It seemed extra rainy, even for January, but I guess it was just trying to see the windshield through my tears that was the real difficulty. I had only an hour to drive home and pack some things for Dad while he was being transferred from ER to a hospital room. Mustn’t forget to pack a toothbrush. Or do they give you one of those in the hospital? Will Dad be well enough to want his books? Driving and crying, I had to admit I knew nothing about hospital stays. What could my little errand possibly achieve that would benefit Dad after his stroke?
I made it home and fed the cat. Didn’t know when I would be back to see her again. I quickly picked up the flotsam and jetsam of ambulance drivers too. Sure didn’t want to come in the front door and be met by that scene again. Found Dad’s Olympic sized duffle in the back of his closet and ran through the house stuffing in every useful thing from socks to sudoku, still not convinced any of it would be of value. With my back to the door, I paused for a last survey of our 4-patch sized living room. Of course, how had I missed it! There on the sofa, right where Dad had left it, the quilt Aunt Vicki had sent him for Christmas.
Returning to the hospital was clearer than my earlier drive. This time, there were even a few smiles between tears. Flannel backed with big brown squares, my living room treasure rode next to me on the truck seat. I felt my errand may have struck gold after all.
When I arrived at Dad’s hospital room, he wasn‘t there! Thankfully, a nurse was there, working at a keyboard housed inside a closet. I hadn’t seen her at first. Undoubtedly, she could read my confusion; the way I was hovering in the doorway, checking the room number.
“You’re a quilter,” was the first thing this Chief Nurse said to me.
“Yes, but..what..” I could only stammer.
“Your quilt looks new.”
“This?” I held out my find, “Aunt Vicki made this, I brought it, but....”
“Don’t worry,” Nurse interrupted my nervous ramblings, “he’s still on his way from ER. Your father, right? He’ll be here in a minute. Tell me about your quilt.”
Talking quilting with the nurse was a blessed distraction. Dad’s gurney finally arrived from Intensive Care, cutting short Nurse’s story of her own new mid-arm machine and the holiday UFO she was finaly completing. Dad couldn't speak yet, but somewhat improved from the last time I had seen him in ER, he reached for Aunt Vicki's quilt when he saw me.
Over the week I stayed with him in the hospital, Dad recovered much of his old self. And I met new quilting friends during that time. Nurses mostly, and volunteers. All nice ladies who stopped between duties of tending to Dad and others, and took time to ask, “Did you make this quilt?” Simple but sincere conversation. A break in the hardship of healing. I Remember them each time I catch Dad napping on the living room sofa, and fetch Aunt Vicki’s quilt to tuck him in.
I guess there are a lot of quilts that go to the hospital, and I guess a lot of them don’t see very happy endings. This one did. Thanks to the dedication of nurses and others who worked to heal my father, and who took care to comfort me too. Is there a quilt block for nurses? Someday I’ll find one, and make a quilt of grief turned to happy endings for each friend in the sisterhood of quilting nurses.
|Dad and Aunt Vicki's Quilt|