I remember holding Sarah’s hand, and looking down on a son that didn’t recognize us. The uncertainty of us ever leading a "normal" life again tightened in my chest and made my heart ache. When Tyler tried looking around the room, his head didn’t turn, but rolled instead. Looking to his right, we could see where the doctor cut his freshly shaven scalp. The doctor cut a flap the size of a quarter that was now held shut with a number of staples. The area showed the beginnings of bruising. Currently, it had a yellow/green tint to it that would blossom to purple in another day or two.
Tyler rolled to the side. Whether he did this to stand up or just to roll over, we’re not sure because the side panel of the pediatric stretcher was lowered, and Tyler rolled off the stretcher and to the hard, faux wood floor.
He didn’t even cry when he made his sudden, and forceful, contact with the maple-colored laminate. I rushed around the stretcher to pick Tyler up, while Sarah screamed for help.
I thought, "Please God, don’t let it be his head that hit the floor. Please God. Please, please, please please please."
All my wild thoughts were realized when I looked at the site of his surgery. Blood flowed freely from the area where the staples had failed to do their sole duty. I cried out in shock and horror, holding Tyler’s limp body and refusing to believe the worst of all parental fears.
I could faintly hear the monitoring system calling for assistance to our room. I screamed until my throat felt like it would rip itself open. Tightly holding Tyler against me, with people and machines rushing into the room, I heard a baby’s cry.
I woke with a start to the sound of my alarm clock and Tyler crying in his room. The severity off all my emotions faded immediately, but their presence persisted. I turned my alarm off, walked into Tyler’s room and to the baby who had awakened without his pacifier. Under any other circumstances, I would give him a paci, lay him down, and tell him to finish his nigh nighs. After an "I love you" and a kiss on the forehead, I would leave and shut the door behind me.
But this was not "any other circumstances." I pulled Tyler out of his crib and hugged him as tightly as I felt I safely could.
"Thanks for saving me from that one, bud. I love you to the moon and back… Now, hows about you finish your nigh nighs?"
Vivid dreams like that scare the crap outta me, because they stick with you all day. They are like the tiny paper cut on your finger; it hurts just enough to make you remember it’s there. If you keep your mind busy with tasks, you forget about it. But, as soon as your mind has time to wander, you feel the dull throb of a tiny heartbeat in your finger again.
When I was younger, my two worst (recurring) dreams involved me being chased by Frankenstein’s monster (which I will incorrectly refer to simply as Frankenstein here). In one, I was running through my elementary school, down never ending corridors, while a hundred foot tall Frankenstein destroyed the hallways behind me with his footsteps. Running, running, running, I could never get out of the school or away from the giant Frankenstein. In the other, I was running from a more humanly sized Frankenstein in my backyard. In this version, I couldn’t scream, I could only run in circles around the fenced in yard, and I could only run as if my legs weighed a thousand pounds. Each.
The dream I had last night was scarier than both of those combined tenfold, and I pray I never have that dream again. I’ll take on a giant Frankenstein
any every day of the week for the rest of my life before I’d hold the lifeless body of my own son… even if it was only a dream.