Friday, August 14, 2015

the First of Many Firsts

I dropped my baby off at college today and left.  No, I realize it wasn't actual college but it sure felt like it.  It might as well have been college. Today is the first day of her days as a big girl.  She is no longer my little baby who only goes to "school" for a few hours.  No, now she's gone all day. That seems like such a simple sentence, but it's taking a while for it to really sink in.  This morning, I helped her get ready and took her to her first day of kindergarten and left.  I would have stayed had they let me.  Held her hand as we walked right passed all the BIG kids and found some other tiny people that looked lost. We would have found some other little girls that had that same anxious look in her eyes and asked her to play with us.  Instead, all I could do was give her a hug, tell her I loved her, and walk away fighting the tears I refused to let fall until I got to the car.   All morning I've been running through everything in my head; have we given her enough love that she doesn't need the validation of others? Have we given her enough independence that she feels confident enough to stand on her own two feet? Have we taught her how to reason through new problems so that she can make the right choices?  Have we taught her compassion so that she will be able to notice the kids that need a little extra sunshine in their day....and that others will be kind enough to give it back to her? Will she make friends? Will other kids like her?

Peer pressure.  You might think I'm silly for worrying about peer pressure at 5, but it starts somewhere. That first day away from mommy and daddy all day...having to make decisions completely on her own.  It happens over time, very slowly.   Sure, right now it might just be "hey, you shouldn't play with her because she has cooties" but then it's "hey, I don't like her.  We should take her book away!" Next thing you know, "here, try this!"  I realize that she's not gone for good. I understand that today, when I get off work I will go home and she'll be there.  We will talk about her day. She will tell me all the fun new things she did and about all the new kids she played with. We will continue to do this each day.  Hopefully, most days will be good.  She will have only good stories to tell me.  Inevitably, there will be days that aren't as good.  She'll come home and tell me about it and we will talk through it: What happened, how she acted, how she felt and what might be done different or the same next time.  It gives me comfort to know that while she might be more independent after today, she is never ever alone, and the one thing that we both know how to do well is talk :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Lessons on hospital living

It's been a very long, crazy week and when I have long crazy weeks, I take to writing.   Normally, it's in a journal where I can pour out my thoughts and feelings. With this experience though, I feel as if I've taken away some life lessons.  And these life lessons are the ones I can share. Hopefully, you don't already know them and never will, but if you find yourself in a situation where you're forced to live out of a hospital, maybe these will help.

When an emergency happens, whatever has happened or going on in your life stops.  All your energy and time is focused on taking care of that emergency. When you come back to what your life was before, you will have a fresh pair of eyes, roll with it...

Appreciate the little victories.  It's the little ones that allow you to take steps to the big ones!  Any progress is good progress. Celebrate peeing without the help of a catheter! Eating a whole bowl of oatmeal is way better than eating half of a bowl, regardless of the size.

If you know you are going to be staying more than a day, find your spot in the waiting room and claim that bad boy!!   You don't have to be rude about it.  Just leave enough stuff there that says "hey, I know I'm not here at the moment so it's completely acceptable for you to sit in those chairs, but when I get kicked out of my patient's room, y'all are gonna have to move."

Picking the right sleeping spot is paramount!  If you have to choose between a semi-soft chair and a concrete venting ledge, I recommend the ledge. That is, of course, if it's short enough that if you get the urge to jump off it (because you just might,) you don't end up on floor B (otherwise known as the ER). You can bring pillows or blankets from the hospital room to help with the padding and you'll be able to stretch your legs, and you MUST stretch your legs. Bad things happen to your knees and joints when you can't stretch your legs.

If you notice another tiny pseudo home across the waiting room that's been there as long as you have, buy the owner some coffee or something to eat.   It might just be a mother who's teenage daughter is fighting for her life in a coma. She will tell you that she doesn't need anything, but buy it for her anyway.

Look for and appreciate any silver lining you can find. The 6th floor waiting room just might have a wall of windows allowing you to see some of the most breathtaking sunsets.

"Hospital teeth" are a thing. Really.  Even if you can find a bathroom on the floor that's decent enough to brush your teeth, it's just not the same. I don't know if it's the air, the hospital food or what, but just know it'll happen, so bring mints.  The mints probably won't help but bring them anyway.

Pack extra underwear.  And that's all I have to say about that.

A hat and/or bandana can do wonders covering up hair that hasn't been washed in days.  On another note, it's a great start to going "no-poo" if you've been wanting to try that sort of thing (see?..silver lining stuff.)

You CAN get by on concealer and cheap mascara.

Bring concealer.   I know, you can't worry about makeup and all that junk in the hospital, but chica, when you don't sleep longer than two hours at a time, you'll thank me.

It's imperative that you accept help when it is offered.   For some of us, that's really really hard to do, but no one can do it all.

I've heard it over and over, but never understood it until now: the nurses you have make all the difference in the world!  It's unbelievable how true this statement is.

Peace out little corner of mine!  Please be kind to the next occupant...

...on to rehab...