Saturday, May 19, 2007
New Beginning 278
When I was a little girl, I held my breath when we drove past cemeteries. Dad always said that the ghosts of the dead would get into my lungs, take me over, and drag me back to their graves. By the time I was seven, I understood it was just his ghoulish game, a sly trick for keeping my two raucous brothers quiet, at least for a few seconds. Now, nearing forty, I stood outside the front door of John Muir Medical Center, and I felt again that powerful need to hold my breath.
Through the years, luck had kept me away from hospitals. Other mothers became emergency room regulars, rushing in for ear infections, broken arms, even whooping cough. I came only for deaths and births. Amber had been to the hospital just once since she was born—Nathan brought her because I was stuck in a meeting—and by the time I saw her she was already convalescing at Baskin Robbins.
My feet were rooted to the spot. My eyes pointed at, but failed to focus on, the sign indicating the way to the emergency room. But my mind was elsewhere. It's funny how things all come together, random events coalescing into unexpected thoughts. With my now-grown daughter in emergency surgery, my thoughts were on that long-ago morning in Baskin Robbins.
It could have been the effect of the cold ice cream on her sensitive stomach. It could have been my attempt to cheer her up with my cemetery story. All I know is, if Amber hadn't puked up the oreos and milk she'd had for breakfast, the Baskin Robbins sign would still say "30 Flavors."