Today was a hard day, I won't lie. It was so nice to be with Steve's big family and watch them play with Daniel and Ben, and my appetite is back enough that I could eat some of the food on my plate. But just going anywhere, being up for that amount of time, is physically and emotionally draining. There are moments when the world starts to spin around me and I can barely pay attention to what's going on around me.
But I did laugh today: I didn't recognize my beautiful, teen-age niece because she'd changed her hair and just ... well, looked so different. So I was sitting across the table from her, making a feather hat out of construction paper, and I figured she was the family friend my sister-in-law Sue had mentioned might be coming. I said, "Hi, I'm Emilie. I think we've met before." She just smiled, bless her heart. What do you say when a brain-addled aunt introduces herself to you like you haven't seen each other at every family gathering and had dozens of conversations? Later, when I realized who she was, I was so embarrassed that all I could do was laugh. It felt good. I haven't laughed like that in quite a while.
But then I go back to a place that feels dark and lonely. I have been having trouble shaking it since my hospital stay. I wonder if there's such a thing as post-traumatic stress disorder for hospitals: I have flashbacks of the lack of privacy, the nurses who wake me up to check my vital signs, the people from the lab who come to draw blood like vampires first thing in the morning, the long gurney rides through the cold hospital corridors on my way to have a needle stuck into my lung or my chest, the loss of control over everything. It keeps me awake at night, and my dreams are fraught with IV lines and the vampires from the Twilight series. It was horrible, and I wish I could reassure myself that I won't ever have to go back, but the fact is, I might have to go back. That is the nature of this illness. And it seems to be on a downhill slide, at least for now. And that petrifies me.
And we get home, and I find a piece of mail I didn't see yesterday, and I open it, and it is a card and a prayer from a priest friend. It has exactly the right words, words that give me hope that maybe I can pull myself out of this place.
I escape tonight, partly, by watching Daniel become enchanted by The Sound of Music. From the opening shots of the majestic, snow-covered Alps — "I could climb up those!" — to the poignant strains of Edelweiss sung on the stage the night the Von Trapp family flees Austria, he loves it. (Meanwhile, I am a teary-eyed wreck. Oh, the nostalgia!) He just doesn't like it if there's too long a break in the music. "I want more songs," he says during plot-building bits of dialogue. And good thing for him, The Sound of Music has plenty of songs! I'd love to find some more old movies he might appreciate, even at the tender age of 2. We already have Mary Poppins. Any more ideas?