Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas 2010

It's the day after Christmas. ER is a place of strange scenes and sounds. As I sit with my dozing 92-year-old mother, a machine whirs and beeps out her vitals across its screen. A large lamp hangs over her head amid a tangle of wires and cords. Someone has ripped open the sleeve of her gown to reveal a bloody elbow. She's on oxygen. Nurses, aides, EMTS joke with each other at the desk across from her room. A grandmother weeps in the hall as a child screams in a couple of rooms down. It would be surreal if I hadn't already been here many times before.

Mother has fallen again and been rushed by ambulance to hospital emergency . She believes she can get up by herself, but when she tries she falls. This time she has a nasty bruise with some swelling on the back of her head and a scraped elbow. Her head hurts and her temperature is up a few degrees. They finally tell me she will be admitted overnight for observation. Their patient rooms are full. She will be moved to a room when one is open.

Though I'm sitting in a cold hospital emergency room away from visiting with my children and grandchildren on this holiday weekend, I'm not complaining. A friend of mine lost her mother, yesterday, on Christmas Day. As I watch my mother's dear face, I'm thankful.

Wouldn't it be great if Christmas could be a time out from suffering, death and tears? How wonderful it would be if the peace, joy and hope Christmas pictures could be a reality around the world on Christmas Day every year. No, it's not going to happen, but Christmas reminds us that time is sure to come.

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