What’s your name? Katharine. How old are you? 36. Where are you? Riverside Methodist Hospital. Good, here’s your Ativan.
I spent long hours looking out my hospital window at the traffic on the DVP below. Crawling, crawling. So many red taillights. Does the traffic in Toronto ever stop? Wow, I’m so glad we don’t live there anymore. . .
Wait. That doesn’t make sense. We don’t live in Toronto anymore, do we? How am I looking at the Don Valley Parkway? I knew it wasn’t right, but that didn’t stop me from telling everyone that this was Toronto and that I was looking at the DVP.
“I just heard you tell the nurse where you are. You know this is Columbus and that highway out your window is the 315, not the DVP,” Matt would say in frustration. I would nod in agreement and go back to staring at the DVP.
Today is May 11, 2014. It’s Mother’s Day in the U.S. and Canada. In 2012, Mother’s Day fell on May 13th, but I will write about it today because it is on my mind. Mother’s Day is always Sunday, so Matt would have taken the boys to mass before coming to see me. My mom and stepdad were probably already there since we had sent my grandfather home. In walked Matt, followed by three little boy ducklings and I remember trying to pull myself out of wherever I was. These are my boys. Talk to them.
Don’t tell them about how they keep moving my room. Don’t tell them that I woke up at the gas station. Don’t tell them that Matt’s Irish cousin is my nurse and that she’s plotting to steal them away from me since I am an unfit mother now. Don’t tell them about the monsters.
I can’t imagine what it was like to go visit Frankenmommy on Mother’s Day. I hope I was lucid enough to fake it through a brief visit. I may have even been with it enough to remark that I was sorry to have missed my middle son singing during mass, which the preschoolers always do on Mother’s Day. I hope someone remembered to give my mother something from us since she would have been right there. If not, thankfully, we have many years to make up for it.
Matt and the boys gave me two things for Mother’s Day that year: a bracelet with the boys’ birthstones as charms: aquamarine, diamond and emerald for my March, April and May babies. I couldn’t wear it at the time because of the IV. I also got a Kindle Fire. Matt loaded it with Netflix and Facebook and hooked it up to the hospital Wifi. He wanted me to watch it, to do anything other than stare out the window at the Toronto skyline that was not the Toronto skyline. In theory, the Kindle Fire should have been easy for me to use even with only one working hand (the other, if you remember, was curled up useless against my chest). He would load up a show, give it to me and I would watch, but when he left, I couldn’t make it work.
I had the same problem with the cell phone, my little not-so-smartphone with the slider keyboard capable of calls and texts and not much else. Matt would charge it, make sure all of the contacts were right and then give it to me. He would, just in case the battery died, also make sure I knew how to dial out on the clunky land line next to my bed. He wrote all of the numbers and how to dial out of the hospital on the whiteboard in my room.
Inevitably, though, I would get anxious in the middle of the night, reach for my phone and it wouldn’t work. Then, I would reach for the land line and it wouldn’t work either. What the hell is wrong with this place? Why won’t they let me dial out? When Matt reads this, he will disagree. “But you called me like eleven million times!” Maybe, but I TRIED to call you fourteen million times!
Obviously, it wasn’t the Kindle. It wasn’t the cell phone. It wasn’t the land line. It was me. It was my broken brain that couldn’t figure out how to take the information on the whiteboard in front of me and apply it to the technology in my hand. Reconnecting with technology took me a long time. All through Rehab, I avoided it. It gave me a headache and made my eyes hurt.
About the only thing I could still do, was text and even that was a mess. My friend Karla was the recipient of most of my texts. When I got to Rehab and was more myself, I noticed she was in my contacts list seven times. Karla, Karla, Karla, Karla, Karla, Karla, Karla. I will do an entire entry on “texts to Karla” in a few days. After reading this, I’m sure lots of my other friends will be coming forward with crazy texts I sent them, too.
And now, because it is Mother’s Day 2014, I am going to get off of the technology I have remastered and spend some time with my little ducklings.