That's Life ( Pt 14 )
I was a million miles away in my thoughts, not only of the extreme emotions I'd felt in the past, but tears filled my eyes and my mind was whirling with imaginings of my son swimming around in my head, it was a bit like one of those Tom and Jerry cartoons, when Tom gets hit over the head and starts seeing stars flying around above him, except I was seeing babies with tubes hanging from their arms. It may seem daft, but that was exactly how I perceived my visions.
Before realizing how far my trek had taken me, It was apparent I was lost, not having any idea how long I'd been walking, but all the streets looked the same, the many houses and bungalows all with their neat and tidy gardens and their painted fronts and posh curtains, gave me the feeling I was in a prominent area that I'd never been before.
A lady with a dog was coming towards me, so I asked her where the hospital was, she informed me that it was about a mile and a half away. I couldn't believe I'd walked that far.
“Have you got the time?” I asked, feeling cold in my jeans, tea shirt and denim jacket.
She looked at her watch, “it's about six o'clock.” She gazed at me with a worried look, I think she could see I'd been crying and asked if I was okay?
“Yes!” I declared, “I'm fine,” though I was far from okay. Although it was Spring, I think I felt the chill more, because I was in shock, not only from being lost, but also because my husband had turned up at the hospital and I was desperate to see my son.
I couldn't believe it, I'd been walking for over an hour, I had no money on me for a bus, so the lady, I think out of sympathy walked a little way with me, then drew a map of how to get back. 'Why do I get myself into these fixes? ' I thought to myself!
When the lady with the dog left me, I started to have those nagging doubts that I'd had before going to the refuge. I wondered if the hospital would think I wasn't a capable mum and that perhaps they would think my son would be better off with his father. “Oh! I'm so stupid!” This time I said it out loud, but luckily there wasn't anyone around.
Now the voices in my head were telling me I was an unfit mother, with no right to my son. “At least his father's with him!” They kept telling me. “He's more right to him than you have, his grandma knows what to do, she'll see he's okay.” These voices were scaring me, as I kept walking and walking.
By the time I reached the hospital, I was absolutely knackered, I'd been out all day and now I didn't even have the energy to eat, I just needed my bed. So heading back to the caravan, there wasn't anyone else around. I went in and put the light on, deciding to make myself a hot drink, taking it to bed with me. My feet were tingling, my body ached as I sat there. Once the drink was finished, I lay down, trying desperately to veil the voices from my mind. Sleep soon then came.
It was unclear how long I'd been in the land of nod, but trauma struck as I watched my dream unfold. I could see everything so clearly and knew what was going to happen, but my body was fixed rigid, I couldn't move, only being able to observe.
It felt like reality, as my son's father made his way down the hospital corridor and into the ward. I watched as the fine tubes were disconnected from the machine. My son's delicate, bruised body was lifted from his cot and carried out of the ward and back down the corridor in his father's arms, the tubes leaking the thick liquid that slipped from the transparent attachments, leaving a trail of blood. It was all so tranquil and real for father and son, as if wandering off into the sunset, but for me it was a distressing nightmare.
Nevertheless, once I could finally move, I felt cold, my feet were wet and I wasn't even sure of where I was, or what I was about to do, just knowing I needed to retrieve my son. I had no idea how I got there, but the next moment I was banging hard on the exit door windows to the hospital. I could see a nurse scrutinizing me, unsure of my behavior, she was afraid as she waved for me to go away.
I continued hammering hard, desperate to get in, the tears were now welling up in my eyes, It was all so real. I screamed at her, my body shaking with terror. “Let me in...don't let him take my son!” I was beside myself with fear. The distress and torment had me sinking to my knees as I continued to try and get her attention, still hammering on the doors. It was like a disease of the mind, eating away at me, provocation of the voices in my head tormenting my spirit.
I had no idea what was real, as the doors slowly opened and the nurse appeared. I could feel her arms raising me up to my feet, then guiding me down the corridor. I leaned into her sobbing, “please don't let him take my son.” But the energy was sapping from me.
I could hear her voice faintly, as my ears were ringing. “Everything's fine, just you come with me.”Sitting me down in a chair, I put my head between my knees, closing my eyes and still shivering. The nurse came back with a plastic cup of water and told me to drink.
By now I was taking deep breaths on her recommendation. “Where have you come from?” She asked, a worried look on her face.
I said I was staying in the caravan and that my baby had an operation to stitch up a hole at the back of his throat, and that I wasn't allowed to see him, but that my husband had turned up and I saw him kidnap my son.
“Well thank goodness for that!” She replied. “I thought you'd escaped from the local mental home.” The nurse looked relieved, as she asked; “What's your son's name?”
I gave her his name and she smiled, saying; “I think you've been dreaming and sleep walking my dear. Come with me.” The nurse took my hand and led me into the ward where my son lay sleeping peacefully, though he had tubes everywhere. “See!” She said. “He's fine...we're keeping an eye on him, he should be more alert tomorrow.”
My next question was; “Why wouldn't they let me in earlier?”
She smiled again. “To be honest, it's not a good idea to see your baby straight after the operation, it's sometimes upsetting for the mother.” That was all there was to it and that poor nurse on night duty didn't have a clue who I was.
I felt so foolish, especially when she told me, she thought I'd escaped from the local mental home, being unsure as to whether to open the doors to me. Strangely enough, my companions back at the caravan had slept through the whole event and had no idea of my torment, even though the caravan door was wide open.
I was shivering with just my night shirt on and nothing on my feet, it concerned me that I'd been sleep walking, never having done it before and thankfully never since.
After my frightening episode, the rest of my stay at the caravan went without incident. My son improved with each day and eventually was able to drink out of a normal bottle with a teat. Mum and Dad came to visit, but I never told them about my incident that night, I was too embarrassed. Now I look back, it makes me realize just how bad a condition I was in.
I was so relieved to have the operation over with, I even went out with the girls to a local doctors and nurses disco that we got invited to in the hospital grounds. It was fun, mainly because it was the first time I'd not felt on edge, knowing my son was in safe hands and recovered. The disco itself seems pretty hazy to me now, but I seem to remember having a good time.
At the end of my stay, I was saying my farewells to the nursing staff and my companions I shared the caravan with, but I was to return to the house with yet another shock in store.
To be continued...