Its Sunday. I finally have the energy to post some pictures from our hospital experience three days ago!
Am I a huge baby, or is taking your three-year-old to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas for an MRI of her brain *supposed* to suck the life out of you?
Because it did, and I’m drained….physically, emotionally, and in all other ways. I want to sleep for days. These pictures don’t really convey what an exhausting, stressful day this was for us.
But enough about me. Let me tell you how Annie’s day went.
We started out driving 60-ish miles to Sulphur Springs to take my sweet KB to her grandparents’ house. I felt so bad for her…..she’s really worried about her baby sister and doesn’t quite know how to express it. She so wanted to come with us to the hospital. Begged. Promised she wouldn’t be bored, sigh, or ask how much longer?
And still, we wouldn’t let her come.
We drove on to Murphy, Texas and spent the night with Aunt Dinah, Uncle Daren, and cousins Daphne and Dawson. They have been SO good to us, and generously let us crash in their guest room, and even took us out to dinner…..and I think I forgot to write them a thank-you note. Note to self: write them a thank you note this time…
The next morning (Thursday), we got up super early and arrived at Children’s at 7:30 a.m. Its a wonderful place….and a horrible place. I hate the sight of it. I’m glad its there, don’t get me wrong; its just a really bad and frightening place to go with your child.
This is the entrance where we checked in for the last MRI, and as it turns out, this one was scheduled in a whole different part of the hospital. We walked for what seemed like miles. And then several more miles when the second place we went was the wrong place as well. Our day wasn’t off to a good start. This hospital is the size of a small city.
Finally: we arrived at Radiology registration and Annie got yet another hospital bracelet attached to her little arm. For her, this part is fun.
And then we waited. And Annie watched the fish.
And sucked her thumb and twirled her hair.
Then, a nurse came and got us from the waiting room and weighed Annie. And Annie sucked her thumb and twirled her hair.
We were taken to a hospital room where, you guessed it, we waited some more. Annie entertained herself with the wheeled stool.
They measured her the oxygen in her blood. Why is that number important, anyway? My medical friends….what does that number tell you? Just curious.
Annie liked how her thumb glowed with a red light.
For a child who has such a happy attitude, rarely cries and never complains about all of this….every once in a while, I would catch this look on her face and I felt sorry for her, because she doesn’t deserve this. But I didn’t let her know that lest she start thinking and behaving like she’s some kind of victim or something. 😉
And then…..more waiting. The very kind nurse let Annie have her blood pressure cuff and the little ox-sat-thingy, and she entertained us and herself by checking our vital signs.
…then she sat on her stool and type-type-type-typed all the numbers into her *computer.* Her computer, there, on the wall…. I think she may have a future in a medical career…. She certainly enjoyed pretending to be a nurse after our nurse left the room.
She smoothed the sheets on the bed, exactly as she had seen the nurse do. Maybe its just because I’m her mom, but I thought this was all pretty dadgum cute.
The best toy? A pair of gloves. We snitched some and brought them home (one pair!) along with her blood pressure cuff and paraphernalia; they were gonna throw it away anyway, and now Annie can play doctor at home.
And then, Annie got her first hospital gown. I have no idea why; she was allowed to wear her own clothes for the last 2 MRIs.
And then….we waited some more. And Annie sucked her thumb and twirled her hair. I’m beginning to see a pattern here…
Finally. The moment arrived. Her anesthesiologist came into the room, explained the procedure, blah blah blah, asked if we had any questions, blah blah blah, and took her into the MRI room. I kissed her on the cheek. They strapped a mask to her face and I was ushered out of the room as she began to cry for the first time. These doors slammed shut behind me as I was instructed to come back in one hour.
I can’t stand it when she cries.
I always cry myself. I can’t help it. I sat in the hospital room and cried my eyes clean out.
We killed time in the hospital Starbucks ~ yes, they have a Starbucks inside ~ that plays fake, overly-cheerful music loudly on the speakers. I mean, really, who are they trying to kid? Like that music is REALLY going to cheer you up when your baby is out cold having an MRI to measure the size of the tumor in her brain.
Caramel Macchiatos are good for curing some problems in life, but they’re no wonder drug.
Especially as you sit in the Starbucks inside Children’s Medical Center watching the other distraught, weary, glassy-eyed parents who you know are going through worse situations than your own.
Ugh, Children’s is a horrible place.
They transport very sick kids around in wagons. Another attempt at false cheerfulness….like this is all ‘fun’. A fun little wagon-ride on a summer day. Yeah right.
I’m still haunted by all the bald children. I watched one little boy, 2 years old or so, being wheeled away in his wagon, his face the swollen and puffy face of a terminal cancer patient, and he looked right at me with huge sad eyes. I could see it in his face that his entire life has been a grueling battle and he’s losing. His little face has kept me up the last few nights.
I have let this tumor consume me and beat me half to death. I have felt sorry for myself, cried, whined, and played the victim. I’ll admit I’ve been angry at God even for letting this happen to us in the first place, and then for not dissolving this tumor miraculously like I’ve begged him countless times to do.
And then I think of little children like this little boy, how sick he must be, how lots and lots of kids check into Children’s and never check out again, and the pain and heartbreak parents like his are suffering.
And it makes me ashamed of myself for complaining about my exhaustion and stress and ‘hard day’ when at least my child gets to come home.
So I’m going to force myself to thank God for the blessings here: my child is alive. My child most likely does not have cancer. My child’s tumor has not grown since we started watching it 5 months ago. My child doesn’t have to have chemo or radiation or surgery yet. Her tumor isn’t affecting anything or causing any symptoms at this point. My child can live a happy, normal life for now.
Thank you, Lord.
PS. After we left the hospital, we drove back to Sulphur Springs to pick up KB and bring her home. I overheard Annie in the back seat telling her big sister, in not so many words, that she so missed out by having to stay behind at the grandparents’ house because “going to the hospital is soooooo fun.” If only we all had her perspective. 😉