Why I love Easter Dinner and Hate Hospitals.
So often we get accustomed to the places that we normally travel, that sometimes we forget how we got there how they became our favorite or least favorite places on earth. For the last seven years, emergency rooms and psychiatric units, have become my least favorable place. I get the call, I no longer cry, I wait. I wait to go to the emergency room, I pray the whole way there, that all is well and that this time, it is not as bad as the last time. I wait for the whole story. Except, this time, the call was unexpected, this time, their were seizures.
I woke up at the crack of dawn to get Easter dinner ready. My mother loves Easter. It is her favorite holiday of the year. Something about childhood memories in Haiti coupled with the completion of Lent, makes for pure celebration of joy. It is a time for the family to come together, people from Haiti, Canada, and around the corner come to just say hi. People that have never seen our faces but have heard of you through phone calls, and people that have had diffucult and joyful years all come around.
I decided to start with the almond poppy seed cake. I wanted it to be soft but not too soft in the middle. Before, the cake was in the oven, I received the call, he was having seizures, he is on his way to the hospital. “What do you want me to do? Should we cancel dinner, people will understand, given the circumstances.” “NO! We are going to have dinner together.” I told my cousin, to keep me updated, I had to finish two more things and would be there. Without a break in stride, I cut up the chicken sausage and yellow and orange bell peppers and put two quiches in the oven. I started to prepare the lasagna and called for updates. No reception. I layered the lasagna and still, no reception. I decided to make chocolate chip cookies, in between the second dozen, the phone rang and I got an update. He has been admitted. I was relived. I looked around, cake, cookies, lasagna, quiches, and a hospital admission were staring me in the face. I really wanted the hospital admission to go away and have him at dinner. I really wanted him to try a few things that I made. I really just wanted the blasted schizophrenia to leave, instead of fighting, I got in the shower and got ready to leave.
The house was chaotic and filled with energy. Where else would I want to be? I took off my Easter dress and started to cook and clean. People came over, the dinner table was filled with Haitian, American, and even Japanese food. Everyone was welcome and everyone came. In between the smiles, laughs and full stomachs, we went to the hospital to see him. As we signed in, the guard told us only two at a time. My mother said it is Easter, could he have a little smypathy for us? He told us that he did not celebrate Easter. My aunt, rolled her eyes. But, my mother continued to smile and sure enough, he said you can go. She said thank you.
As we go to his room, the sheet was over his head the food on the tray next to him, was barely touched. He was to have a staff member with him at all times. He got up and talked to us. He seemed lucid, he started to tell us what happened, in his mind. The nurses, told us, he thought it was a dream. I wish it was a dream. I wish I could wake up from this dream, but I knew this wasn’t a dream. We had no idea what could have caused this we had ideas and sure enough, I asked. I asked him and he told me what he could remember and the last piece to the puzzle was found. I couldn’t cry. I could smile, I was thankful that we found the puzzle piece. The nurses immediately told the doctor and the treatment plan would be changed. He woud be discharged in the next 48 hours.
As we left the hospital, we chatted with the guard, Brian. He lost ten dollars and a cheesecake, because he bet on the Knicks winning and sadly, even with Carmelo Anothony, they lost. My mom and I discussed talks of bringing a small cheesecake for Brian. His face lit up and his works hours were shared to ensured that we would follow through.
We came back to the house and more people and even more food on the table. My mother was so happy that everyone came. I realized that even though, the cookies, cake, lasagna, and quiche were gone, the schizophrenia was still around. I just let it take its place in the corner. There were so many people and food around, that it I could not even remember that it was in the room. Instead, I could only remember, why my mother insisted that we could not cancel dinner and not using paper plates on one of her favorite holidays. ~Erzulie