It is a beautiful wintry day here in the mountains and I much prefer to watch the snowflakes fall from my own windows, rather than the flakes that fell in Baltimore last week, though it really was a lovely view from nine floors up in the hospital too. That sentence structure was awful, but I don’t care. This is free-flow writing and there you have it. Awful stuff.
Corrigan is home from Hopkins and nearly fully recovered. His eyes are still red and he looks like he has not slept for a week, though in all honesty he has been sleeping great. I was concerned about an issue with his legs, it was noticeable once he was allowed out of bed, but it seems to have resolved itself. It is always scary after a metabolic crisis, we never really know what the impact is of these brief elevated ammonias, but thankfully Corrigan doesn’t ever seem to lose much ground and recovers fairly quickly.
A few thoughts from our time in the hospital last week:
1. Ambulance rides are the worst. I am still baffled as to why he was flown by rescue helicopter in October, when his ammonia was a stable 60 (after a quick bolus of emergency meds) yet with an ammonia of 295 this week, he was put in an ambulance for transport. Weather was not an issue, the whirlybirds were flying that day, and he was in far more danger this time. There needs to be some consistency there.
I spent the entire ambulance ride praying that I would not puke on Corrigan. If I closed my eyes for even 2 seconds my head would spin and God forbid I attempt to look at the road out of the side or rear windows. I have never been so car sick in my entire life, but I made it without embarrassing myself. Barely. No lie.
Corrigan had a miserable run downstate, as he was highly agitated from the effects of the ammonia- screaming for the first 67 minutes of the trip and ripping at his tubing (never once opening his eyes)- and still vomiting often too. The transport nurse and I kept our eyes on him the entire ride, blocking his hands from pulling something out, and working together to get him to a somewhat upright position, despite being strapped down for transport, and turned to the side when he was sick so that he would not aspirate.
I climbed out of that ambulance soaked in stress-sweat, splattered with someone else’s vomit and ready to find some shrubs to heave into myself. I was a hot mess. Oh hello, four thousand people who want to talk to me immediately, ask me important details and provide medical history, Sure I can sign that stack of forms and initial here, here, here and here. I just need to hold onto this wall until my legs stop shaking…can you give me a second? And maybe some zofran?
2. We have not had cable television for almost six years now, so I rarely get the chance to see commercials, and therefore have no idea what is in the stores for sale, or what new cars look like, or even what is on the menu at restaurants. I also have little idea about most newer television shows, I tend to watch my old favorites on Hulu but never really look into anything new. Except for the Blacklist. Oh man, James Spader is just my favorite.
Presented with 40 channels of hospital television viewing, it was easier to just put it on TVLand when Corrigan was snoring away during his ammonia nap, or when he wasn’t watching cartoons when he woke. I watched countless episodes of The Cosby Show and I have a completely different appreciation for that show now that I am a seasoned parent. Cliff and Claire Huxtable were amazing parents and the chemistry between Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad was just undeniable, I still can’t believe they were not married off-screen, they were that believable. And the respect that they had for each other, the unbreakable team that they were in order to be the best parents they could be, well…there’s not a whole lot of respect in the marriages portrayed in what little I see on tv anymore. It was refreshing.
Also, the Brady Bunch. I watched a lot of that too. I remember thinking that the Brady parents were so old but whoa…Florence Henderson was just 35 years old when the show first aired! Younger than I am now! And their maid, Alice? An old lady, right? Grandma-like? Ha, she was just 43 years old when the show began! Only a few years old than me! Also, Ellen Degeneres is a dead-ringer for Alice, both in facial features and expressions. I feel like that last sentence needs an exclamation mark to keep up with the theme of this paragraph. Here, here’s another (!)
(exciting stuff I am talking about here, right? Hospital thoughts are boring ones)
3. WHY does housekeeping come in after 10pm to change the trashbags? Seriously, I nearly killed a man for knocking on our door like a hyped-up DEA agent at 10:20 pm, just ten minutes after I finally got Corrigan to sleep after a restless day that began at 4am, who not only woke him with his heavy-fisted appearance but then took the trashbin out into the hallway to put in the bag, and left the door wide-open so that the hall light blared in his face.
I’m not a violent woman but…I’m pretty sure a judge would have forgiven me my actions had my left arm not been wedged (and asleep) underneath Corrigan’s exhausted body.
4. The nurses are so amazing with Corrigan. One particular nurse is one of those people perfectly suited for pediatric nursing and really interacts with Corrigan, tickling him and showing him affection. I suppose he felt he had to make their relationship more formal, as she leaned in once when doing vitals and he sternly said, “No kissy!” (she hadn’t ever, but you know, you have to lay down boundaries with the ladies, I suppose)
5. Cream of Wheat is my hospital comfort food. I’ve told you that before. Just letting you know that hasn’t changed. Because how else will you sleep at night without knowing?
6. When Corrigan was hospitalized in October, my hospital bags were a wreck. Corrigan had mostly grown out of his hospital clothes, which wasn’t a huge deal until he stood up and all of his pants were suddenly capris, but there were many other things I needed during that visit that I didn’t have so I kept a running list while there and when we got home I completely revamped my hospital bag system. I was so pleased with myself and anticipated not needing anything when I grabbed them to run out of town this time, but wrong again.
Thank you Dad for purchasing the embarrassing things that I needed. I mean, I am not embarrassed I needed them but I know its probably not super fun to buy them. Even though you always have, without complaint, since I was young. Because you’re awesome.
I also ran out of quarters for the coffee machine, need to add a light, long-sleeved cardigan to my bag, and need to figure out a way to smuggle a King Sized pillow in my already overstuffed bag because hospital pillows are 1 inch thick and apparently more rare than an albino gorilla. Don’t request another, you know- so that if combined your head might actually experience a 3% incline, they will judge you with their eyes for asking.
What do you mean you want another pillow, do you hate babies????
7. Child Life is amazing. I consider the Child Life Specialist on that unit my friend, she has supported Corrigan since he was just days old, and always remembers his favorite toys and brings them to him right away. She sings and plays with him, and comes in daily to rotate out one day’s toys for different ones so that boredom is not an issue. She’s also really easy to talk to, and doesn’t seem to mind my ugly-cry face. BFF’s 4-Life.
8. Corrigan has to go for labs on Monday morning and will get back to school for a few days before another long break for the holidays. He was, as always, a good patient and while there were some tough moments, he proved, once again, that he is an amazing little boy. I am just so proud of him.
I suppose that is enough free-flow writing for today. Sorry for the blathering. What matters is that Corrigan is home! Corrigan is better! Corrigan is awesome!