This is one of the hardest parts of being a Cranio Dad. This room.
This 14 by 14 prison cell of emotion that is called a surgical prep room is in the forefront of oh so many nightmares that I have had since my daughters birth. As a Cranio Dad, I find myself all too familiar with rooms like this. Though the rooms may change, all that is entailed with it does not.
After all of the prep, the crying the night before, the early morning trip to the hospital, the hustle and bustle as all of the doctors and nurses prepared for what was to come, even the goodbye hugs and kisses, this room is the hardest part.
There is a sudden, unwelcomed stillness that enters the room. Your body feels the way the sound echoes off the walls, as it surrounds you. Where there is a sudden wave of calmness, your mind will not allow it to en-robe you. There is the sound of your soul screaming for the world to “SHUT UP” as the silence becomes all too loud and raw. You can hear the sound of your heart shattering under the weight of it all. Your stomach tightens, and you try to catch your breath as your body shudders. Your eyes, fixed in a desperate stare, look where the crib was and the moments before this instant playing back like an aged cellophane movie.
Just moments ago your whole life sat in a brightly colored cage of a crib.
With utter, heartbreaking innocence she played, laughed, blew you kisses, and nuzzled your face as she tiredly uttered “dada”. Heart beat after heartbeat you relive those moments, fighting the brutal differences your senses are telling you exist now, in this room. Then, once your heart cannot take any more, the moment disappears, like the ending of a movie. The constant flux of transition between the memory and reality in a bitter battle to the death, as the wages of this war take toll on your reason. Then in a flash, it is all gone.
Wave after wave of pain, fear, and stress untie from your overwhelmed heart, mind, body and soul; you feel as though you could crumple onto the floor like some miswritten, discarded note. The unearthly sound undulating from your throat as your soul and body cry out, yet it is muffled by the tears pouring fourth. Your new, strange sound has been added to the echo.
You search all of your being for some substance, something to allow you to make it through endless time-consuming, relentless ticks of the clock that is not in the room. No “tick, tick, tick” expressing the seconds that are passing, time that seems empty without that small little part of you, that part that is most of who you are. Then, like the floodgates bursting, you cannot contain it anymore, and the sound your throat has been straining to hold back ruptures past your dry mouth, and your scream that you only heard in your head launches into the silent room.
You collapse into a chair, weakened by the emotions wracking your body.
You find yourself there, in that moment, for what seems like an eternity.
However, over time, you wipe your face, discarding the tissue. That tissue taking your place in that room, discarded on the floor. You stand, not sure if your legs will hold you. Knowing that all too soon you must muster all you have to go out to yet another room. A room filled with many other parents experiencing some version of this fresh hell you find yourself in. You find strength in the part of you that left that room what feel like forever ago. You cry a little bit more because that is not how it is supposed to be.
After awhile, you raise your head and leave. Uttering a prayer that all will be okay. Hoping that, before you know it, this surgery will be complete. That you will again have a room filled with laughter, blowing kisses, hugs and a sweet little face nuzzled against yours uttering the sweetest words you will ever hear, “dada”.
I AM A CRANIO DAD, I am scared out of my mind, and…………………
This is something that I wrote the day of my daughters first Cranio Surgery.