Thursday, April 14, 2005

Fragile and Resilient Life

Our one-year-old spent the past three days in the Centennial ER and the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. Late last Friday night, she came down with a stomach virus, which--by Monday night--drained her of her fluids, her vitality, and her happy nature.

She was in bad, listless shape for most of the weekend, but in the span of about fifteen minutes on Monday night, her face seemed to shroud with a sunken-eyed, pallid, death-like mask. She was expelling much more fluid than she was taking in. We were alarmed and rushed her to the ER.

I had many sleepless hours at the hospital to reflect on the prospect of losing her. That prospect was underscored by so many other proximate losses. Her sickness momentarily stole her inquisitiveness, her wonder, her energy, her resistance, her verve. It rendered her the opposite of everything we knew her to be.

It was a hard thing to watch her struggle to hold herself up. It was unbearable to watch her being stuck with needles in vain attempts to find veins big enough to take blood or hold I.V.s. It was an arduous, awful wait for her to come back.

But come back she did. It was a relief to pick up our mended daughter yesterday and feel the full load of her return, the weight of her re-hydrated, rejuvenated body. It was good to once again have to strain to carry her.

Life is amazing in all its fragility and resilience. We didn't leave the difficult hours and days on the hospital floor when we left; we left pieces of ourselves as we departed with gratitude and haste for home.

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