Monday, October 22, 2012

Hospitals and howler monkeys

There are things that seem easy then there's things that actually are easy. After four days of rotating hospital shifts with Husband-cat for Toddler Flails-a-lot sudden respiratory distress I thought having her home would be a cake walk. No more pesky staff waking her up at 4am to empty trash cans (morons) or give her meds two minutes after she went to sleep (not morons, but damn…). All I had to do was give her four puffs of her inhaler every four hours for two days. Easy, peasy, right? (shut up)

Husband-cat could do a time or two, but as he was busting ass making up work for all the time he spent in the hospital, plus prepping for an important business trip this week, he was out as an alternate. There were positives, Toddler Flails-a-lot didn't have to be awake to get her inhaler medication and when she was awake she was pretty easygoing about the whole affair.

I was really convinced it would be simple.

It was not.

First day, not too bad. Toddler Flails-a-lot decided she liked the first couple puffs of the inhaler and then run away for the last two, laughing. First night, I sneak into the nursery and almost immediately step on the monkey.
My nemesis
This fucking monkey howls. Not once, not twice, but four friggin' times. Not low howls, but screams. I immediately freeze like she would somehow fail to see me by the light of her nightlight. No, that's not a giant person, coming to give you medication, it's a tiny shadow you should totally ignore…

Thank God, she was completely exhausted and didn't move a muscle. Eventually I accepted the miracle and snuck to her crib. Turns out being hopped up on adrenalin doesn't make pressing an inhaler tube against a sleeping child's face easy. Every time she twitched I dove for cover, laid prone on the ground for a couple of seconds before peeping over the edge of the crib to see if she was awake. Those four puffs took years off my life.

That was the 8:15 pm dose. Then there was the 12:1 5am dose, no drama. At 4:15 am, she woke up and I held her (and silently cursed) until 5 am. By 8:15 am I wanted to throw myself out of a window. Not ours, they are too low to the ground, a higher one. I was borderline hallucinating and remembering what the first six months of having a baby was like.

Not every family member is as happy as I am we're back, if she presses her face any harder into the pillow she'll smother.
This is where the true importance of having a close knit community matters when you have children. Husband-cat took over a dose so I could sleep for a few hours. Mother Magoo came over and distracted clingy baby so I could eat and bathe. Friends sent "I love you" messages/texts and visited with food. With their love and support I got through both nights and now we're down to "as needed" with the inhaler.

It is when you are scraped thin to the snapping point that love makes all the difference. My baby went from a cold to a sudden respiratory "issue" (basically her body overreacted to a common cold she had an acute asthmatic event even though she doesn't have asthma). Runny nose one day, ambulance the next day. The docs say this is part of the growing process, it can happen again, but stops at four years old. Also that it may never happen again and all we can do is be mindful when she gets sick. Not the kind of news any parent wants to hear, but I know I have a loving safety net to rely on to get me through and that takes the edge off the worry, stress, and exhaustion.

Toddler Flails-a-lot is on the mend, she happy and (almost) healthy. This week has left me discombobulated but held by love. I have my baby and I know where firm ground is. Sometimes that's all there is.

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