Today a friend of mine went in to the hospital for a heart cath. He told me about it a few days ago and I've been worried for him since. I'm not one of those people who say "I'm sure everything will be alright" because obviously I'm not sure. I certainly hope that everything is going to be alright but that doesn't sound powerful enough to tell my friend to make him feel better. Then I remember....I don't have to make him feel better. I can't make him feel better. The only thing I can do is to let him know I'll be there for him if he needs me. That comfort I can promise. Anything else would just be words.
My memory of Brennis' heart cath is still so clear to me that when I think of it sometimes it feels like I'm still there. This was the test that was going to tell us what was wrong. This was the test that was going to tell us what happens next. Needless to say we were all on the edge of our seats. He went in on that Monday afternoon. We really had no idea what was going to happen. Once again, before his procedure, Brennis looked at me and I was confronted with my desire to make him feel better by saying "Everything is going to be alright". I didn't. I couldn't. I think both of us knew where this path was headed but we didn't want to say that either. "What if.....?" he would say. "Well, then we'll deal with that if it happens" I would reply.
So he went in. I was in the waiting room with Brennis' mother and a dear friend. Even though I felt like I knew what the outcome was going to be I was still hopeful that this drama would be over that day. I was hoping that it was something they could fix while they were in there. I was hoping he could come home the next day. Then the doctor appeared.
When they tell you that a procedure will last a certain amount of time and the doctor comes out significantly earlier than you thought they would it's not a good sign.
"He's going to have to have open heart surgery." he said.
I nodded and the doctor explained the number of blockages, where they were, when they would schedule the surgery, who was going to do the surgery, etc. I wanted him to leave so I could cry.
When he did, I did.
I got on the phone to call my mother and I broke down. I sobbed and sobbed. I couldn't talk. I told her what I needed to say and I hung up the phone. I was beside myself with despair. I looked at Brennis' mother and knew I couldn't be strong for her. I was a wreck. My friend sat down next to me and put her hand on my back. "Brennis is going to be coming out soon and he won't want to see you like this", she said.
She was right. He wouldn't. I had to pull my act together and quickly.
After a few minutes I had regained my composure and Brennis was wheeled through the lobby toward his new room in the Coronary Care Unit. The three of us walked up to his bed with somber smiles. "Well, I've gotten myself into one hell of a pickle" Brennis said. We laughed nervously. We comforted him and he comforted us and they took him to his new room. That was that. This is where we were and it was okay.
I think about that particularly today with my friend going in for his heart cath. I worry that they will be faced with the bad news that we were faced with. I hope that they don't have to experience that.....I don't ever again want anyone to have to go through that. That's part of the reason I write this blog. These are people that I love and I want to take this day away for them. I want to make it be over for them.
"Knowing is always better than not knowing", is something I'm fond of saying. At times I try to think of instances where that might not be true but I still haven't thought of one. Knowing is always better than not knowing. Just because we might not want to know the answer we are always better off knowing it so we can move forward. The more we ignore the answer the worse things get. As long as we know the answer we can deal with it and move on.
Fortunately, as I write this, I have learned that my friend's issue was resolved with a simple procedure during the cath and no surgery will be necessary. That makes me happy. Knowing is better than not knowing.
So we all move on from this moment knowing what we know and we deal with the world better because we have gained knowledge from the past. These collective lessons guide us through our lives as we continue to gain even more knowledge and hopefully become closer to the people we want to be. Being alive carries with it great responsibility and we must be careful not to forget that. I had a responsibility to my friend to share my lessons with him by the way I spoke with him when he called me last week. I didn't tell him everything was going to be alright. I told him I loved him and I gave him the opportunity to tell me he loved me. I told him I would be there for him if he needed anything and he told me he was scared. After that...no matter what the outcome was, we knew we had said what we needed to say. That was a gift.
Tonight, now knowing that he will be okay....that is another gift. Tonight I will be thankful for my gifts.