The Machine

My mother, Barbara Williams 

My mother, Barbara Williams 

By: Mariah Williams, written in 2013

The room is freezing, the stench of sterilized tools permeating the air. Bodies. Bodies everywhere. Some under blankets, shielding themselves from the cold. Some with their eyes glazed over to the wall. Others’ attention diverted to the personal televisions beside each chair. The nurses are in all pretty cheerful and attentive, paying special attention to the patients. I am glad to see this, especially since this room is where many spend a majority of their life, attached to a machine that will ultimately keep them alive or keep their conditions from worsening.

My mother is one of the patients who receives dialysis in this room, attached to a machine 3 times a week. On this day I accompanied her, one, because I had nothing else to do and more importantly because I can not imagine what it must be like to have a machine consume ones life for 3 times a week. So I go to keep her company, hoping that our conversations will help the 3 and a half and sometimes 4 hours pass more quickly.

Age is not a factor in this room. People both young and old sit and wait for a nurse to hook them up to the dialysis machine. I do not know what I expected to walk in to but I am surprised by the overall vibe of the room. Its not somber but not particularly perky. It just is, I suppose because patients have forced themselves to get used to life on dialysis, scheduling their other daily needs around the machine.

I don’t think anyone can truly imagine what it’s like to live on a machine, unless they have to. I seldom ask my mother how it feels to be on dialysis because I’d rather not know and I don’t want her to have to describe it. But as I am not one to dwell on the seemingly negative, I echo my last post “No Fear, All Faith” and I can imagine that the patients in and out of this room have  to have a lot of it in order to continue to come back day in and day out. Quite frankly, even I have faith in the machine doing so much to help my mothers health.

"In search of Self" by Mariah Williams

moon-woman.jpg

I forgot myself.

Forgot how to love and hold me

on nights when the brisk air creeped under my door and all I could hear outside my window were the faint whispers of crickets

I forgot how to tell myself to see beauty and strength

To fill up my own cup when his words couldn’t

To love on myself when his touch was too cold to bear, his chafed hand piercing my skin

When his eyes, bellowing with disapproval, Looked at me

I forgot to look in the mirror and see myself

Understand that I couldn’t be the center of his universe because I was working to be the center of my own

I forgot to sit with my own silence

Spend the day with me, letting myself feel all the things lost with him

Knowing that it’s good to feel, to feel for myself.

I forgot

Me

To look down at my body, rub my cocoa butter hands along my stretch marked thighs

Caress my belly, bloating with the all the things that make me a woman

I forgot my own touch, what it felt like to caress myself

So one night while he was asleep, I crept downstairs, sat by the window and looked for my sister, the moon.

Hoping to look high, to see myself again.

And l loved her, I loved her more than any man.