Nothing says celebrating the 4th of July like some more time at the children’s hospital, right? We have spent so many holidays here this year that one of the kindhearted nurses in the ER said to us, “Hey, didn’t I see you all here on Memorial Day or Father’s Day or maybe both?” We are on a first name basis with way too many providers.
I really want to write about how much time we had together in the woods this weekend. How we sat in the cool wet sand together at Lake Minnetonka near the edge of the water. About how we are showing our children the best parts of being alive.
But really, Cedar and I got the stomach flu starting on Friday night and took turns between laying on the tiled floor of our bathroom and parenting. Shabbat shabarf. And now we are back at the hospital. E.’s issues are unrelated to the bug that we had, and thankfully, so very thankfully, she didn’t catch it.
E. has really been struggling for about a week. Too much throwing up. We tried all kinds of things from home, being the untrained nurses that we are (of course, we were also consulting with her doctors), but we just couldn’t get her stabilized. So we came in to the hospital try a new intervention called the G-J tube. The J part goes into her intestines, bypassing the stomach.
We’ve been here for three days, trying to get it all sorted out. E. is doing okay—she’s as strong as anyone I’ve ever met, and twice as sweet. She’s spending most of the days flirting with the nursing staff and smiling. Plus looking through the same five books we have here, over and over and over again.
We’d like the vomiting to stop completely but it has not, so now she is throwing up bile. It may not stop for a while. I don’t know. The doctor said that it is likely from being malnourished, and that she can go home today regardless.
It will be good to go home, but going home also means that we manage this ourselves. And at three AM and six AM and then again at eight, when our girl is throwing up and crying and it is Cedar and I deciding what to do next and when and how, it gets pretty scary.
Though, even through it all, I feel the presence of something bigger than us. And no, I’m not talking about the presence of a really good doctor.
I just want time to pass so that we are less and less indoors under medical supervision and more and more outside under the summer sun. In the closest proximity possible to plants that smell like fresh green earth, like life.
Later, as time passes, things will be different. We will be different.
As soon as I can, maybe even tomorrow, I’m going take my girl down to the creek and dip her little stubby toes in the water. And someday, our whole family will go out together to our favorite bakery, and we will share chocolate chip cookies— we will all eat those cookies—and talk about anything at all. It will be us together, noshing and talking and laughing (and most likely, with A. in tow, a little bit of boisterous yelling, and maybe a few looks from the other, more subdued customers). And then someday, when E. learns to use those two tiny legs of hers, maybe someday, we will all tromp through a meadow together.
I can’t wait to be on the other side of this and tell you all about those kind of adventures. I can’t wait to be a storyteller of all of that.