I should be at work today doing speech therapy with the kids on my caseload. Instead, I'm sitting in a dark room listening to Pete breathe. I love listening to the sound of one of my kids sleeping. When they were little I'd hold them and it would relax me and make me feel at peace. I haven't listened to Pete sleep in a long time. I've seen Pete asleep. When he falls asleep on the couch or in the backseat of the car, but I haven't listened in a long time.
He's in lots of pain and yesterday his sleep was fitful and scary because his heart rate, respiration, pulse ox and blood pressure monitor would set off alarms and set us all on edge. He moaned in his sleep and more than once a tear would roll out his eye and down his cheek without him even aware of it. Today, he seems a little more at ease. He still occasionally moans or complains that he is uncomfortable, but the soft breathing, gentle snoring are the sounds I remember from his babyhood. I'm glad to get to hear those again. Pete still has a long road ahead- healing is hard work.
Yes nurse, you are in charge here. We are on your turf. Coming into this intensive care unit with a very hurt 16 year old boy has knocked me off my game a bit. Our priority is getting him well, so we'll do what it takes. I know we aren't your typical family. Having two moms and two dads is weird, not what this Catholic hospital is programmed to handle. But when you said to me: "No, the real MOM needs to be here." I may have remained quiet but know this.....
I was there when this child was conceived, I felt his kicks while he was inside the womb. I was there in the elevator of this very hospital as we rode to the birthing center the day he was born. I touched his hair when it still had amniotic fluid on it. You met him 4 minutes ago as he was wheeled in here broken and hurt.
I taught him to talk, to walk, to ride a bike and to drive that truck that he just wrapped around a pole. I enrolled him in the school he left without permission to get himself snack mix for lunch. I have kissed ouchies, bandaged boo-boos, removed bee stingers and splinters and taken him to more doctor and dentist appointments then I can count. I can tell you what happened and how he got every little scar on his body and give you more of his medical history than he could on his best day.... And this is not his best day.
I will be quiet and let you care for this boy so I can have my son back.... But be careful what you call me. And if you catch me on another day when I'm not scared and my kid isn't laying on that gurney... I'll be ready and you will know what the word Mom really means and what happens when you cross a real mom.
With the new truck
(**This incident happened with the very first SICU nurse we came across. I have to say every other nurse at St. Joes was respectful of our family and down right friendly. More important than that, our son got excellent care and I am grateful to every single one of them. But that first nurse made me hurt in ways no one with a loved one dealing with an injured patient should be hurt.)
I remember the "My First Weather Station" thermometer we had
in the kitchen when the kids were little. It had an image of a boy in the
display that dressed according to the temperature. So when we first plugged it
in and it was 80° the little fellow was wearing a bathing suit and a smile
ready to dive in a swimming pool. As summer turned to fall the little guy moved
from shorts into long pants. In late fall the temperature in Michigan dropped
to 45° our little display was wearing a long coat, boots, scarf and wool cap.
At that point we lost all respect for our weather boy. In
Michigan we don’t pull out the hat and gloves until it is at least freezing.
And the long coat… at 45 degrees? The kids immediately changed his name to “wimp
boy” instead of weather boy and every morning they all got up to check to see
if he was overdressed. Poor kid, he just wasn’t used to our Michigan weather.
I am packed. This was no small feat. I have 39 pounds of
things in this backpack…. Including about 3 liters of water. I have no idea how
in the hell I will carry it as far as I need to. I put the pack on in my
bedroom and walked out to the kitchen…. I thought I was going to die. The first
day of my hiking trip we are scheduled to walk 4 miles. That is just to the
campsite. These gung-ho women I am traveling with will probably want to go further
and farther than that. I may be in serious trouble here.
There were many packing questions I had that I just had to
guess at. Like: how much toilet paper does one person go through in 6 days? I
have no idea….. maybe I could have Googled it- but I really feel they would
just be guessing too. I have one extra outfit in my bag and my bathing suit….
But I insisted on 6 pairs of underwear. I do not think this is excessive. I
really like clean underwear, and I just do not want to take fewer pairs and
beat them against a rock and wring them out to dry on this trip.
Macy waited until I was all packed and had everything
crammed into the bag (for the 3rd time) to mention that I should
fill the water bladder to make sure everything fit with the water in it. So I
unpacked everything and filled it. It fit… it just made the bag heavier.
I am concerned that I will not have water, electricity,
bathrooms….. and internet for 6 days. I have no idea how I will fill up the
time. I’m going to keep a journal but I really dislike handwriting everything.
Typing and auto-correct are really the way I like to go now. (My 8th
grade typing teacher would be amazed…. He didn’t think I’d ever learn to type!)
I think I will miss my family even more than flush toilets….
And that is A LOT! I worry about what I will miss at home and what’s going on
in the real world. Also, there are no chairs, I really like chairs. I think
this island should invest in a few picnic tables. I am not sure if I can even
put the pack on from the ground…. And if by some miracle I can get it on, I
wonder if I can get up off the ground with the pack on without some kind of
rope system… or a crane.
Ok, enough of these thoughts. I’m just going to try my best.
Did I mention there are a lot of snakes on this island? Not gonna worry about
it, but I will keep my tent zipped tight! Wish me luck!! Good thoughts and
prayers are very welcome too! J
Dill came running from the bathroom yelling, foaming at the
mouth and eyes wide.
Me: what’s the matter?
Dill: I just brushed my teeth with itch cream!!
Me: What?! You’re all right. Just rinse your mouth out and
brush your teeth with toothpaste.
Pepper: Don’t you people read the tube?!
(I had done the same thing this morning. Pepper put the
cortisone cream on the counter where we usually keep the toothpaste)
Dill: Mom, I’m gonna die!
Pepper: You’ll be fine, Ilene did the same thing this
morning. She’s fine.
Its true, my teeth haven’t itched all day!!
Follow up- Dill started crying and REALLY wanted Poison
Control called. We did. They said IF he swallowed a lot he could have a little
diarrhea, but no other issues to be concerned about… they also called our boy
very young to be such a Drama King…. They pegged him!!
Pepper: I can't sleep.
Me: Why not?
Pepper: I don't know, I was sleeping fine in the car.
Me: I know. Every time the speedometer went over 45 MPH you fell asleep! Then you didn't wake up again until I went below 45!
Pepper: Remember when the kids were little and you would drive them around until they stopped crying and went to sleep?
Pepper: Feel like driving me around until I'm tired?
Pepper: Do you want me to drive you around so you can fall asleep?
Me: You mean, get out of bed and back into the car we've been in all day?
Pepper: ok, good night.
Me: Good night.