I woke from a deep sleep and opened my eyes in a pitch dark room.
“That was NOT knocking on my door I just heard,” I reassured my very sleepy self and turned over to drift….away…..
The door opened slowly.
“Yes?” I said, politely. (I’ve trained myself through the years not to shriek)
“My stomach hurts!” said Sarah’s small voice.
“Are you hungry?”
“I….think so!” she said, uncertainly.
I didn’t realize at the time that she was looking for a different answer and simply wanted to sleep on the couch. But yesterday was another procedure day and she had to miss meals for it and I automatically thought that a stomach ache would make logical sense from lack of food.
It was 5:15 in the morning and soon she was munching on cereal but offered up this piece of information, “Usually when my stomach hurts you say go and sleep on the couch…..”
When the cereal was gone she said, “It still hurts.”
I knew just what to say this time. “Let’s go get you on the couch.”
I asked Rich why she didn’t just get on the couch in the first place rather than wake me up.
“She’s not that type of girl. She needed to get your okay first.”
This is a photo she asked me to take of the Lego man at the hospital. We were there on Wednesday to get her stent removed. Unfortunately, she was very anxious about it and when it came time she started passionately crying. The doctor asked us to come back the next day so she could be sedated. At a children’s hospital every member of the staff knows the very best way to treat their small and vulnerable patients. They explained that because Sarah was so young, it was important for us to avoid any procedure that would cause any lasting fears or trauma. Even something as simple/quick as a stent removal needs to be done thoughtfully and with Sarah’s anxiety reduced as much as possible.
She liked the lego man because he was holding a picture of someone she learned about in school. “It’s a ferret? I mean, a fairy? And if you catch him he will take you to the end of a rainbow for a pot of gold.” This is what she was in the process of explaining when I took the picture.
It was 73 degrees that afternoon and we went to the woods and she played with her animals while I leaned against a solid, friendly pine tree and read a book.
A flock of chickens came walking out of the woods.
“Who’s chickens are those?” she asked, confused because they seemed to have journeyed from far away.
“Ours!” I answered.
She sat next to me and ate an orange and made me shoo away the hens if they came too near. Which they did, because they wanted oranges, too. We threw little bits of peel and laughed when a hen ran to pick it up and then drop it back down again, only to have another hen do the same thing because chickens don’t eat the peels either.
We were directed to not give her food after midnight and to only give her jello, ice pops, gatorade, apple juice, or water up until 11:30. To take our mind off food we went shopping. I don’t take her shopping too often because she absolutely LOVES it. She carefully looks at everything in the store and makes honest, careful decisions about what to buy. I had to remind her yesterday that there are limits and she, after all, has no job.
We went back to the hospital at 2:30. The sedation entailed two syringes of clear fluid inserted into each nostril at the same time, with four of us holding her in position. She sat in my lap as she cried and sniffled and fidgeted with disgust, holding a towel over her nose and mouth to catch any drips. A VERY DREADFUL way to take medicine. But soon it did the trick and she was relaxed and smiling. The stent was removed in less than five seconds and the two of us were absolutely exhausted by the whole ordeal. A whole lot of fuss for a 4 second stent removal. UGH.
After we observed her and gave her a slushy I left her with the nurse and went on my way to the parking garage-6th floor-to get the vehicle and drive it to the hospital entrance where Sarah arrived in a wheelchair. She was confused as to why we wouldn’t let her walk, “Don’t my legs work? Can’t I walk?” “Yes, you’re just a little wobbly right now.” “No, I’m not!”
They said the medicine would make her forget the procedure but I keep waiting for her to forget and she hasn’t. The main purpose of the sedation was to make it less traumatic and it certainly did do that, she was calm and cheerful for the whole rest of the day. We drove through rush hour traffic to the nearest Wendy’s (she always craves a #9 after a doctor’s appointment–which is a grilled chicken sandwich *no fries*) and I got a big waffle cone with strawberry topping from across the road at Sonic. It did it’s part to soothe my nerves.
After we came home she was full of adrenaline and we had to make her stay somewhat quiet. However, this morning she’s all tuckered out. The excitement finally caught up to her. We look forward to a nice day together. (Right now she’s watching Gordimer Gibbons).