Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hospital Tired

There is no tired like hospital tired.

It’s as if they pipe poppy juice in through the air conditioning vents.

There’s not a comfortable chair or bench in the place. But you don’t have much time to sit on them anyway, as you are constantly bending over the bed of your loved one at awkward angles. Your whole body aches in a hospital. Aches and aches and aches. At the end of the day, you feel beaten to a pulp. Time stands still, or progresses at a strangely warped pace.

And who the heck decorates these places??? Edvard Munch??? Endless halls of nihilistic nothingness, sordid sameness.

Against such bland backgrounds, violent vignettes of family drama play out. The unexpected crisis makes everything rise to the surface...unresolved anger, dysfunctional power plays, unreasonable expectations become sad factors in life-or-death decision-making. Those of us who’ve lived here for a while politely avert our eyes and pretend we don’t hear the screaming in various languages. But cell phones have made privacy nonexistent. A lady in the stall next to you berates a relative in graphic detail. I don’t want to know. The ugliness wears off on you. The fear is transferable.

As my physician father used to say, “A hospital is no place for a sick person.” Since keeping well is a full time job for me, it’s literally toxic.

Right now, it’s particularly so. In an effort the Russians would refer to as “Potemkinizing,”* the halls of the rehab unit are being repainted. (*A façade meant to fool the public.) We are all sick from the fumes. Everyone else at UCLA Med Center will be moving to the new structure (Ronald Reagan)on June 29, but we few sad souls in the neurology rehab unit will remain here in this archaic structure. It will probably feel like “Planet of the Apes” after the destruction of America. We will walk down miles of deserted halls until we finally arrive at our own Neverland, where we wave our hands and the doors magically open to a strange private universe.

Please don’t forget us then. It will be when we need you most.

We are so very wickedly tired.

Thank you for loving unconditionally and not judging. Please pray for true rest and renewal...and fresh fire.


(p.s. Things really aren’t that bad...I just get like this when I’m worn out. Remember the ‘venting’ comment in “About Me”...those well-accustomed to my clay feet know I just have to get it all out sometimes . Oh, and the people here are so wonderful that we don’t usually even notice the hospital setting at all...unless we're TIRED!!! We are extremely blessed to be here.)


Jessica Billings said...

Your writing is so descriptive and vivid... I can really picture where you're living and I can see why it would be physically and emotionally draining! I can't believe how long it's been already, and it sounds like it will be a long road ahead of you. We definitely won't forget you in prayer and in our thoughts. I honestly think about you and your family daily (multiple times) and am continuously checking your blog for new words of wisdom and to see how you're holding up. I'll be praying for renewal and that "fresh fire" that you desperately need. I love this verse in Matthew when I'm feeling emotionally exhausted:

Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”

Tenille Rauls said...

As someone who has worked in those halls for many years I have seen and felt your description so many times. It is unjust how accurate it really is...May the God of peace, strength, comfort, and love surround and renew your wings so you may mount up like an He says He will do. In Him~

Amy said...

I am a friend of a friend of Katherine's and have had your family on my heart and in my prayers so many times over the last few months.
I can't imagine how you are feeling, but I pray that the words in Jeremiah will be true for you.
I pray He will do this for you.
Jeremiah 31:25 "I'll refresh tired bodies; I'll restore tired souls."
He promises...

Ginny said...

When this horrible thing happened to Katherine, I was in the middle of a long week on an uncomfortable chair beside my Mother's hospital bed near Seattle. I was there from dawn to dusk and each night when I went back to her home to sleep, I felt like I had been pulled through a knothole backwards or hit by a truck. That was only 7 days. I can't imagine 3 months of a constant bedside vigil plus the fact that she's your child. I'm so sorry you are all going through this bone tiring trial. You are all in our thoughts and prayers constantly.

Glenn and I are attending General Assembly in San Jose this week. We attended a dinner tonight where the new moderator candidates were introduced. It was open seating so we chose a table near the front. There was only one other couple sitting there when we sat down. The woman noticed we were from Athens GA and asked if we were from First Presbyterian Church. The woman told us that she was a pastor at Bel Air Presbyterian Church (at this point you could've knocked me over with a feather) and she began talking about Katherine. It reminded me of your post on providence because this was no coincidence. Her name is Rev Care Crawford (what a great name!)We had a wonderful conversation with her and her husband, about the support and constant presence of friends and family, The Romans 8 movement, and the lack of medical explanation for Katherine's amazing progress. We were absolutely blown away by this amazing providential meeting. It's not something that I'll ever forget.

May God bless you all!

Ginny Doak

madamekillina said...

Edna St. Vincent Millay

Be to her, Persephone,
All the things I might not be:
Take her head upon your knee.
She that was so proud and wild,
Flippant, arrogant and free,
She that had no need of me,
Is a little lonely child
Lost in Hell,--Persephone,
Take her head upon your knee:
Say to her, "My dear, my dear,
It is not so dreadful here."

I hope this offers some comfort, Kim--my prayers are with you.

wrj said...


We will not forget you and your family. I check your blogs every morning before checking my email.

I think that when your life returns to "normal" you should consider putting all your blogs together in a devotion book. You have helped me face the trails I am going through with one of my kids. More than once I have been so comforted by your words. By you sharing your up and down emotions, you let me know it's okay to have these feelings. I think to myself, if Kim can keep on with Katherine's struggle, I can keep on with mine (which is very minor).

I wish there was some way I could comfort you they way you encourage me. I think I book of your blogs and maybe comments left by others would encourage many others.

Praying for you all the time,

becky weber said...

Kim -
You do not know me on this earth but I am a sister in Christ in Washington DC. Your son-in-law's father was my pastor here in Virginia for several years and baptized me. I heard about Katherine's situation through a friend who also attended First Baptist Alexandria and now lives in Tallahassee. God's family and its connections are wide indeed.

I have been moved deeply since I first heard about Katherine a day or two after her surgery. I have been praying for her to have complete healing. God has put her on my heart and I find myself whispering little silent prayers for her throughout the day. I pray she is feeling the power of God's kingdom all over the world lifting her up and all of you as well.

I just discovered your blog yesterday and read through the entire thing. I want you to know that I have been blessed by a sister sharing her suffering. I hope it doesn't make you feel uncomfortable that someone you never met is reading such intimate thoughts but in God's world, we are sisters already so I pray it's OK. We will meet someday if not on this side of heaven, in heaven.

I just wanted to share a thought from our pastor's sermon today that might encourage you. The sermon was on dealing with tragedy - how do we lament as Christians in the midst of pain and evil in this world? And God certainly promises that we will lament. I thought of Katherine as he walked us through "Lamentations" and summed up the five chapters with "We mourn with hope". It's OK to wail and cry out to God - the Bible is full of that - but the difference in the Christian is she does it with "God's conjunctions" at the end - but, yet, although, however, . . . we rest in His promises that He is God and promises to never leave us and to use all things for good. Your blog is full of those conjunctions and examples of God reminding you of his presence even when your hearts are breaking. So thank you for being real and sharing in the way you have. I think it is all part of His plan.

Carry on dear sister and carry on dear Katherine -
Much love and God Bless
Becky Weber
Falls Church, Virginia

nancy said...

Kim -

Someone has twice suggested taking Katherine out into the sunshine. I second that motion, especially now as a respite to the paint fumes.

Love from another Dr. Nancy
whom you have not met

linde said...

Lord I pray today for healing in the deepest places of the souls of this sweet family. Not for patches, but for True healing. God transcend time and circumstance. We love You, we choose You, and we trust You.