24 February 2008

30 breaths per minute

I am back in Colorado after spending a week at my sister's bedside in Minnesota. She has not yet regained consciousness - they are keeping her sedated for all kinds of medical reasons. Slow steady progress according to the doctors.

I think that is true, but it must be tough to be a doctor and have the family looking to you every day for hope.

I don't know if she knew I was there. Though I felt better being there. I talked to her here and there but even if she was conscious enough to hear, which I doubt, she wouldn't have heard since she didn't have her hearing aids on. Still, it made it seem real, to talk to her.

The sound of the respirator that she is on still plays in my head like a slow dirge. 30 breaths per minute. Evenly. Perfectly. Endlessly. Our breathing is usually not so front and center. It really is the sound of our life. The thing we can do least without. So I was reminded of my mortality about every 2 seconds when the machine would suck air in and then blow out. Which led me to think about life and death. For a week.

I was humbled in that room. And overwhelmed. And angered. And sad. So many questions and no answers. Not about the infection or what went wrong. But how to live. Serious illness always makes me think, but the moment I get away from the situation it is so easy to forget. To drop back into mindless living.

I realized something from listening to the silence in her room punctuated by the respirator, but its hard for me to express.

Its got something to do with love.

That much I know.


1 comment:

Yogamum said...

Everything really does come back to the breath, doesn't it? I hope your sister recovers soon, and she & your family will be in my prayers.