Who Knew What These Hands Could Do?

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I’m joining Lisa-Jo Baker and friends for another Five-Minute Friday exercise in writing and bravery. This week’s prompt? Hands.

Who could’ve ever guessed what my hands would be called upon to do? Who could have ever imagined what they could be capable of doing?

My greatest fear, as a parent, was that I would never be able to handle anything bad happening to my child…that severe illness would render me useless and fallen apart, as I never wanted to have a part of any kind of medical situation. And anything other…uh…well, we just couldn’t even discuss that. I would never, ever be able to handle anything happening to my child. It was as clear as that in my mind, and my hands shook at those kinds of thoughts.

Who knew cleaning up vomit would become so ordinary that I’d no longer have to leave the room for a minute to take a breath, or that these hands could clean up other unmentionable messes made more unmentionable by the powerful smelling drugs that were administered with regularity?

Who envisioned that these hands would learn to change tubes, plug in hep-locks, flush a line or de-access a port? Who would have pictured these hands holding down a child while someone tortured him with needle after needle? Who imagined that these hands would force foul tasting pills ground into fouler tasting paste down a reluctant throat and then chase it down with pudding? Who could have possibly guessed these hands would wipe away tears that were pink from the weakened blood that was seeping into places in my boy’s body where it didn’t belong?

Who knew these hands would be called upon to pat a back during dangerous fevers or rub a bald head that ached from the effects of a spinal tap? Who could have realized these hands were capable of waving goodbye to either my girls, or my boy, and always my husband, for days at a time as we took turns care-giving in the hospital?

Who pictured that my hands would build towers out of dominoes, over and over again, so that lethargic eyes would have something to watch and a fatigued hand could knock them over? Who would have ever believed that these hands could possibly learn to take a temperature, and be accurate within 1 or 2 degrees, without the aid of a thermometer?

Who knew that these hands would be required to wear gloves in order to help a tired boy go potty because his urine was so lethal it would burn my skin, and what was even worse, that it would be my hands that helped to put that intense poison into his little body?

Who knew my hands would ever have those things demanded of them, and who knew that they could do all that?