August 2002. Thank God for the voice command feature on my cell phone...
I think as I speak the name of the person I want to call into the phones speaker. In the last 9 hours I have managed to go completely blind. All I can see is an ugly grey fog. The line begins to ring and I hear a voice say "Hello"
"I'm blind lieutenant. I don't know what's wrong but I can't see anything. I have an MRI scheduled for tomorrow, I need the day off."
"You can't see anything?"
""Nope. It's like my eyes won't work, all there is is a dark shade of grey with a few black blobs in it."
"Sure yeah, If you need more time off after tomorrow you got it just ask."
"Thanks I really appreciate it."
"Call me after your scan and let me know what they say alright?"
"I will. Thanks again."
"No problem. If I can do anything for you just let me know."
"Alright. I'll talk to you tomorrow."
"O.K. talk to you then."
I hit the end button. I don't know what;s wrong with me. I can only imagine it's something serious if it has caused me to go sightless in a few short hours. It has to be pretty bad to warrant the doctor sheduling a brain scan. I know they are sending me for the procedure to look for brain tumors even though the doctors wouldn't say that. I sit and I wonder if I'll wake up tomorrow. I sit and wonder if I'm dying. I sit and think that I am so grateful this is happening to me and not to...
...My wife and son walk into the room.
"How do you feel?" she asks me.
"O.K." I lie.
She is thinking the same thing as me. Wondering if it is a brain tumor. Wondering what the scan will reveal. I hold my hand a few inches from my sightless eyes. I try to will them to focus enough to see something, anything but they refuse.
I've been so tired lately it's been a struggle just to stay awake and I always feel like I'm about to lose consciousness. I hear this awful raging noise in my ears. It feels like my brain is being crushed to jelly with water. I put my hands against the sides of...
...My head slides into the large white machine, slowly trailing is the rest of my body. My arms are held closely against my sides. It's such a tight fit in the machine I can feel it rub against me as I am pulled into it. It begins to make a series of clicking noises. It sounds like a fully automatic electric stapler. I'm scared. I close my blind eyes and imagine...
I'm six years old. My little sister and I are at the top of an immense hill. We're looking down at the spillway at the resavouir. The sun is shining brightly. It's early afternoon and the grass looks so lush and green, speckled with a bright yellow explosion of dandelions. The breeze is blowing, gently ruffling my fine blond six year old hair. I'm giggling as I look at my kid sister who is standing next to me.
"Are you ready?" I ask her.
She smiles and says "yes."
We let go of each others hand as we lie down in the grass next to each other and start rolling down the hill at what seems like a breakneck speed at least to a four and six year old. The world is a blur of ground, sky, ground, sky, ground, sky. Light, dark, light, dark faster and faster we tumble side by side squealing and laughing until we reach the bottom.
We stand up all grass stains and smiles. I grab her hand as I hear my six year old voice ask "Sister are you..."
"...Alright?" I hear the tech ask as the machine whirs and clicks.
"I'm fine." I answer in my now twenty six year old voice.
"Just hang in there for a few more minutes. We're almost done, then we'll get you out of there." She says.
My two year old son sits on my wife's lap in the next room. They are watching me through a plexi-glass window. I know she's worried and I can't wait to get out of this narrow hole and go to them. After what seems to be an eternity, The machine powers down and I feel my body being slid, slowly, back out of the inhumanely narrow tube.
I sit up and feel my wife gently take my hand. I can't see anything as she guides me back to the room they had been sitting in. I ask the question that has been plaguing everyone's mind, but no one wants to ask.
"Is it a tumor?"
"I'm not a physician and technically I'm not qualified to read the scan." Says the technician."but I've ran a lot of these scans and I've seen a lot of abnormalities so I have a pretty good idea what to look for and looking at your scan I think I can safely say that I..."
"...I do" I hear my twenty two year old voice say as I gaze into the eyes of the woman I have fallen in love with. I'm nervous and she looks so beautiful in her white dress. I'm holding her hands in mine.
They're trembling. So are hers.
"You may kiss the bride." Our preacher tells me. His voice is distant as I've become lost in her dark brown eyes. We lean close and I feel her soft lips press firmly against mine. The room erupts in applause. Her mother st arts...
...Crying as the tech tells us "I didn't see anything that would suggest a tumor."
"Oh thank God." My wife sobs as she draws a deep breath of relief.
My wife leads me through the corridors of the hospital to the exit saying "There's a door just up ahead." I love my wife more than ever at this moment. I know it's been...
