Sunday, March 08, 2009

March 8, 2009

Art is still in the hospital. There was talk of sending him home yesterday and I said no. I chose my sanity maybe over his health.

Or I chose his health over the ease of having him home.

Wednesday night, our 2:00 am visit to the hospital was scary on a lot of levels.

Level 1: Do we go? Was it a real faint or a passing one? He wasn’t out fully, well, I mean for like not long. Am I thinking clearly?

Level 2: How do I get him there? Ambulance will take him to a different hospital (we are out of Cedar’s jurisdiction), should a friend and I try to get him to the car and hope there is no passing out? Do I call and wake a neighbor or two for important but not life threatening help?

Level 3: Who will stay with the kids? Freaky kid situation: Wake up from a nightmare, going running into your parent’s room and find NEITHER of them there. Wow…that is a lot of therapist hours right. Who do they know, who would be able to reassure them if they did get up? Who doesn’t have kids to attend to on a SCHOOL night? Who can handle their madness?
For over 25 minutes I had no idea who to call. None. Zip.

This is exactly why offering specific kinds of help is so crucial. The old “if there’s anything you need” just fades into the background in a crisis. I can’t remember who even offered to do “anything!” I can’t process what you mean by “anything.”

For 25 minutes, while I’m getting dressed, calling the cancer center and minding Art, I have no frickin’ idea what to do about the kids. Take them with me?

I remember my friend Rach. And I remember on Wednesday nights her son is with his father. I remember that I called her another time on a Wednesday night and she helped me. It was 12:30 am when I called her. It was 1 am when she got to my house.

So when they talked about letting Art come home with nary a white blood cell in his body, I said no. Then they said “Home is better than here.”

And I thought yes they are right.

The protectionist started screaming. She has been more active lately and I am grateful to her.

“Who will you call? Who will you call if he spikes a fever at home at 2:20 in the morning?”

And “You have three sick kids at home. Are you nuts?! The only sleep you’ve gotten in two nights is the hour you spent swinging in the hammock at 4:30 am with a croupy 6 year old.”

And “You’ll be the nurse from HELL at home. You’ll take his temp every hour afraid to doze off for fear that a fever will sneak up on him and when you awake it will be too late. The exhaustion will make you hysterical. Oh and take a moment to thank the well meaning but stupid doctor who informed me that that previous statement is not an exaggeration like I had thought. So friggin’ comforting.

And then I visit Art today and I feel like a fool. He looks fine, healthy and cheerfully bald.

And then he tells me.

“I spiked a small fever last night.”

And there is a good ole’ back-slapping fest going on in my head. And I can’t help but smile at the news.


  1. Anonymous7:44 AM

    Listen to the protectionist - otherwise known as your gut. After all the socialization about being "caring" that young girls soak up from their mothers' milk, after all the advice based on science and experience that doctors offer, after all the logically listed pros and cons - your gut knows best.


  2. Yes, You CAN call us at 2 a.m. Yes, you CAN bring your kids to our house at 2 a.m. (or ask us to come get them). Yes, we WILL make sure they get to school and have some sense of their needs being met, as much as we can, and you can call us every 30 minutes on the cell to make sure you feel sure. Don't hestitate or second-guess. This is what we're on here on this planet for, after all. Our best wishes for Art.

  3. Kim
    I live 5 seconds from you and would be available to help you so YES you can call me...I give you permission.

  4. Liz Perry12:26 AM

    Add me to the "specifically, you can call me during the night" list. I'd leave my kids home alone and come help yours if they can't be alone for a while, given the stress of it all right now. I'd just leave a note telling them I had to run out to help Pallas and her family so sleep or call me if they needed to-- they'd sleep through, or read the note and be fine with it. Also, our after-school caregiver now rents my third bedroom anyway, plus their dad has them every other night (though which nights varies).