When I was a child, I hated school. Now that I am a grownup, I scold my inner child Melanie, and tell her how much fun school really is! She should listen to me, go back in time, and change all those Freddie's to Alice's. Got that? : )
Anyway, in the disconcerting way that children think, any time I would see, or hear about any child who got to "miss" school, from Olympian child gymnasts to those sweet, sad kids with cancer, my first thought was always; "dang! Those kids don't have to go to school! Lucky." (I, of course, was a child who did not always think those situations through very...thoroughly)
And yet. Not a sniffle did I get. Over the years, I missed many, many days of school, yes, but my illnesses were only of the kid from E.T. variety. You know, thermometer to the light bulb.....oh wait, I once had a burned tongue.
So, I was disgustingly healthy as a child and nary a hospital bed did I ever sprawl across.
In the grand tradition of jinxing yourself, be careful what you wished for, what goes around comes around, life bites you in the tooshie....the previously mentioned situation now plagues my children. They are not old enough to miss school yet, but if they continue the way they are going, they will. With odd illnesses, not the garden variety ones.
Kurt, honest to blog, (haha, another expression I was waiting to use one day) started the March of the Patients with a trip to the hospital when he was 17 months old.
He was being circumcised for the second time. A story that needs no further details. Except that since he was older, he had to be put under anesthesia, and as a mother, I am personally very proud of the fact that that medicine got him higher than Everest. I got to watch him discover his hand! Again, and again, and again.
Kyle got RSV last December, and he and Cleve are currently tied two for two for trips to the Emergency Room.
Cleve just spent the last two days in a hospital bed. I just spent two days in a hospital chair. I now know what decapitation feels like.
Before I go on, I have no pictures of my children looking adorable in their hospital gowns! I have never quite felt right about that scenario.
Child, "Mom, I feel sick.....my tummy hurts.....am I being punished for not sharing?.....Mom....."
Me, "Oh honey, I am so sorry.....but you look so cute! Say Enema for the camera! Click!"
Please take my poll to the right, so I know if I am silly or not. Maybe if the majority of people say yes, then I will finally get to show you how cute my children look in hospital gowns!
Ok, on with my story.
So, Cleve's story begins with some problems with his intestines. Not serious, just a small symptom that shouldn't be there. It does warrant a trip to the ER, though, (one last year, and now this one) and during these last two days, Ive really gotten to live that childhood dream through my son! All those fun times I envisioned were experienced by Cleve, and by vicarious virtue of being his legal guardian, by me!
It begins with the absence of all normal routines. Together, we traveled to the ER around 8 pm on Thursday night. The first fun time of a trip to the hospital was the doing away with a bedtime! Cleve got to stay up until 2:30 that morning before finally drifting off! I am sure you can imagine how much FUN it was for me to also miss out on sleep! Hooray!
Then, an ambulance ride! Granted, it wasn't an emergency, just a transfer from one hospital to another, and no flashing sirens. But still, an ambulance ride! Cleve lived this exciting moment asleep, and strapped in his car seat upon the gurney, but I, getting to still miss bedtime at 4 am, was able to experience every tiny movement of the van as the speed accustomed driver tore across lanes and took corners on two wheels instead of four! As a constantly paranoid mother, again, you can imagine the sheer appreciation shining in my eyes!
When we got to the hospital, the lifelong fantasy continued to delight as together, we got to sleep in new places! Cleve in a cage, (literally, I wish I would just break down and take a photo) and me in a chair! I was able to keep Cleve amused with my talents as a contortionist. Every time he opened his eyes, my toes would be pointed somewhere new. Up, down, sideways, behind my head, it was always a surprise.
In my kid imagination, I sensed that, after I was done celebrating missing school, I would discover how exciting a hospital stay was! As an adult, this detail presented itself in full force. Throughout both nights we were there, were we disappointed by long, silent, boring nights? No way, man! How fun would sleeping for hours with no interruption be? Definitely lame.
So we were eager beavers every time the vital signs nurses came around to poke and prod us into happy awareness. We were thrilled every time one of the IV poles would start shrilly beeping for no apparent reason every 10 or 15 minutes. And what were our reactions to the two newborn babies sharing our room who expressed their love/rage at the world almost the entire night? Why, jubilant enthusiasm of course!
When the night became day, I began to see why exactly as a kid I was so enthralled by the idea of trading school for a fun, exciting trip to the hospital. I knew Cleve was right there with me, loving every minute of it. That feeling did not fade as we headed into a day jam packed with party popping activities. We did it all together. Fellow moms will understand what I mean when I say that, because when it happens to your kid, it happens to you. So, together, we participated in an enchanting barium enema! This was followed by numerous relaxing blood draws, and a lovely x-ray. Between the fun, Cleve and I joined in the hospital's dinner theater. Every time we got a tray, we laughed and joked as we tried to solve the mystery of what was on the plate. I think once we guessed correctly (boiled ham) and got a prize! We have the clear plastic, oddly shaped container the nurse presented to Cleve after lunch with the appropriate here's your prize words of "enjoy using this!" sitting on our mantle now!
So, was "missing school" via a hospital trip everything I always thought it would be? Heck yeah baby!!!! Haven't I shown you the fun we had? And its not over yet! We got the awesome news that the tests they did were "inconclusive" so we get to go back next week for more! Hooray!
So long School! Sleep! Recognizable Food! Bed! Boring Silence! Who needs ya! Not us! We cant wait to skip out on our normal life for the endless adventures waiting for us at that big sterile amusement park they call a hospital!
Note: I just had a vision! I foresaw Cleve getting a certificate of perfect school attendance from the principal. I saw myself suggesting a day off from school and Cleve running for the hills! Hmmm...odd.
I drew this on the 15th, in the kids ward playroom. All joking aside, that playroom is so great. Its so sad when kids have to be sick that its as equally awesome for them to have a little room of cool stuff for them, and their parents obviously, to go play with and forget about their bodies for a little while.
Note the "cage" in the corner that Cleve slept in. It's seriously a cage. I did not draw the chair, as in my imagination it was being mangled and stuffed into a metal compactor.