Once at the hospital, my mother-in-law dropped me off at the E.R. entrance. The front desk clerk took me behind the desk and started rubbing my back while she called to let them know I was here. I thought that was odd but naively I thought maybe that's the special treatment I should expect from now on as a police officer's wife. She took me back and there in the corner "room" of the E.R., I saw bare legs with wash cloths over them and packs of ice on top. The curtain was drawn just enough that I wasn't sure it was Martin. A nurse, Maureen came towards us and asked who I was. The front desk clerk told her I was Officer Fern's wife. She took my arm and said to the lady that I shouldn't be back here. "Is that my husband?" I asked as she turned me around and walked me to a side room.
They took me to a room that I call the death room - it's a tiny room that they probably have in all E.R.s. I call it that because it is a small, windowless room with a couple couches, and a telephone that you can call anywhere in the U.S. and they take you there to either tell you someone has died or is going to die. Maureen sat me down and told me that Martin had collapsed at the academy and when they brought him in his body temperature registered 109.7. Honestly that number didn't mean much to me. She went on and said his kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart had all shut down or were shutting down and they had no idea about his brain. He was on life support and she said the doctors were going to be coming in asking me questions about his health.
I was asked if I wanted to see Martin. I went over to him. He was shaking and his eyes were open. It was not the typical "my husband's in a coma" scene you see in Hollywood. He had bags of ice all over him. There was an odd machine beside his bed that was attached to him with blood coming in or out of his body, I wasn't sure. There were about four people working on him giving me sympathetic looks. "Why is he shaking?" I asked them. "He's probably having multiple seizures." They said. "Maybe he's just cold," I thought. "Why are his eyes open like that?" They quickly tried to shut them. They told me to talk to him. It was weird trying to talk to someone who is having multiple seizures, with ice bags all over him and wires and tubes coming out of him in way too many places. I stood at the top of him, stroked his freshly shaved head, and told him I loved him.
As I was standing there the oddest feeling came over me. I had to pee. I know that sounds crazy but the feeling was so strong I could hardly hold it. I asked Maureen if I could go to the bathroom. She took me in and told me she would be waiting outside and that if I took too long she would come in. What I didn't know was that Maureen was scared I would go into shock. What she didn't know is I was terrified she'd walk in on me going to the bathroom! I went quickly then stared in the mirror at myself. Pinching my arm over and over I asked God to wake me from this dream. Looking back I think God gave me that feeling so I wouldn't go into shock. She knocked on the door and I came out quickly. She wouldn't stop looking at my eyes. It was annoying at the time, now I know she was looking for signs.
When I got back to the death room I was left alone. "God, please save him. Please make all of this go away. Please heal him." I squeezed my eyes shut and pressed my hands together pleading with God. Then I knew I needed to say something. I needed to say it out loud. Even if I didn't agree with it or want it, I had to say it. "But Father, not my will but yours be done." I said it out loud and quick. And as soon as I said it I added, "But please, please let our wills be the same!"
The next couple of hours were a blur. Doctors were coming in and out asking me questions about Martin's health. His mom came back at some point. The doctors all asked the same questions. Does he drink? Does he smoke? Is he on steroids? Has he taken drugs recently any drugs at all - prescription or non? Has he been sick? Has he been around anyone who has been sick? How was he feeling this morning the last time you saw him? Doctor after doctor. Specialist after specialist.
The E.R. doctor came in at some point and I think he saw that I wasn't getting it. Yes, I knew Martin was sick. I knew all his organs were shut down or were shutting down, but he saw that I didn't realize he was going to die. So he said it, "If he doesn't die then he will have brain damage. We have no idea how much." "What? IF he doesn't die he could be a vegetable?" I didn't say it but I thought it.
My mother-in-law went out front to get cell phone reception and I was left alone in the death room. I didn't have my cell phone with me so I could only remember a few phone numbers. My parents were in Idaho where my dad was teaching at a pastor's conference. I didn't know any of my siblings cell numbers but I remembered my dad's church's prayer line. I called that hoping to leave a message for someone to call me back.
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