Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Hospital food for the soul (A Dan post)
I like those bumper stickers that start “I’d Rather Be…” You see them most when stuck in traffic and realize the frustrated driver in front of you would rather be golfing. Maybe you let your mind wander for a few moments visualizing a beautiful golf course in Jamaica with thick green grass and a gentle ocean breeze. Right now I’d rather be anywhere than in this hospital. Obviously I am gratefully doing anything possible to ensure the full and complete recovery of my beautiful daughter, Danica, but I have always had the tendency to avoid hospitals at all costs. Hospitals are for the sick and injured. The food is mostly bland and simple. The continuous beeping of all the monitoring equipment is the worst. My heart jumps in my throat every time the little beeping noise changes its constant monotone beat. Then there’s the parent complex which means the parents opinion overrules any doctor or nurse opinion. If my daughter wants to remove her IV because she simply “doesn’t like it,” then let’s remove it people. Most often a patient may get several medical diagnoses that differ from one another. For example, several years ago I drove myself to the ER complaining of severe stomach cramps. I reported to the admin that I had been playing golf in the hot sun all day drinking a few beers along the way. Without hesitation I was diagnosed with dehydration and set up with an IV for fluids. After about an hour writhing in pain, they finally sent me to X-rays to discover kidney stones. Thanks. It just seems that every visit to a hospital is an unpleasant experience. Time heals all wounds and I think my current visit to a hospital in Cincinnati may be a life changing experience.
Danica seems to be doing well at this early stage in recovery. Infection is still a huge concern over the next ten days. She has significant pain and is extremely uncomfortable in her new brace. The two surgeons, each with their own professional approach, pre-planned their procedures with expert precision reducing the overall surgery to around 5 hours. Both doctors claim great success with this highly complex operation and we hope with Danica’s complete recovery other kids with similar diagnoses will get help. The P-ICU staff has been incredibly caring and helpful. Danica had several violent combative reactions trying to remove her brace and pull out all her IVs but the nursing staff remained calm and reassured us that they have seen this before and took the means to help alleviate Danica’s struggles. I am more calm and more helpful to my wife than during Danica’s first surgery where everything during recovery was unknown and unfamiliar. I’m looking at Danica as I type these words, lying in her hospital bed in her confined brace, “cheech” blanket strewn across her legs and “Poots” pillow at her side, and when I look at her angelic little face I can only smile knowing that if we can get her home in a few weeks, her “new” neck will help keep her safe during her childhood. This little girl is so brave.
As I walk the hospital halls running errands for my incredibly strong wife, I am also taking time to accept the pain and suffering around me. There are many parents and families here that are having a far more difficult time than we are and even though I can never fully understand their plight, I can at least put our experiences in perspective. We have humbly and gratefully accepted an offer to stay at the Ronald McDonald House and within this huge complex is a quiet room which houses a special lamp. When the lamp is on, it signals the loss of a child whose parents are staying at the house. I may be here for another week and everytime I walk into the house, I think about that lamp and hope I never see it on. Just thinking about it makes me teary eyed. I must say that the Ronald McDonald House is an incredible establishment.
Sitting here in the P-ICU room watching “Little Bill” and seeing my 3-year old rest comfortably with her mother, I’m filled with a calm I have not experienced in a hospital. We still have a difficult road ahead, but the support for Danica through prayer, facebook and via the TeamDanica.com website has been overwhelming. Thank you to all who have contributed to Team Danica. You all are amazing. Of course I’d rather be somewhere else, playing with my girls or maybe even playing a round of golf someday, but the hospital food here ain’t too bad. You have to try the cheese pizza.
Posted by Monica Kaye at 4:06 PM