...Hard on her. She had spent the last month with me not knowing what was wrong with me. She had been by my side both day and night the entire nine days I was in the hospital. She was there and held my hand gently when the doctors stuck a long needle into my spine and drained out a large amount of spinal fluid to analyze. She stood by me when they put another needle into me femoral artery and injected dye into my brain. She went back to the job she hated because we didn't know if I would ever be well enough to work and my sick time was running out. Our future was so uncertain then. She watched as I blindly gave myself shots of louvenox into my stomach, which was covered in large yellow and purple bruises due to the many sites of injection. She cried often as she gave me my medicine twice daily because I couldn't see well enough to tell them apart.
"I love you so much." She whispered into my ear every night.
"I love you to." I would say before drifting of off to sleep. "She cried nearly every night before she went ot sleep.
Then one day things shifted. I was now seeing a little better, things were divided into blurry shades of black in the grey that my world was.
She was leaving for work, "I love you." I said and leaned in to kiss her. She turned her face away and I felt her cheek against my lips instead of her mouth. "Love you to." she said flatly as she got into her new truck and pulled out of the driveway. A few hours later the phone rang began ringing. My son was playing with toys I couldn't see well enough to tell what they were. I followed my ears to the phone. I debated whether or not to answer because I had been getting a lot of hang up calls. Those were mostly at night though after my wife returned home from work.
"Who was it?" she'd ask.
"don't know. They hung up." Afew minutes later she would retreat to our bedroom with the phone where she would stay for nearly an hour at times. I would hear giddy laughter resonate from the bedroom while she talked to whoever was on the other line, in a hushed voice. I was happy she was laughing again. She seemed happier than she had since I'd gotten sick. I loved her with all my heart.
I picked up the phone..."Hello?"
"Hi this is Mr.green from Green ford. I'm trying to reach your wife to follow up with her about a truck she looked at a few days ago."
"She's at work. I can give you that number."
Several moments of silence.
"Ummm...I called her at work and they said she was on vacation this week."
Somewhat confused "No, she left for work this morning."
"I'm sorry. I'll try that number again. I'm sure they were mistaken then."
I hung up and called her work. "She's not here today. She's still on vacation. Can I take a message?"
"No thanks." I hung up. My son standing near me. "Daddy, can we go outside?"
I'm sitting on the porch watching the indistinguishable grey blob that is my two year old son ride his big wheel on the driveway. It occurs to me that if my vision doesn't return I'll never be able to teach him how to bait a fish hook when he turns five, or when he's sixteen how to drive. I think of all the normal and special moments I'll never share with him. I think that I will never know what shape his face has taken when he has become a man, or be able to tell him how pretty his first girlfriend is. I begin to cry for the first time in my adult life. I feel the large tears drizzle down my cheeks. My son walks over to me and having never have seen his big strong daddy cry before puts his tiny little two year old hand on my knee and in a tiny quivering voice verging on tears asks me...
"...What's wrong?" She asks. "Nothing, I'm just thankful to be your husband. How was work today?" I ask her, wiping tears from my cheeks.
"Fine!" She screams as she hangs the phone up angrily. My house is dark and empty since she moved in with her mother across the street after revealing to me that she had been having an affair with a much younger man.
I stare at the phone sadly, wondering how we'd come to this. Passionately fighting over property neither of us cared about. I would look across the street and see his car parked in her driveway all night and into morning. I would stare, insane with jealousy at the thought of him lying in bed with my wife while my son slept in his bedroom.
One day I told her "I'm moving..."
"...into my new house. I'm filled with a mixture of sorrow and excitement. My new house is bigger and has hardwood floors. I have arranged the furniture in the same way it was in the old house, so it will seem more familiar to my now three year old son. My vision has returned to 20/20 and I've returned to patrol after an excrutiating year long stint working in the jail. I've actually been promoted too.
"What do you think buddy?" I ask my son.
"I like it daddy!" he exclaims before he takes off running through the house. I begin to date again as my now ex-wifes relationship with her boyfriend begins to crumble.
I pick my son up from his mother's house after school. He is now five and doesn't even remember a time when he I and his mom all lived together, I think. As we drive by our old house I he is looking at it through the trucks window, and he says "Daddy. I miss when we lived at our old..."
House, I think as I drive by. It's two in the morning and I'm patrolling my old neighborhood. It's a good neighborhood. Quiet. I patrol it more as a sentimental thing rather than a necessity. I remember four years ago. Standing at the kitchen sink watching my wife watch our son play with the little girl who lived next door. She was talking to the girls mother. The sun is going down and it casts an orange glow on my wife's face.
She's smiling. She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. I stand there feeling like the luckiest man in the world as, unbeknownst to them, I gaze at my family. Hoping that they will come inside soon. some cheesy love song is playing on the...
...Radio the telecommunicator is telling me that there is a domestic in progress I need to respond to. I tell them I'm enroute and as I drive to the call I wonder how I ended up here. What have I done to deserve the terrific son I have. The nice house I live in and the beautiful caring girlfriend I now share my life with.