Thinking of the first lines of the famous poem did no good.
desiderata - by max ehrmann. 'Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.'
Meanwhile, his bag was half full. I tried to find instructions on various parts of his booty—to no avail. After two hours, he repeated over and over, “What am I going to do?” His emotional state was nearing the dangerous. He's the panicky one and I'm the calm one in our partnership.
Despite my wish to help, I can't get around well, or bend, or walk without pain. I tried to look at the outlet beneath the bag, but couldn't get close enough to examine it properly. I re-fixed the bag to his leg as best I could. Each time I did something for him, my leg hurt more, however, my pain should not be mentioned in a stressful situation.
When the bag was ¾ full, I pressed my care button and spoke to the operator, who advised me to ring the doctor's out of hours emergency number, which I did. After questions about irrelevant matters like: if he was suicidal, had been in contact with Ebola, had taken drugs, excess bleeding or chest pain in the last hour, took about 15 mins. Then she set up a return call from a doctor.
The doctor rang back ½ hour later and arranged a visit from after-hour nurses. Meanwhile the bag was almost full. My husband had been pacing for four hours, increased his frenzied walking between one side of the room to the window to check for the nurses. By now, the bag was bulging.
After another call to the emergency number, and then to the nurses station, my husband was informed they'd be with us in half an hour. He said, “I don't think I can wait that long.”
Five hours. He pulled some pliers out of the cupboard and some strong masking tape and cut several strips, ready to seal the bag when he slit it. Then he went to the bathroom. Came back with a smile. He'd discovered by accident how to release the plug hole on the bottom of the bag.
The nurses arrived shortly after and what a relief. Those wonderful women explained patiently how to do everything he needed, fitted another strap high up on his leg and left with our wholehearted gratitude.
What did I do during the ordeal? Did I sit patiently? I sat all right, but with mounting tension, heart racing, breathing difficult, uncomfortable because I couldn't get ready for bed, cold, in pain and upset. I don't think anyone would 'go placidly amidst' the turmoil. Not if they are the person responsible for another's well-being.
So he, the strong one physically but weakened by illness, and I, the strong one emotionally and sucked into a spinning vortex of helplessness, both lost our power.
Have you ever remained calm in an emergency?