Some Things in Life You Cannot Prepare For

*Update from the 10th floor*

Covid has eerily slowed the pace, yet the smells, the sights, the sounds, the walls - they are all too familiar. The body remembers what the mind attempts to bury. The memories prompt an unnerving yet comforting feeling. I know she will receive the best possible care in this building, though, after years of fighting an apathetic medical system, my guard is unwavering.

Early in the day, on Saturday, Chris, Jayde-Rhiannon, and I were having an emotional conversation. Jayde has not been doing well since last October. Every bit of weight she gained after her surgery, from two years ago, and then some is now gone. Her heart rate, which was once stabilized by her medication, bounces from 55 to 185. The once tolerable pain she encounters every day has become unmanageable. Now weighing 88 pounds and feeling quite weak, she relays she feels guilty that I still need to take care of her. I responded, "I am your mom. This is what I do. You have NOTHING to feel guilty about." She begins to tear up, exclaiming, "Yeah, but I am eighteen years old. I should be able to take care of myself!" Chris chimes in, "Except most eighteen-year-olds still cannot take care of themselves - and they are healthy. You are more self-sufficient than most kids your age." He is right. Her journey has matured her in ways you never want to envision for your child.

Later on Saturday night, I was frantically gathering everything that Jayde and I would need to make our stay at Hopkins more comfortable. As she approached me in the kitchen, I could sense the anxiety dripping off of her like beads of sweat from the hot July sun. I stop what I am doing to distract both of us by filing and buffing her nails. "I am scared," she whispers. Pausing to look at her, I do my best not to blurt out, me too! "I know, but you and I are going to get through this like we get through everything - together. We go in together, and the only way we leave - is together. I don't come home until you come home." 

There are just some circumstances in life you can never prepare for. As I continued packing and checking off our list, trying to prepare us as much as possible, I think back to the day after Jayde's eighteenth birthday. Chris, me, my parents, her, and her boyfriend, Brett, sat in a notary's office filling out paperwork, giving me medical power of attorney for Jayde. In my mind, it was an insurance policy to be used in case of an emergency. Yesterday that emergency occurred, and I proudly handed over the several-page document, which allows me to stay by her side until we come home.

Last night as she attempted to rest, I curled up in my little corner of the room, quietly allowing myself to feel a plethora of emotions. I am angry, I am sad, I am frustrated, I am concerned, I am scared. I am also grateful for a piece of paper that allows me to be here with my beautiful daughter instead of forcing her to be all alone in a hospital room.

The city never sleeps, causing me to miss our little town even more. Jayde barely wakes from the 4 a.m. round of vitals. The two separate helicopter landings on the neighboring roof do not phase her slumber either. Around 5:30, the x-ray technician came in to scan her port. The bright Baltimore sun now peers through the sides of the window shade, signaling a new day. The surgical team begins making their rounds. Her doctor will soon be up to visit. In a few hours, Jayde will undergo her first test. As much as we need answers, the options are not great. The day is full of possibilities, and right now, all I can do is hope for the best.


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