Wednesday, December 31, 2003

I feel like I've been to hell and back.

on december 17th I took my four year old to the ER in mississippi, where we were visiting family for an early yule celebration. he'd been sick since the previous afternoon with fever and vomiting.
Liam got a quick diagnosis of meningitis, and
then spent about 36 hours in the NICU, until the diagnosis could be narrowed down. By Thursday evening, he was coherent enough to begin voicing his passionate dismay at the whole situation and we could see then that
there was no doubt of him pulling through. The treatment involved a ten day stay, though, so
they moved us into the pediatric ward and there we stayed. Liam got better fast -- it was one of the many surreal aspects of the whole thing.

I think it was friday afternoon - our second day in the ward - that my sister
went out and bought a tv/vcr combo for us and installed it in his room along with many videos, some of which I would never allow under ordinary circumstances. but that it was this is. it is unlimited access to offensive disney videos and hormone laden chocolate milk from enslaved cows. it is letting him hold the remote. it is whatever he wants, whatever gets us through.

there was one nurse who made a comment about the video watching each time she comes in, she seemed to think he was watching too much tv and I'd always bite my tongue while thinking, lady, I have here a kid who, as soon as he was well enough to know what was what, spent much of the day crying about how much he wanted to go home.
if watching videos all day keeps him from counting the hours, what's it to you? of course the same nurse made an uneasy comment about "all of the witchraft" in harry potter, so, yeah... whatever.

When he was not watching his favorite movies
(those would be Little Bear,
Harry Potter, Kiki's Delivery Service, and, much to my chagrin, The Road to El Dorado (what was rosie perez thinking with that movie?)), Liam enjoyed walking the halls, playing with the adjustable bed controls, and... opening mail! We were lucky enough to get lots of letters and packages from friends and relatives.

I fended off the attentions of the hospital chaplain several times. this was our conversation on december 22:

him: how much does your baby understand about
me: well, not much because we don't celebrate
him: oh, you're jehova's witnesses?
me: no, we're unitarian universalists.
him: oh... well, I am not familiar with
unitarians, but I'll respect
your religion.
me: thanks.
him: I'll keep praying for you.
me: thanks.

all of this time, Liam was growling at him. half an hour later we respectfully declined a group of candystripers who wanted to come into
the room for some bedside carolling.

now, we're home, having a quiet new year's eve and Liam is fully recovered, energetic and completely back to normal. me, I feel like my head is floating somewhere above me, like the stress and fear of this whole adventure is only beginning to settle on me like a big weight.

I'm tired.

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