I am typing with my left hand.
I am holding Ben’s cool, soft hand in my right.
I am sitting next to his hospital bed, it is fairly quiet in here.
I am mesmerized by the monotonous beeps and colored patterns on his monitors.
I am watching the rise and fall of his belly as he breathes.
I am remembering his smile and good humor this morning when I first arrived.
I am noticing the toll one day has taken on his state of being, how tired he now is, though all he has done is rest. Well, that and recover from his surgery.
I am remembering to breathe deeply myself.
I am watching the shadows lengthen on the walls.
I am noticing the pain in my lower back from sitting so long in this uncomfortable chair.
I am hearing the sounds of approaching nurses.
I am feeling my heart rate increase as I start to envision Ben being helped up to sit on the edge of his bed, erect, fearful, in pain, using a spine that was so recently deconstructed and reconstructed.
I am breathing again.
I am tasting a sourness in my mouth.
I am feeling the tiredness of my eyes.
I am buckling myself into this rollercoaster, reminding myself that this is the ride, this is just the beginning of the ride.
I am on alert as the door opens and the physical therapist enters, all smiles and tan and energy.
I am not breathing as she explains to Ben what they are going to do, sit up, maybe even stand up.
I am not breathing as she and the nurse unhook almost every tube and line and cuff from his body.
I am looking for where to stand, where to sit, to get out of the way but also to support myself, in case I feel like fainting, because I sometimes do, and it’s moments like these that bring it on.
I am leaning on the wall, on the chair.
I am sitting down.
I am tapping my fingers on my thumbs, my technique for managing these moments.
I am breathing.
I am watching them shift his body with the sheet.
I am not breathing.
I am watching as she gently and strongly helps lift him into sitting on the edge of the bed, arm under his bent knees, arm behind his shoulders.
I am afraid it will hurt.
I am afraid for him, and for me.
I am watching as his hospital gown slips away and
I am seeing his new scar, twelve inches or so, from top to bottom, shoulder to lower back, covered in mustard colored sterile tape.
I am seeing his new incision for the first time.
I am holding my breath as he wavers.
I am watching his face, from behind.
I am not standing in front of him because I am afraid I will fall.
I am afraid he will fall.
I am afraid I will faint.
I am afraid he will faint.
I am afraid of the pain and I am afraid he is afraid of the pain.
I am watching as they settle him back down on the bed, he is a little dizzy, he is a little nauseous.
I am breathing again.
I am surprised when he says he is ready to try again.
I am looking in Mark’s eyes which seem to be filling with tears, our boy is so, so brave.
I am holding my breath again as they help him up.
I am amazed again as he sits, supported by his old/new spine, this time for longer, this time with more strength.
I am watching for his pain, alert to his discomfort.
I am holding my breath and staring at his back, his straighter, flatter back.
I am releasing my breath as he says he is done, his voice strong.
I am releasing my breath.
I am breathing in deeply.
I am in this moment.