Thursday, June 9, 2011

Another Bump in the Dark

So it is nearly 4:00 a.m. and something woke me up. Perhaps it was a noise that my ears heard, yet my brain failed to interpret. But the jist of it is that suddenly, I was wide awake.

First, I checked on the little one while I listened for noises from the dogs. Small, medium, and large dogs...they like to bark at passing people, passing horses, and any other creatures that make noise. So, half expecting a litany of bow wow's from them, I remained calm because it was so quiet.

Then I heard a buzz, a vibration that rippled its waves across the mattress. My cell phone was off, and the spare phone was also without power. So I searched and searched, and was unable to find out where the vibration originated. But alas, as I sit here now, all is quiet. Only the heater and the respirations are perceptively audible. And most importantly, the dogs are sleeping in bliss.

So I go to FB, to YT, and I try to leave some encouragement everywhere I go. Someone writes me here. Another person writes me there. I like to keep up with my responses, because it is the right thing to do. Oh. And someone asks me to marry them here, and someone sends me affection from there. It is nice to know that we are all here for one another. I also had marriage proposals from guys in the Jail Ward, and it always seemed that this ironic 'love' for me was able to soften the heart of a criminal.

So I look down and see someone walking out the hallway door. It is someone I know, so I am somewhat relieved. But this person is also some one that I don't know any more....not like I wonder where and what will happen. In relief, I sigh when the person goes back to bed and shuts the hall door. Maybe we both heard the same thing....and I am happy that the status quo continues...

Heater on...heater off. It must be cold outside. Breathing in, breathing out....clear breaths that are afraid of soaking in the outside air pollens. Such a shame to look outside and view it as the enemy.... to be in fear of flowers with pollen, thinking of how they can stop one from breathing. Flowers can literally and figuratively take one's breath away, so I look at them differently now.

As I turn to go back to sleep, the little dog growls under the covers. He thinks that he is going to be accidentally squished by one of us rolling over on her, and he speaks his mind before the squish begins. So if the dogs are mellow, things must be okay.

I woke up like this in 1992, stammering in the dark to be sure all the windows were closed. I felt like a robber was going to break in to the house. After searching and double-checking the windows and doors, I was still fearful. So I went to bed with the lamp on. Now, for those of you that know me, you also know this: I can't sleep in the light. This was very unusual for me.

So a few hours later, a huge rumble shattered through the house. Instantaneously, the lamp turned off and fell to the floor. The ground rolled beneath my feet and I stumbled to check on the little one. So, I knew two things so far: the power was out, and there was an earthquake. Fortunately, we sustained little damage and school was okay, so off to work I went.

I was rotating on Ob/Gyn at the time, but the hospital was in the process of being condemned for earthquake stability (of all things). So I knew the staff would be short, and the work would be hard. But I drove and zig zagged through the Los Angeles freeways, changing highways 3 times, until my final destination. Women and Children's Hospital.

Ladies were still having babies. Mother nature continued to bring life in spite of the deaths that were occurring. While Northridge apartment buildings collapsed on sleeping souls, ladies howled to the depths of their core while delivering their babies.

The elevator was down, and I arrived to the hospital with things in some disarray. They moved the Delivery Unit down to the first floor so that no one would have to take the elevator. So here in what seemed like an office setting, medical supplies and instruments were strewn about as if the place was ready to be evacuated. Howling women continued in their pain, as if it was Halloween and this was a Haunted House of sorts. So I set about doing my job, placing epidurals in the spine area, to decrease their pain. One patient here. Another patient there. I laid them on their was easier on the belly. Stick after stick, I eventually made my way around to all the screaming women... and then I collapsed in the On Call Room for one blessed hour.

Earthquakes usually hit here in Los Angeles in a certain fashion. They seem to have a liking for the wee hours of the morning...4 am was a fitful hour as I distracted myself by recounting these memories. We are 'behind' in earthquake frequency....almost 20 years since the last major quake. So we continue to carry the 'earthquake preparedness kit' in the trunk of the car, along with running shoes and a jacket. Water, canned tuna, and can openers (most importantly) abound in each car.

So I'm going back to sleep now. Something went bump in the dark, so to speak, and instead of overreacting or escalating to a panic, my weary eyes look upward to the dark sky that is speckled with stars. Things are okay for this moment.

Now I lay me down to sleep. I know the Lord my soul will keep. If I should die before I wake, I know the Lord my soul will take. So my eyes are closing, my fingers are staggering, and I locked the bedroom door. I shall go back to sleep now, but wondered what you do when you awaken in the middle of the night when all is ostensibly well. Hoping I can go back to sleep right away. So ta ta for now, as I drink a sip of water for my dry mouth....and I turn off the computer to make sleeping room for another day. As tomorrow continues to roll around, I try to calm my nerves. I look forward to waking up in the morning with no earthquake. For this bump in the dark seemed to be nothing, and it is my hope that the situation stays that way. Goodnight my sweeties. Goodnight.


  1. I love reading these, Margaret. I especially love the stories you share about work.

    I am happy you are're always making me nervous because I. Just. Want. You. To. Be. Safe.

    Thank you for writing. I'm always looking forward to the next one. Thank you for encouraging me to start writing again, even though I know that isn't what you set out to do.

    Obviously, you can see my blog here, but that is only because I trust you. No one has the blog address except for you and me. I think that's okay for now.

    Xo and many hugs to you.

  2. Thank you, Jen. For everything. Lots of Love to You!!!


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