Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sunday Scribblings- Hospitals

This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is "hospitals."

My dad died at a hospital, after a weeklong stay. Complications from diabetes landed him there, but it was a blood clot in his lungs that took him away from us. That was almost 18 years ago and I still think of him often.

I remember sitting in the waiting room, completely numb and spent, while my brother and my mom dealt with doctors and arrangements. I was 21 years old, way too young to lose my father. In my grief, I tried to trick myself into feeling his presence, imagined his ghost at the door to the waiting room, watching over me. I very much wanted it to be true, for me to be able to say goodbye to him. But it wasn't. There was no shadowy presence by the door. I was all alone.

The day my oldest niece was born, my mom and I were pacing that waiting room like crazy. A nurse came out to show us a beautiful girl. I was sixteen and had never seen a newborn at such close range, much less one who shared my blood. It was such a thrill. The next day I was taking the college entrance examination test, and during our lunch break I convinced a group of friends to drive me over to the hospital to visit. Good times.

Thirteen years later, I gave birth to my oldest daughter in the same hospital my niece was born, the one by the sea. I had been going to an OB-GYN practice that had several doctors, and I had been encouraged to see all of them at one point of my pregnancy, so that when the time came, I was familiar with the doctor on call. I saw them all, except for one, the youngest of them all. It turns out he was the doctor on call when my labor came, and he was fantastic.

I had a natural birth. I refused the epidural but could not handle the pain, so they gave me Demerol on an IV. Shortly after Paula was born, a nurse handed me a quivering newborn, still covered in blood and fluids. I hardly had a chance to realize what was going on, and promptly fell asleep from the meds. A couple of hours later, I woke up in a recovery room and they brought my daughter to me, wrapped in a bundle. I held her in my arms and was overcome with such love and emotion that I could not hold back the tears. She was the most beautiful being I had ever seen, and I instantly felt a bond such as I had never before experienced.

At that time I also felt a presence by the door, looking down upon us. Maybe I imagined it in my postpartum fatigue. Or maybe my father was paying his respects.


  1. I loved this post, Ingrid. Hospitals are the place of both death and birth, one generation leaves and the next carries life on. I join you in the belief that your father was there beaming on with pride at his new little grand daughter!

  2. And that is how the birth of child should be experienced. You are very lucky. My experiences weren't so great.

    Great take on the prompt. Have a great weekend.

  3. actually i have to say both experiences for you,, death and life seemed natural and filled with wonder..

    really nice post....

  4. A lovely post - I'm sure the presence after your daughter's birth was your father. I think they keep in touch!

  5. It was your father. I believe it with all my heart. I feel my father's presence sometimes. He was my first thought when I saw the word "hospital" for this week's prompt. You wrote your story beautifully. (P. S. I'm in Texas, too.)

  6. I love how you tied your best and worst hospital experiences together.

  7. I can still feel the presence of my father when I am going through any kind of upheaveal. I know he is out there watching over me.

    Thank for this post.

  8. What a beautiful post with such a happy ending. I doubt it was the meds.

  9. Thanks for the great comments. I enjoyed writing this very much.