when i woke up at 5:30 am yesterday morning, it was raining.
i lay there, thinking, "my husband is in the hospital."
it is my last thought at night, and my first thought when i wake.
you've heard about heart transplant recipients—how their taste in music, fashion and food will change. apparently, it's like that with kidneys too. i now pee every hour like my husband, and as if we weren't joined at the hip before—now joined at the kidney—my inner worry went off at 5:30 am, because something was wrong with him.
his body was exploding with heat and sweat—a fever of 102.7—impossible foreshadowing of what was to come.
my immunosuppressed body had crashed into a wall of sleep and my emotionally-suppressed brain had ignored my alarm.
"i have to get to Cedars" was the only thought i could grasp in the fog of morning brain.
i stood in front of the bathroom mirror, contemplating the effort it would take to cover up my puffy eyes, dehydrated from the hour-long drive home the previous night. bawling your eyes out is oddly romantic as you cruise home from Cedars-Sinai against the Friday Night Lights of Sunset Blvd., then turn north towards your Valley ranch. in one hand a makeup brush hovered over a brow scrunched in worry. in the other, my cell placed a call to room 8122, tucked against a shoulder carrying the burden of worry and wait.
and then i heard it. BOOM.
was it a car accident along Sunland Blvd. echoing up through the canyon below me? the garbage truck dropping the plastic bin with a careless thud?
was it the thudding of my heart as my beloved updated me with the surgeon's report?
2 explosions in a row.
i whirled towards the sound, and through the bathroom window saw a thick tongue of flame lick 30 ft. high against an ominous plume of smoke. black. frightening.
"omg. our neighbor's house is on fire!" i gasped and hung up, racing to our yard.
FIRE. unbelievably, FIRE. at the top of our property, it raged. i could hear its coarse munching as it devoured a shed-like structure, even as the sirens began overwhelm the soothing California drizzle.
denial had me in a chokehold. i stood there in disbelief.
"i guess i call 911", i gasped to no-one.
"911. what is your emergency?"
"my neighbors ! their house! it's on FIRE!" more sirens began to fill the air with their soothing screeches. help was on the way. i was transferred to "Fire and Somethingorother Services" and put on HOLD. just for a minute. just The Longest Minute Of My Life. and then a voice. and again, i stated my panic.
"my neighbors house! it's on FIRE! it's like 50 feet away!"
"ma'am, calm down. it's raining."
REALLY? REALLY. i'm not sure what was worse. being called "Ma'am" or having him sass me for being freaked during my first 911 call ever.
i didn't know what to do. did i evacuate my house with a bag full of immunosuppressives, his bagpipes [he would never have forgiven me otherwise] and our shockingly chill basset hound, or attend to my husband lying helpless in a hospital bed and take my chances?
so i went into our bedroom, and made the bed.
one of the gems i picked up in rehab, was to always make your bed in the morning. this, was not something i ever had to be encouraged to do. i seemed to innately know from birth why this was important. rumor is i tidied up Mum's womb before i left.
we make our beds, because it's pretty much the only thing we can control in our day.
and outside my home raged the proof.
chaos seems to follow us around like a puppy, nipping at our heels wherever we turn. maybe it's because we love dogs so much, but because we would never, ever kick an animal, the only way to get through this is to accept it as it comes—bit by crazy bit.
because all we really want now is peace.
the metaphor is not lost on me.
my husband carried the weight of our world around on his shoulders for years. and now his back is broken.
i can't fix it, but it is my greatest joy to be able to shoulder the load now. mine. and for a time, his. until he is strong enough to take it back again.
our house, unbelievably, is still standing.
"neither rain nor hail nor sleet nor snow nor heat of day nor dark of night..." can take us down.
kevin, its my turn to carry you, my love.
i am going to bed thinking, "my husband is in the hospital."
but, the fire is out.
and it has stopped raining for tonight.