Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday October 12 - Balloons and Bubbles

Tara and Quinn sleep in. Unusual for Tara, who is usually the first up. I let them sleep.

I finish writing the weekend entry for the journal while they sleep. It gets me thinking about Quinn. I try and put myself in his shoes and think what it must be like to be 7 years old and have your Daddy so sick. I try to recall the adult conversations he has probably overheard and I imagine what conclusions he might have drawn from them. I shudder to think how his young mind is getting thought this maze of emotions.

When we get to your room, you are asleep. The children play as quietly as children can play. They brought with them a big orange balloon, they found yesterday at the field hockey game. It was an escaped balloon from a wedding decoration near the Dalhousie game field. They take turns bouncing the balloon about the room. Quinn uses his devil stick to act as a bat and they play a little Balloon baseball. As the game continues the noise level increases and you wake up.

Quinn hits the ball your way. You try to catch it with your right hand. Not easy to do, because the balloon is so big. You eventually grasp the balloon by the tied off end and fling it back to Quinn and Tara. They are thrilled that you are playing with them. You have difficulty with using only one hand and Quinn tries to help you. He patiently positions the balloon so you can play. His patient demeanor is the same as when he is playing with 22 month old Maddie. It’s as if he is trying to teach you a new trick.

I hope this doesn’t make you feel bad. It seems to help Quinn to help you.

Your nurse of the day, arrives. She wants to catheterize you and get you in your chair. She asked us to leave. “I prefer that you leave.” I suppose she is right – the children probably don’t want to see the procedure. When we get back, you are in your chair. The nurse gives me a little lecture on the feeding pump and how I shouldn’t touch it. “Really, it’s a just a pump. I have been doing this for the past 4 weeks. I suppose I could call you so you could hook him back up to the pump but that takes you away from someone else and it usually takes some time to respond – then he misses feeding time.” I reply sharply.

I’m a little miffed at her attitude. I expect she is a ‘by–the-book’ nurse. And, in her world, rules are rules. You two belong to the same club – both of you go by the book.

After rereading some of the journal, I realize I was a little hard on the medical staff a few weeks ago. To many of the nurses, you are Chris and they know how you got here. To those that know your story, you are a bit of a celebrity on the floor. I expect the nurses who have taken the time to learn about you, probably know most of their patient’s stories … because that’s the type of nurse they are. Caring and compassionate.

As with every profession, there is the majority, who works because it’s a passion and the minority who labour because it’s a job. I wonder how much the 12 hours shifts take their tow on the young passionate nurse’s attitude, draining away the enthusiasm and leaving behind a different jaded outlook.

Most of the nursing staff are great - because they are - one or two people ruin it for the rest of them. A few weeks ago, I was really stressed – I wrote some things about the hospital staff because of my perceived lack of communication. I even sat on my comments for a couple of days - but I decided to post them anyway ... because I wanted to be true to my feelings - but it's not fair to paint all hospital staff with the same brush. You have been lucky to have so many good nurses.

Once you are in the chair, we wrap you up in a blanket and go for a walk. We find the veteran’s memorial garden next door in the Halifax Infirmary. The garden is a nice change from the hospital. You are asleep most of the walk. The children play hide and seek amongst the bushes. The sun feels good.

We bring you back to your room and while you sleep, I take the children out to lunch. We go down Sackville Street and eat at Timmy’s and cross the street to go back to the Discovery Center.

The children really like the Discovery Center. They learned about pulleys, polaroids and how to build an self supporting arch with a keystone and a bridge. The Discover Center is the type of place where you can learn something new everytime you go in.

We come back for another short visit then say good bye. It’s very hard leaving you when you are awake. I felt incomplete when I walk away, like I’m forgetting something or a part of me.

The drive home seems long.

We go to the house first to check on the chickens. They seem happy in their new space. Then we are off to Wayne and Juanita’s for dinner.

As we get dinner on the table the children are playing outside with bubbles. This is Maddie’s first experience with bubbles. She squealed in delight. Quinn acted foolish trying to burst the bubbles with all of his body parts while Tara blew the bubbles. They had so much fun. I wish you could have seen it.

It reminded me of the one of my birthdays, before kids, when you told me to stay in bed that morning and look out the window. Unknown to me, you were outside the window trying to get bubbles to float up to the window. It didn’t work very well. You got frustrated with your effort. But I still think that was a great birthday present. I don’t remember what else you gave me that year, but I do remember your stubborn bubbles.

It’s a school night –so it’s off to bed. I have a lot of things to do before Tuesday, so I tuck in Tara and Quinn. Quinn is in tears and finds it hard tell me why. I ask in round and about ways to gently pull the reason from him. “I don’t want to die.” He says between sobs. “I don’t want Daddy to die!” I try to assure him that you have made such a good recovery that you would not die now. It doesn’t really console him.

Tara pipes up from her room that “Anything is possible, Someone might stab him with a knife!” Great thanks Tara for that thought. To me, that comment sounded ridiculous but then if you told me 7 weeks ago, we would be living this life, I would have said that’s ridiculous. To Tara, the ridiculous is possible. To Quinn, it doesn’t matter whether it’s ridiculous or real, it is all scary.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh Im sorry this is so hard on you all :(
    I did have to laugh tho at the thought of that nurse telling you not to touch a feeding pump. I would think of all patient families you would be more than capable of a lot of procedure let alone that one :( Power trip?

    Hope you are having a good week!