It’s 6:30pm on Tuesday.
I’ve just hung up the phone with my grandma. She called to ask if I wanted to pick up my groceries from her house, asked about my day, told me about her’s.
“Tomorrow” I said, because there is always tomorrow.
She asked me if she should call me back to say goodnight or if I wanted to call her back when I was done finishing up some work.
“I’ll call you” I told her. And then by some stroke of irony before we hung up I said goodnight instead of goodbye.
God knew we would need one more good night.
It’s 7:15pm on Tuesday.
She’s the only one who knows exactly how it happens.
A small cut. First a little blood and then a lot. She’s trying to put bandaids on but the red running down her foot won’t let anything stick. First one bandaid and then two and then she loses count.
Now she’s panicking. She knows what all of the blood on the floor means. She grabs her cell phone with the same hand that sports her life alert bracelet, affixed to her wrist for moments just like this. The 911 operator picks up.
“Come right away.”
And then the line goes dead. She’s closing her eyes. She drops her phone into the pool of her own blood. She falls asleep knowing no one is here.
The sirens are blaring. The back of the ambulance is complete chaos. They can’t stop the blood. She isn’t breathing, her pupils are dilated, she can’t respond. The paramedics report,
The stretcher is unfolding outside of the ambulance. Ten paramedics are running with her into the hospital. She leaves a trail of blood wherever she goes. It marks wherever she’s been.
It’s 9:29pm on Tuesday.
I’m on the second to last stair to my room, about to call my grandma to say goodnight. But it’s my dad calling me.
I was thrown off by the panic in his voice, it was an unfamiliar urgency, a shakiness.
“You need to get to the hospital. Grandma’s on a ventilator. We don’t know what happened.”
I’m screaming but I don’t know what I’m saying. I start throwing things into a bag. My insides are shaking, my outsides are shaking more. I’m running to the car with my friend.
I’m doubled over in the front seat, “I should have gotten my groceries.”
And then I’m running to any door of the hospital that will open, leaving my friend behind. There’s no time to wait. Nothing is happening fast enough. They take what feels like forever to look up her room number, the electric doors seem to creep open. I can see my mom standing in the hallway outside of Room 2. Is she dead?
The nurses are staring at me. They feel bad. I run into the room and I feel my body shut down.
The ICU notes state:
Blood everywhere. Blood on the floor, blood on the walls. Splatters of blood everywhere. My grandma is laying flat, a tube down her throat, breathing for her. She’s wrapped in white blankets, much like the white towels covering the red stains on the floor. There it was. A little cut. One stitch.
She can’t hear me because I can’t speak. My mouth is open but no words will come out. My brain is convulsing. The room is spinning. I want to grab her hand but I am paralyzed.
Then, doctors. Doctors talking to me but I can’t understand any of the words. They’re trying to explain the phrase .
They’re asking me what her wishes are. I don’t even remember, I say, “you have to save her.”
And then I’m sitting down. The white of the walls and the red of everything else is swirling in my head.
It’s 11:45pm on Tuesday. It’s just the beginning.