was so bad the dog would keep away from her in her worse moments. But the dog was what kept me going…. or perhaps more like what kept me from going out of my mind.

      Last August, I got an Indian ringneck for my daugher so to give her the “gift” of caring for a little creature that would depend totally on her and that would reward her with words she would teach it. She’s totally in love with him and I think she would think twice before ending her life now. This all makes sense doesn’t it? Animals give and take nothing away from us – it’s love all the way and it’s unconditional. 🙂 Makes me feel wonderful to hear from you as always.

  4. Mother’s intuition. Glad you have that. 🙂

    The pet makes perfect sense! I find my cat to be so therapeutic and I have to be well enough in body and mind so I can take care of her. I’ve always been close with animals and don’t “get” people who don’t like pets. My cat (Moush Moush) also makes up for the lack of affection I got from my mother (not what you have going on!). I smother her with kisses and we have “long talks” all the time… Lol! Only bad thing is I’m allergic to her. Sounds like your daughter’s pet bird is offering the same benefit. Wonderful! This is when I think there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. 🙂

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