Silent White Walls

August 20, 2010
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Whenever I think of hospitals I see the color white; white, like pristine or maybe just blank. It’s haunting, all those long hallways, all the sick people, all of the doctors walking around, all those feelings that take over once a hospital is entered. Hospitals are also usually quite quiet and whatever noise they do produce isn’t the noise that wants to be heard.

I can’t stand the quiet. It’s like a punishment to me. I need some form of sound or else my mind begins to wander and if it doesn’t get stopped my thoughts get so far off that I don’t want to follow them into their winding paths of disturbance. My thoughts can be all over the place and when it’s quiet enough they take over everything. They wrap themselves around my mind and control it with their concepts of typically unpleasant things. And in the silence of hospitals it seems like the thoughts are at their worst, like the long white and blank walls allow themselves to become canvases for their paintings of doubts and sorrows. I fear the thoughts I think in that place of illness and injury.

I willingly went; I could’ve said no, I could’ve done other things, but I had to see you. But that was the thing; my momma told me how serious all of this was. I wouldn’t look at the pictures of your brutalized car, but I had got a glimpse of them from a distance and that was enough to send my stomach into a few bad flips and my heart to pick up its speed. And still I had chosen to see you.

After sitting in a quiet waiting room with my sister for longer than I really wanted to, my momma told me that it was okay to see you. They had taken out your breathing-tube, which meant your lungs were progressing, but that has nothing to do with your brain. And, my hopes were advised not to rise; anything could happen, and this long road had only just begun.

I felt my heart pick up and my thoughts began to trace their patterns on the passing white walls. I wasn’t so sure about anything. With each step closer to you, I wanted to bound five back. It’s not that I don’t love you, it’s the opposite; I love you so much that I didn’t want to have to see you lying in a hospital bed covered by those white and scratchy sheets.

I wasn’t sure what you’d look like, to be honest I didn’t know what to expect at all. I had my wandering thoughts to guess away for me though, and even though each picture they imagined up was horrible the actual sight of you was worse, because it made it all real.

That’s why I had to go; it wouldn’t sink in at all. My mind, though pessimistic, seems to have trouble with accepting bad news, it never quite sinks in. I needed a way to let myself know that this was happening, because without a wakeup call I would be subconsciously denying it all, no matter how many times I was told. My mind seems to shut down when it receives bad news, it refuses to work because working would mean reality and reality would mean the bad, my mind wants the good to come back to shut it on.

As we rounded the last sharp corner, I could already see you lying there and, if it were visible or not, I winced and shuddered. Reality was starting to seep into my mind, and if not controlled it would be able to wire itself to my imagination and make those twisted patterns on the blank walls get even crazier with their winding and unthinkable thoughts.

We had to sanitize our hands before actually entering your little room. I was trying to lead my mind in other directions so I focused on this small and annoying task. The sanitizer came out in a much larger amount then needed and took extra long to rub dry into my slightly shaking hands. I laughed with my sister for a second about the sanitizer, just stalling before entering to see you. I can’t even describe such laughing; it wasn’t at something funny or anything, it was just a way to appear to be okay and to try to be okay, a way to try to distract my pessimistic thoughts. I could hear my momma talking quietly to you and then my stepdad, your father, made the motion that it was time to enter.

My heart picked up again, and it came to my attention once more that I hate hospitals, even if the medical field interests me, it’s different when you’re not the one in the scrubs. So I took a few unsteady and barely guided steps into the room. My eyes of course fell onto you. The bed was tilted up so that you were close to a seated position, but not quite. I had quickly averted my eyes to my momma who was studying me, seeing what reaction I would execute upon seeing you. I wasn’t even sure of my reaction. But if I had to sum it up somehow I would have to say that fear is what took center stage when the spotlight of reality had fluttered on.

I turned back to you. I saw you moving your legs around as though you were uncomfortable, which wouldn’t be a far-fetched guess. I took note of your bright and sparkly nail polish inhabiting your toe nails. The same color was on your finger nails, minus the sparkly top coat. You were in one of those hospital gowns, the colors looked good on you, but no one would’ve wanted you to be wearing it, we all just wanted to go back to where it all started and stop time to make sure you’d make it home safe and sound. Your hair was pulled back and was an absolute mess. My mind began its wandering again. It wanted to know what you were thinking before it all went black and you were separate from the world in the worst kind of way. I thought about this and decided it was too much to handle.

My sister had already taken your one hand and was able to say hi. I felt frozen; I suddenly didn’t want to console you at all. You were finally awake, but of course completely out of it. I couldn’t find it in me to even speak to you, something in me just shut down and told me to leave. But obviously I was staying.

Finally I had made it to the other side of the bed and I slowly reached my hand out to yours. Upset and suddenly scared, I only lightly touched your hand; it couldn’t even be considered a hand holding. You seemed so fragile in that bed and in that room. I looked around a little. I didn’t like the giant contraption that held multiple machines that were all connected to your body somewhere. It displayed your heart rate, blood pressure and other such things in that dull green color, just like you see on TV shows or movies. Your heart rate was in the nineties. The machines frightened me in a way I don’t understand.

Sitting in silence, I just rubbed my thumb over your soft skin. You had the smallest of scabs from the smallest of cuts located in a few places on your hand, but I knew the most severe injury was with your brain.

You had a large brace keeping your neck straight and the brace was affecting the position of the oxygen mask that covered your mouth and nose. It looked uncomfortable and I resented the fact that you had to deal with such small annoyances when much larger things were taking place in your body. You just needed to get better.

I kept thinking about how you told me I was your favorite stepsister. It made me feel guilty for not consoling you and just letting my fears selfishly take over my actions. But I had no idea what to think while I was examining you. My momma told me your car had be sent into the air and flipped around a few times. Although I did not wish it to, my mind had tried to make a small movie of this in my head. I saw your small white car flying and you rattling inside. It made me want to cry to just think about that. I’m not sure how Nemo turned out perfectly fine. He’s such a cute little dog and this wreck had proved him invincible.

I kept thinking about your thoughts. You most likely don’t even remember what had gone through your mind as your car went through the destruction. Do you know you were trapped in that car for six hours until they found you; at least that’s what momma told me. I had my doubts that you even knew who I was.

The only noises were your machines, the TV, and my momma who spoke a few times. But other than that it was silent. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t know what to feel. I still just don’t know.

I watched as my momma hung up pictures on your wall. The majority of them are from her and your daddy’s wedding. We all looked so pretty that day, even after we had shed those happy tears probably smearing our makeup. It was a small ceremony but it was a big part of all of our lives. Can you even remember that? There was a picture of you making a silly face, total Kodak moment. I gave the picture a small smile and felt it fade as I thought about that possibility that we would never have the same old Sara back.

You’re in the rehab place now, as you will be for at least two weeks. They say that in a few weeks you should know who you are and not forget it in the next five minutes, but there will also be things that will take much longer to regain. Momma took a leave of absence so she can take care of you when you’re out of the rehab and you come to live with us. You will need to be accompanied at all times for as long as necessary and no one knows how long that could be, it could even be for the rest of your life.

At the moment you are still quite confused. Apparently you tried to wash your hands with toothpaste and that makes me want to lose it. I don’t want to see you go through this, but I need to be supportive of you, because you need all of us.

I have comprehended the seriousness of TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury, but I have not yet been able to completely get myself to believe that it is actually happening to you.

It could be better. Those were just my feelings at the moment i wrote it. Sara is very much healthy now. :P

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