As you can imagine, today was a big day for me—a chance to go to a real, live hospital. I have to say right up front that, from an ER perspective, the experience was comforting in all the ways it failed to emulate the show—no gurneys were rolled, not thoracotomy trays prepped, no surprising but insightful life-saving diagnoses were made by a cock-sure young resident in a fitted white coat, and the closest I came to the ER was when my mother-in-law’s boyfriend and I went out to get some take-out after the dust had settled and we passed by the ambulance bay.
What did happen was remarkably simple, calm and entirely thrilling.
We arrived at the hospital a little early. Parking was not a problem. My lady remembered which bank of elevators was ours and when we got to the fifth floor they were expecting us. We settled into our room and, as the nurse got the monitors hooked up and the Oxytocin flowing, I let her in on our history with Lincoln, just so she would understand how prone to freaking out we were.
The nurse got it in an instant and immediately turned her attention to the fetal heart monitor, explaining, as she fiddled with it, that there were a bunch of reasons why it would remain so ominously silent and we shouldn’t let it worry us unduly. But the more she fiddled, the more we worried.
“Oh,” she said suddenly, brightening. “The volume is turned off.”
And with the push of the button the room was suffused with a sound like distant drumming, the muffled tread of a soldier approaching the gate.
As I’ve written this blog over the past few months, I have really tried to pick my words with care and arrange them in a way that would get at something maybe not quite so grand as the truth but at least not so far from it. Today, however, I am stumped.
I am reminded of the wonderful soliloquy Rutger Hauer, in the role of Roy Batty, gives near the end of Blade Runner:
"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.
I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. . .”
He delivers this, in halting tones, to a terrified, wide-eyed Harrison Ford. Then, of course, he puts his head down to die and, in dying, releases his grip on the white dove he has been clutching, which mounts to the sky.
Except today, in the place of Rutger Hauer, we have my wife, the embodiment of knowledge and experience that can’t be known by mere man. But where Rutger made his gesture toward life and then slipped away into eternal rest, the missus just sat up and started feeding the kid.
His name is Wren. I ought to give him a phony Greek name, in the spirit of the blog, but I just don’t know enough about him yet. He’s asleep now, nestled next to his mother who, if I loved her before— well, once again I’m at a loss.
We did not bring the ER DVDs to the hospital—it seemed wrong somehow, like tempting fate, and I can’t say that I missed them tonight. I’m sure I will soon be ready to enter back into that ongoing dialogue with Doctor Greene and company, but for the moment, who needs the manufactured drama and mock-heroics of ER when the real deal is so close at hand?