Sunday, June 21, 2009


During the accident and the six long days after, there was this huge feeling of helplessness.
I could not do anything to make things better.
Everything was beyond me.
Beyond my control.  
God knows I do not do well in those situations.

I could not eat.
I did not want anything to drink.
For six days, I did a lot of sitting.
A lot of thinking.
A lot of standing over Roger with nothing to do for him.

I did talk to him.
I did journal what had happened so he could read later.
[Which I am pretty sure I destroyed because it made me angry that he would never read it.]
I took a few pictures of him so he could see how far he came later.
[Which were deleted.]
I did ask about his bowel movements and his blood glucose level because I know about those things.
I did stand next to him and hold his hand.  
But there was nothing else I could do.
I could barely talk or listen to my friends.
I do not even remember most of the conversations I had with my friends and family during these six days.  
I do not even remember every person that came and I know a lot of people came.  

And then everyone was asking me what they could do.
What did I need.
God, I did not know.  
I needed Roger to be better.  
I needed Roger to be fixed.
I needed to wake up and find out it was all a dream.

But there was one small thing.  
Roger was on a ventilator.  
The tubing went down his mouth into his lungs so his mouth was hanging open.
His lips had become so chapped and dry.
So when one of my nursing friends asked me what they could do for me, I asked for chapstick.  
It was the only thing I could do for my husband to make him better.  
Fucking chapstick.

Since she is a wonderful person and friend, she brought it to me.
She brought me about three different kinds.
I am not even sure she knew it was not for me.  
But I took it in with me during the next set of visiting hours.
And I carefully applied chapstick to his lips.  
I had his nurses put a label on it and left it in his room.
Every time I went in to see him, I applied more.  

Of all the care being done to him, it was the only thing I could do.  
And it did not even matter in the end.
My one little thing did not even matter at the end of the six days.  
Yes, it was good of me to think of it.  
Blah blah blah.
But he still died.
I did not fix him.
I did not contribute to his fixing.  
I was still helpless.  


netekay said...

That feeling of helplessness still haunts me a year and two months later. David died at home, in bed, as I tried to do CPR, and all I could think about was that he was naked and I really should have put underwear on him before the paramedics arrived.

It is like our mind goes somewhere else to protect us from what we are going through. Don't feel bad or ashamed. It is all part of the grieving process.


Ann said...

They expose him –
They must. . .
To probe
To stick
To hurt
To help . . .

His body is no longer his,
Nor mine.
But it is holy and sacred
And they try to be gentle, modest.

They will restore life and health…I will trust
Let them do,
What they must. . . .

Vienna June 17,2006
3:30 a.m.

Still, he died 8 hours later.