I had to take Miles to Cedars Sinai Hospital today for a routine EKG. Nothing scary, they just wanted to make sure his heart is still working well. It just happens to be that the place where they sent us for the EKG was Cedars Sinai. So that's where we went. And although the actual EKG and the results were not so scary for me, being back at Cedars was. I kinda have a love/hate relationship with that place because of the memories that it brings up from Miles' birth. And I had no idea that fear was still so raw for me. I thought I was past it.....but ha, ha, joke's on me!
Anger is my "go-to" emotion when I'm feeling anxious and scared. I start building up a little wall of safety around me and I become humorless and hard. Well, I felt that wall coming up as I was driving around the Cedars maze looking for parking. I was cursing everything about the day and the fact that I had to drive round and round and make illegal u-turns and roll through the stop-signs to get to a parking lot that seemed to be miles away from the South Tower. As we were walking out of the lot though the ticket gate (because I couldn't find another way out), I yelled at one of the money collectors for putting my son in danger because they had no pedestrian walkways!
Yes...displaced anger is a ugly thing.
Miles and I walked around the whole outside of the lot and over another block, in through a building, up an elevator, through a bridge, down several hallways, down another elevator...I was distraught and angry, searching for room 5520. How do I get up to the 5th floor if the only elevators are staff elevators? Can someone point me to the visitor elevators. Screw you, I'm going up the staff elevators!
By this point my face was hard and uninviting. I was cursing under my breath loud enough for people to hear me. I was looking for help, but not asking for it. I was certainly not smiling....yet everyone was smiling at me. They were all commenting on my adorable little baby who was looking out at them with curiosity and wonder as he played with his toes.
"He is a such cutie."
"What a sweet baby!"
"Oh look at those legs, I want to squeeze them."
"Take a breather Loli," I told myself. "You're building up those walls, they are closing in around you. Stop it, you don't want to be this way. Miles will be fine, it's just a check-up. This is not a bad place, you're just reacting to what it represents. It's okay."
I looked down at Miles, and there he was, cute and happy, sitting in his stroller, opening his heart to everyone. He did it again, he reminded me that I can't let my fears control me.
That little pep talk lasted long enough to get me upstairs to room 5520 and to be nice to the receptionist and the intake person and the EKG technician. My wall was halfway down and I was feeling vulnerable, yet relieved. Now if I could just find my way back to the parking lot quickly because I could feel the emotions welling up behind that wall.
I was down in the courtyard level searching for that bridge again, everyone was very busy at this point, zooming past me. I asked a doctor if this was the right way to the bridge and all I got was a half-assed shake of the head. And that's when the walls came crumbling down while I struggled to hold them up.
"Well you don't know anything, do you?!" I yelled at the guy and kept walking.
I saw the bridge and I felt the tears coming.
"Just keep it together Loli, no crying". But people were staring at me (at least I felt like they were). "Take a deep breath, put on your sunglasses and walk over this bridge to the elevator, down the hall and around the building to the lot. Just keep it together for a few more minutes."
And I did. I kept it together. Phew!
It's not that I hate Cedars Sinai. It's just a place; IT didn't do anything to me. It's what happened to me there, the pain I felt 9 months ago when Miles was born. But in the last 9 months I have learned a lot about myself and I know that I am courageous because I can move past my fears to keep on living. And every time I forget or have a slip up, Miles is there to remind me that I have nothing to fear. God, sometimes I feel like the baby!
Anyway, Miles did great during his EKG. He let the technician place the sticky strips all over his tummy and legs and calmly watched her as she did her thing. She and I sang "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and "Row Your Boat" to entertain him. But he was already amused and entertained by the situation. We should be getting the results in a couple of days and I suspect everything will be A-Okay.