Saturday, February 2, 2013


It is my first day off so my sleep is broken and I am awake at 4:00am.
I tried to close my eyes ...willing my mind to rest
but all that could cross my mind were the events of this week.
This week I took care of an alcoholic of 40 years. 
He had come down with a horrible bacteria infection that rendered him too ill to drink. 
His estranged wife explained a little of what had led up to this point 
but she had been through this before and could not stick around.
His daughter however arrived at the unit in a fluster of anxiety and fear.
Shuffling from side to side, adjusting her Raiders beanie every few seconds.

Hannah was her name.
I smiled, "I'm a Raiders fan too. My name is Andi and I'll be your dad's nurse until 8:00am".
She smiled and then quickly began asking very specific questions about her dad's health.
She followed up the questions with an immediate proclamation, 
"I am the one who takes care of him so if you have any questions..."
she trailed off, still nervously fidgeting and shuffling her phone from pocket to hand and back again.

She began to tell the full story ...of how it all began.
She was adopted me
He was sober briefly ...until it went sour around her 8th birthday.
She has been taking care of him since she was ten years old.
Her mother gave up and has been living in a different section of the house for years now.

Hannah knows every detail of her father's history because she has been taking care of him since she was ten years old ...ten years old.
He wanted to sober up after being ill so she had been managing his withdrawals at home.
Every time he'd shake she'd give him a shot or two of vodka.
But the withdrawals became unbearable and he began vomiting and soiling himself and passing out. 
So she brought him into the Emergency Room and here we are.

I looked this little girl in the eyes and asked her, "How old are you?"
"I'm 18."
I closed my eyes and put my hand on my chest and had to pause for a moment.
"Hannah, I don't know if anyone has said this to you but I am so sorry. You don't deserve this because he is a grown man and he is your father and I am so sorry." 
I couldn't hold it in anymore and I began to cry.

Partly because I am devastated for Hannah 
but mostly because Hannah has that oh so familiar look.
I know how far she has to go in order to be healthy and whole 
and just how painful that journey will be for her. 

She stopped for a minute and just gave me that smile that comes when you're trying to hold back tears.
That moment when you know that someone gets it and that someone sees you... and that small ache rises to the surface.

She quickly stuffs it all back into her neat little box and the subject is changed.
I talk to her more and I encourage her to finish college ...transfer out of here a.s.a.p.
She nods and agrees, so there is hope for her.

This week Hannah broke my heart and I am awake now at 5:30am praying for her.
Praying that she will someday overcome the co-dependency that has been crafted into her being. 
Praying that someday she might find faith in God and peace in His grace.
Praying that someday she knows the love of a father that she never had
Praying that she gets into college and runs away from this mess
and that she begins to heal ...deeply heal.

This week I am praying for Hannah to know truth
and I weep for her ...even now, I weep.

No comments :

Post a Comment