Going home and having to tell the girls that I had to be admitted to hospital the next day was very emotional and traumatic. Their eyes widened as I delivered the news and the whole family engaged in a group hug, as we clung to each other and cried. This time I couldn’t be stoic about it…I couldn’t be strong for the girls. I was completely broken as I sobbed along with everybody else. I packed my bags and made it through the night, even though I had to sleep sitting up. Lying down wasn’t an option since I couldn’t breathe at all in a supine position. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep at all that night. I was waiting for something to happen. Before we switched the lights off that night, I spent an extra amount of time tucking the girls in. Sitting in my bed that night, I wrote each of the girls a special letter telling them how much I loved them and that if anything happened to me, that they should know that I would always be with them. That I would somehow find a way to always be by their side if I didn’t come home. These are letters that I ended up throwing away months later but at the time, I was hoping and praying with all my heart that they would never have to open them and read what was inside. Before switching off the lights, Jaco and I held on tightly to each other.
The next morning at 5:30 we left for the hospital. Luckily it was during school holidays so we didn’t have to worry about how to get the girls to school and back, but saying goodbye to them broke my heart in two. Hugging them and crying, I didn’t want to let them go. Walking away, I saw three little faces at the front door waving to me and crying. I remember my eldest Rochelle saying to me, ‘Mommy, please fight to come home…please, we need you!’
Getting into the car, I buried my face in a tissue and wailed. The emotional pain was so acute that I could feel it physically. Crying also took up vital oxygen that I was by that time fighting for. Crying would force me to stop mid way to catch my breath, and then the pain was so intense that I would sacrifice the air and start crying again.
I was initially booked in at the hospital into a ward with 6 other beds in it. The TV was blaring on some Arabic channel and I could barely see the screen from my bed. There was a small pokey window next to my bed which looked out onto a very small cement courtyard filled with bird droppings. It was the most depressing, dismal sight. I drew the curtains around my bed and lay there sobbing. Instead of looking out at that utterly desolate sight outside the window, I closed my eyes and imagined my holidays down by the seaside to try and hold onto my sanity. A few hours later, two nurses drew my curtains back and coming up to my bed, they told me that there had been a mistake, and with that apologized and wheeled my bed into a private room where I had a TV that I could at least see. The channels were very limited and the picture was as grainy as a 1960″s antique, but I could at least listen to English. Something that I could grasp onto that at least made a smidgen of sense in the midst of all the incomprehensible insanity. My spirits started to lift as my mood improved somewhat.
As a little girl I always wished that I could see into the future. How awesome and insightful that would be. It’s a good thing in this case that I couldn’t. I had absolutely no idea what the next 7 days would hold for me…the hell that was to follow. I’m so glad I couldn’t see what was to come. The future is truly not ours to see.