No Matter What

August 9, 2011
It felt like Déjà vu. I had been here before. This feeling had gone through me already. I thought the worry and hurt was done but once again I was sitting here – in a hospital – waiting.

Different members of my family were sitting around, all our minds deep in thought as we waited together. The room was full of orange leather couches smelling of rubbing alcohol and disinfectant. Although we were quiet, the subtle buzzing of the air conditioning and footsteps passing back and forth broke the eerie silence.

As I looked around the room, I saw the anxious looks upon my family’s faces; however, someone was missing. My Nonna was down the hall fast asleep. The doctors were working quickly on her weak, fragile body to help her escape the excruciating pain she was in.

Although I tried my hardest not to, the events of the past year subconsciously flowed into my mind. It had all started the Christmas Eve of that earlier year. Just like any other, we were eating dinner and talking about what had gone on earlier that day. One minute I was reaching for a freshly baked slice of bread and then the next I heard the worst words come out of my uncle’s mouth.

“Ma, are you alright?” he had said this with a nervous tone that made me look up quickly.

Her face had drooped and the fork she had been holding was now lying at her feet. The color of her skin went from a dark olive tone to the color of chalk. Every single person at that table was on their feet in seconds: my cousin was dialing an ambulance; my aunt and uncle were helping Nonna to the couch, my Nonno was standing by her side and I was frozen against the wall watching this tragedy unfold before my eyes. With my family in complete panic, I prayed for God to keep my Nonna safe.

Praying was once again the only thing I felt I was able to do on this separate night in the waiting room. With an unsettling feeling deep within me, I decided that I needed to take a walk to take the edge off my nerves and the situation off my mind.

Getting up from the couch, I exited the room of tension and started to make my way down a long corridor. With every door I passed went the sound of beeping machines and rustling of the nurses at work. Reaching the end of the hall brought me to the hospital gift shop. With some time to waste, I decided to take a look around. Teddy bears, cards and flowers lined the well organized shelves but hiding in a corner stood a case full of glass angels. My Nonna was the angel in my life. When I was younger she was always the one to take care of me if I was sick or to cheer me up when I was upset. I reached out for an angel; it felt smooth in my hand. While carrying the angel with me to the cashier, I realized that it was my turn to help her. It was time for me to be her angel.

I was making my way back to the waiting room when I made a wrong turn. After many more maze like turns I reached a sign that only had three letters on it. I – C – U. Those three letters sent my mind flinging back once more. After the extensive tests that followed the Christmas panic, my Nonna was diagnosed with an irregular heart condition. She was going to need open heart surgery which would take place in London. The pre-surgery nerves were expected but the day came and went without any problems; however, only one day into recovery it all started falling apart. My Nonna was having trouble breathing and her anxiety was not helping her in the recovery stage.

Back then I thought it would be a good idea to go in to see her and let her know that everything was going to be ok. Now, I wish that image, the picture etched into my memory for eternity, could be erased. That long nerve-racking approach to the intensive care unit was nothing once I saw her. My Nonna was hooked up to so many machines, each one holding an important task in her recovery. My first thought was to try figuring out what each machine did, but then I got a good look at her. She had a breathing tube in so she was unable to talk. She was different. She was weak. She was in pain. But what hurt the most was seeing the tears running down her face and watching her shake when she saw my face. She was worried for me. My Nonna was more worried about me seeing her this way than she was about herself. This sums up this remarkable woman perfectly. If you needed help, she was there. If you were upset, she would comfort you. It took all the strength in the world for me not to break down that very moment. The worried and scared look on her face ripped at my already thumping heart. I wanted to take that pain away for her. I wanted to make her better. But what hurt the most was knowing that there was absolutely nothing that I would be able to do except wait and hope for the best.

With all these thoughts running through my mind, I backed away from the sign and headed back towards the waiting room. Once I got back, the image I saw made my heart stop beating. The doctor was talking to my mom. I couldn’t make out the words the doctor was saying but it didn’t matter. The sound of rolling wheels was coming from behind me. With my heart finding its rhythm once again, I spun around and saw her. She was weak but the smile on her face made me feel ecstatic. She was ok.

After giving her a hug and a kiss, I moved away to let my family see her. I sat back down on that orange leather couch and just let my mind free itself from the strain of worry. That same smell of alcohol now held an association to the feeling of safety and strength. A weak laugh floated through the open door. I glanced over and watched my Nonna smile with what strength she had left. Once again she made it through. It felt like Déjà vu. I had been here before. This feeling had gone through me already. I wanted to be just like my Nonna, a strong, caring and loving woman who made sure to put her family first – no matter what.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Love.Hate.Passion. said...
Sept. 1, 2011 at 6:38 pm
This was so beautiful and well-written! Your nonna must be so proud of you <3
bellaitaliana replied...
Sept. 1, 2011 at 9:19 pm
Thank you so much. And ya she means alot to me and she cried when I read this to her.
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