Well, here we are again.
Tonight, for the first time in the nearly 12 years that we have been coming here, I feel jittery. Nervous. Restless. Unable to sleep.
I'm tired; exhausted, actually. The drive was no different than usual, but emotionally I am wasted.
The very first time we came here, my mother came along. Twinks was just a baby; she wasn't even a year old. She had spent the first six months of her life in bilateral casts - both legs in plaster and fiberglass from hips to toes. She had exactly three tub baths in her first eight months; during "layovers" between the serial casting. The local doctors had been unable to do anything; they finally told us that we should "give up".
But I couldn't just give up on her. So, I called the Shriners. And after paperwork, and pictures and x-rays were sent to The Hospital, we got The Letter. It came at Christmastime; the appointment was for the first week of the new year.
I cried all the way to Hospital City on that trip. I was terrified that we would get to The Hospital, and they would say "Sorry, nothing we can do". That night, in the local motel we were staying at, my mom held me while I held Twinkle, and we both prayed that the doctors would be able to help her.
I cried the next morning at The Hospital. Then, when The Doctor said he could help Twinkle, I cried some more - only that time, tears of joy, happiness, hope.
The next time we went back to The Hospital after that was for her first surgery. The nurses were so amazed at how calm I was, but I knew I just knew that we were doing the right thing. That Twinkle was in the right place.
All day, I have been searching for that calmness, that tranquility. All evening I have been hoping that the familiarity of this Hotel, this neighborhood, that restaurant, our routine would lull me into that zen-like state.
So far, no good.
I need to sleep. I need to rest, so that I can drive home safely tomorrow. I need to be rested and refreshed at 5:00 am when the alarm goes off.
But I feel like a kid on the night before Christmas.
Look out, Hospital, here we come...