To My Wife

To My Wife

When you called me yesterday
I tried to get to your side.
Traffic conspired against me:
Frustration, impatience:
I was driven, I had to get to you.
All those people
Going about their normal lives
Were just obstacles
In my path.

I arrived late; you had gone.
Taken to that place of life and death.
I found you there,
In pain. You acted normal,
Not wanting to distress me.
But I know you too well.

I knew it had to be bad
For you to end up there:
Overcoming your phobia,
Asking for help.

You asked me to get you out;
I side-stepped, dodged the question,
Tried to keep you occupied
Until the doctors arrived
With their questions and needles.

Your condition changed,
Stirring them into action.
I was left standing on the edge
And then outside the door.

I looked around the ER:
I couldn’t take the sight
And turned my back on the room;
Stared at your door,
Fighting the impulse to run
From that place.

But I could not run.
I was more afraid to leave
Than to stay.
Then they moved you
To Resus.

They connected you
To wires and tubes:
Fluids in, data out.
You rang alarms:
This reading too low,
That one too high.

I stood by your side throughout,
Keeping you calm
As best I could.
Keeping my own feelings
At one remove:
Time for all that later.

They stabilized you:
You became more lucid.
You told me to go home:
You’d be all right.
They moved you to a ward,
I went home.

You had me worried,
Pacing from room to room,
Unable to settle.
I felt helpless.
Hour after hour
Until exhaustion overcame me
And I succumbed to sleep.

I awoke scant hours later,
Knowing something was missing.
Still dressed from the night before.

The phone rang:
I had to answer
Although I feared it
Even more than usual.

A flood of relief:
You were being discharged.
I came to collect you.
We went home.
Back where we belong,