At day twenty or twenty-one, we were pushing hard for discharge from the co-op. Bob’s low blood pressure was keeping us caged and pacing. He was clear of infection but couldn’t get his blood pressure up or his appetite back. We had hoped to be back at the apartment by the time Henry returned but it appeared Bob’s blood pressure was not following our plan.
Henry arrived back in Omaha with his Aunt Kathy, his blue eyes wide, giving us the Henry Stare when I opened the door and found them standing stiffly in the hallway. My nine month pregnant belly blocked the doorway and I was still wearing the latex gloves and yellow mask needed for the dressing change I had just performed on Bob’s central line. Bob cautiously stood up from the chair, careful not to get lightheaded from the effort, pulled his shoulders back, and raised his bony face toward his son.
Henry, standing in that dimly lit hallway, looked older than his three years. His eyes were weighted by all the thoughts swirling in his head, his body guarded, ready for the next blow. Henry looked at us as if we were apparitions. It had only been three weeks but a lifetime had passed since we last saw each other. We were surely different people now.
How could we come back together from these different lives we had been living and resume our life as a family? Were we still speaking the same language?