Saturday, June 11, 2011

"Hostipal"

Consider yourself a bit a Nancy Drew or Hardy boy? Hmmm?

Some of you may have noticed my latest post appeared this evening, timestamped for Wednesday.

That's because I loaded the fickle photos Wednesday night, but found myself driving to the hospital before hitting "Publish."

Because this little lady went from this (photos from Wednesday afternoon):
...to this:
Yes, that is our little Esky, sitting in E.D., in the early hours of the morning, where we spent close to six hours before being admitted to the children's ward for the next two nights;
  • Around 8:30pm, it became clear Esky was struggling to breathe.
  • My dad is staying with us...but Haki is away.
  • We four - Pop, Esky, Ivy and I, went to the Emergency Department.
  • Her chest and neck were drawing in deeply with each breath, she was struggling to speak, and she was regularly screaming with terror and then choking in silence as she sought air.
  • Then she would cough and clear her airway for a time, and resume short, raspy breathing until the next episode.
  • The poor lass was up until 2:50am with nothing but a 10-minute (stolen) nap around midnight.
  • I lost count of how many nurses, interns, doctors, pediatricians, and specialists attended to my exhausted and terrified daughter during our stay.
  • Practitioners who checked out George or Lily first fared much better at getting a tongue depressor into Esky's mouth.
  • I have never been so scared in my life.
  • My weakest moment: seeing her writhe under restraint as the Ventolin mask was put on her face; I was the one putting it there (she refused the nurse's efforts), and I drew back, passed the inhaler and spacer to the nurse, and retreated to the corner of the room (facing away from the scene) and cried. I told the nurse, "You need to be the demon right now." She was.
  • Each time anyone in scrubs entered Esky's vicinity for the next two days, she clawed her way into my lap and tree frogged until they left the room, or their required assessments were complete.
  • With some, Esky initiated "Show and Tell," and became almost comfortable with stethoscopes and thermometers.
  • With others, she was tearful and afraid.
  • Juggling a tearful and afraid 2-year-old with a nursing 8-week-old is torture.
  • I would rather have been in unmedicated labour again.
  • I longed for Haki.
  • Haki longed for his girls.
  • Friends and family made all the difference.
Other things I am grateful for:
  • Free healthcare.
  • I get to bring my girls home; being in that ward I couldn't help but think of the many parents who don't. Seeing Esky don her identification "bracelet" and be wheeled down hospital halls was imagery I hardly knew what to do with. My heart goes out to families who make homes of hospitals everywhere...or who go home alone.
  • The moment Esky regained her appetite.
  • Esky being so darn delightful. The resident "toy specialist" said, "You're quite a chatterbox, aren't you?" Esky put her palm to her chest and replied, "No, I'm just [Esky.]" This was one of many, many times that I smiled and then winced at her cuteness - because being near that much cute sometimes hurts. After some steriods and sleep, Esky made a playground of our room - playing "I-Spy" out the window, dressing dolls on the bed, and reading books again and again. I loved when she called one pediatrician back to sing "Polly put the kettle on," to her, as though it was an urgent message.
  • Being fed and watered and cleaned up after. I even like the food - I don't care what people say - when you're dog tired and someone serves you a hot lunch, it's delicious. The end.
  • That I grabbed so many of the right things on the way out the door; comfort objects matter.
  • Ivy managing her illness so well. Esky and Ivy both have runny noses - Esky "respiratory sensitivity" was set off by a small virus...Ivy has breastmilk washing her pipes clean. Ivy may be waking more often to do just that, but she slept - plenty. Interrupted sleep beats pacing with a crying child, any night. Gazing at a peaceful infant as a slipped in and out made the waking for Esky's regular treatment so. much. easier.
  • Spooning...even on a narrow hospital cot; and
  • Having had so much practise at staying in the clothes I slept in.
So, with a babe under each arm, all in one (significantly larger) bed, I count my blessings. Our body clocks may be messed up, but our lives are not. I am grateful.

And now, for more pictures from my phone.

Esky seemed happier when we left the room we were assigned in E.D. Can you blame her? Check out the murals therein:

Sorry, dear painter, but these characters don't exactly instill confidence. That last blue...thing...is pleading for peace because he knows he looks like he should be exterminated.

Waiting to be picked up, my glorious girls:

And one older shot - this was taken the last time we went to the airport to meet Papa after a business trip.

And that, my dear friends, pretty much sums up how I feel about his return tomorrow morning.


P.S. My dad is still staying here, peop's. And when he's not, you should know I keep a 5-iron under my bed.
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