This morning as my wife was snoring and I was tossing and turning and kicking her to get her to stop, I had this idea.
I call it an idea because I don't want to call it a vision. I pictured Mindy and myself sitting in the waiting room and some goddamned doctor saying, like, some bullshit about how a normally "routine" procedure had gone wrong. I shoved it out of my head because those things just aren't even worth thinking about these days.
It was just last night that we were bathing Cyrus and he was peeing in the water and enjoying getting his white-boy 'fro scrubbed. It was last night that Mindy and I stayed up late watching several episodes of a show about surviving in the Alaskan wilderness. In a way, we'd done that together already. In another way, we're still trying to lug our heavy Yukon packs through those annoying alders. In a way, I'm melodramatic.
We went to see Cyrus today, before his scheduled eye surgery, to find him seizing. We told the nurse, a few doctors came in, then another, then some more. Then they shoved 4 or 5 drugs into the i.v. placed in his head. He kept doing it. Mindy asked if this would affect his brain. The doctor said it could if it went on for 30 minutes. We watched him seize for 45.
I sobbed into Mindy's shoulder I hate it here while our awesome lesbian nurse worked on Cyrus and tried not to pay attention. I think I heard her sniffle.
Once again, I had gotten comfortable; he has been breathing on his own and learning to take a bottle. We thought he'd be home in a matter of days...until they said he had retinopathy of prematurity. They said he'd have to go back on the ventilator for surgery and he'd probably be on it 36 hours. And after that he'd be back on the flow-pap. And so on.
I was trying to convince myself that this surgery would be easy and "routine." I was ready to accept that he would lose 30-40 degrees of peripheral vision.
And then I see him having seizures and now I have to turn my brain to another channel. I have to picture him with thick glasses, epilepsy, and possibly mental handicaps.
And now that his surgery is postponed, I have to worry that he'll be completely blind.
* * *
I know parents have expectations for their kids. I know this because I couldn't possibly meet all of the goals my parents set for me. Well, I accomplished everything but marring some macho dude who hunted and wore camo. I watched their dreams collapse in one afternoon.
So, yes, I've dreamed things for my own son:
At first I hoped he'd be smart, sexy, loving, caring, understanding and respectful.
Then I wished he'd stay where he belonged.
I wished that he would die quickly.
I wished him alive. Again and again.
I've wished that he'd be the next Holzhauser to play baseball.
I've hoped that his loss of vision wouldn't impede on his ability to play sports...or dance... or drive a car.
But now I'm somewhere else.
If he's blind, he still has music. I hope his passion to play and listen and feel it far exceeds my own.
If his brain is injured, I hope I'm able to deal with it all without falling apart. I want him to be happy.
* * *
It's been a long day, here in the Alaskan wilderness. Mindy and I have battled hunger, depression, loneliness, and, of course, the uncertainty of what's out there, just beyond the horizon.