I ran (hobbled awkwardly) to pick up the angriest child on the planet before I remembered I have a broken leg and the risk of dropping him on my way to the chair next to his post-op bed was too high. It did not pass The Dateline Test. (In case you never read The Dateline Test, it’s a post from my first blog site.) Luckily, the nurse noticed I wasn’t “all there” (I MEAN THE LEG, SMART ASS) and offered to pick him up and put him in my lap.
I immediately began apologizing to him. “Honey, I’m so sorry. Mommy is here. Mommy is not going to leave you and she is so, so very sorry…”
Sensing that my apologies were an admission of guilt, he immediately began to squirm from my arms and repeat the words every mother resents with her entire soul: “I want Daaaaaddy. I want Daaaaaaaaaddy.”
I looked at Abe’s dad. “He wants you. Take him.”
He gently took him from my arms and sat down in the chair. Just then, the post-op nurse approached us.
“Hi there! I’m Jillie and I’ve got some paperwork to go over with you!”
“Ok,” I think I said out loud but might not have because I was just staring at my child while my heart melted from the nuclear heat of guilt.
“So, first things first is it’s very important for him to drink. He needs to drink lots of fluids, as much as you can get into him…”
“Yes,” I answered, as if she’d asked a question.
“Now, does he want some juice or something now?” She asked me this and I looked around to see if there was some reason she would think I had any idea what my high three-year-old wanted in that moment.
“I don’t know. Abe, do you want to try some apple juice?”
“Mmmmmmmm,” he angrily growled at me.
“He doesn’t seem to want any.”
“Well, it’s really important that he drink fluids,” she said as she wandered away as though someone had called her name…except no one did.
Regardless, she returned a few moments later with a small can of apple juice. I did not have the energy to address this.
“I need to go ahead and take his IV out of his hand there…”she said, handing me the apple juice.
Yeah. That’s right. They put the IV in his hand. This, to me, was the work of a person who has never encountered a child before. The FIRST thing he’s going to do when he stops being so very, very high and angry is try and rip it out. Jillie the Nurse began removing the tape around Abe’s IV and Abe (pardon my french) LOST. HIS. SHIT. He all but ripped it out himself, causing blood to rapidly run down his hand which freaked him out to hell, breathing heavy and trying to yell causing him to exhale blood out his nose, which stained his shirt and caused him to freak out even harder.
Jillie had zero back-up plan for this situation. It was her first encounter with a three-year-old, too. She just kind of stared at Abe while Abe’s dad tried to calm him down.
“Do you have a bandaid?!” I asked in a panic.
“Ummm….yes.” She looked around and handed Abe’s dad a piece of gauze to hold on his bleeding hand and then wandered away.
I started rummaging through boxes and drawers near the little post-op station, searching for a bandaid or even some medical tape while Jillie did…whatever it was she did when she disappeared.
True to form, she returned several moments later with something that didn’t really appear to be a bandaid; rather a square sticker with Spongebob on it, which she then attempted to stick onto the gauze to keep it on his bleeding hand…while he flailed and tried to cry but couldn’t make sound either because it hurt too much or because he was too high to find his own voice box.
This all seemed to happen in slow motion because I had enough time to think in my head, “How am I witnessing a grown medical professional make less sense in a surgery center than I do, a concerned mother with zero medical experience…”
Jillie eventually finished doing the thing she was doing that wasn’t helping and began handing me papers to sign. “I don’t know if you keep the yellow copy or the white copy…hang on…” and she wandered off again.
This is when I wanted to scream: ARE YOU NEW HERE? TO THIS PLACE? AND TO MEDICINE? AND TO LIFE?
She returned several moments later and proudly announced, “White. You keep white.”
Can I just mention to you that Jillie wasn’t young. She was a middle-aged woman who should have had enough life experience to know that if she didn’t know what she was doing in the situation, she still should have been faking it.
Within about 30 minutes we were given the green light to take Abraham home (the perks of having the surgery done at a surgery center vs. a hospital). His daddy carried him outside while I ran (hobbled awkwardly) to get the car. After a short drive, we got him back to my house and onto the couch and within seconds, he was asleep.
And that is when the hell that was my life for a week began.
Isn’t this a fun blog series?