This was our first time in a hospital setting with our child since JJ's pulmonary embolism. I was a mess, but P has clocked a lot of time waiting for me and he was very calm, cool, and collected. JJ was there and because they allow only two at a time at the MRI prep and recovery, he was out in the waiting room for hours. Not one complaint about spending six hours just sitting around. Then there's SS, my guardian angel, our baby, a child whom we know spent time hospitalized before we met. A child who went through three surgeries with her lame Mama. SS had every right to be scared, she was, but she was also a champ.
I was up by three in the morning, I was an anxious mess and needed to get out of bed. P joined me downstairs at five, with JJ and SS getting up at six. I had been looking all over the house for SS's lovie, DOG. You'd think since there are three one would be found quickly. But that darn security blanket was nowhere to be found and I started to panic. I washed SS's Snoopy blanket, there was no doubt in my mind that SS was going to need her baby comfort items. SS found DOG just as we were about to leave, and what a relief that was.
It was bad enough that I had not set foot at Loma Linda University Medical Center in about sixteen years, but they are also under construction, and we were totally lost as to where the check in desk was located. As I was about to call for directions, a woman ahead of us asked what we were looking for. She was dressed in scrubs and obviously an employee. She took us through the maze like corridors and waited in line with us to make sure we were at the right place. I thanked her and told her we would be OK, since I did not want her to be late. The woman said she was right where she needed to be. P was very impressed by her eagerness to help. And that is pretty much how I remember my experiences at LLUMC.
There was some silliness going on...
And SS decided she needed to check our hearts and lungs.
When the nurses realized SS was wearing scrubs and personalized no less, they were all over that. They asked SS if she wanted to do rounds, and asked if they could trade places with her. They had several sheets of stickers and not a one seemed surprised when SS chose a super hero sticker, then they kept adding more stickers to her mask and to her bracelet. We are so impressed with the amazing job they did. We thought it was going to be an ugly sight, and something we would remember and cringe about for years to come. But the nurses were simply amazing. They played with the stickers then asked SS to try breathing with the mask, and showed her the balloon. SS was told that the doctor placed five dollars inside the balloon, and if SS popped the balloon she would keep the money. SS fell for it, and it took me a while to realize they were really anesthetizing her, not just getting her used to the mask. We had been warned about SS becoming hyper with flailing, and eye rolling as she was going under, but that did not happen. SS kept taking deep breaths, and soon there was a nurse holding her back, because they did not want to force her to lay down. SS had been smiling the entire time, as the nurses kept praising her breathing. Then I saw a smile I have never seen on SS, our girl was HIGH. I helped the nurse lay SS down, and that was it, SS was under. It was so difficult for me to leave SS in such a vulnerable state. And I did cry, rationally I knew she was in great hands, but it was awful to part with my baby.
No one had had breakfast or even coffee, for me it was a conscious decision, I was not going to eat until SS could. P and JJ intended to eat at the cafeteria. P was dying for a cup of coffee when he had a thought. P asked me if the hospital carried caffeinated products. Oh shoot, I had forgotten about that. It is a Seventh Day Adventist hospital, and they are bat sh*t crazy about health, fitness and no caffeine. If we ever return we are bringing a gallon of Starbucks with us. Even though I drink caffeinated sodas in the mornings and do drink regular coffee, being raised by strict SDA standards, my preference is for decaf sodas. So while P stared at the soda dispenser in horror, I was glad to see so many of my old favorites. There's also no meat in their cafeteria, something Min had to suffer through when P's mom was hospitalized at LLUMC's sister hospital. In short, the offerings at the cafeteria made JJ and P abstain from eating as well. Yeah, that bad.
We were allowed to be by SS's side until we arrived at the doors of the pediatric recovery wing. We were separated for only about ten minutes, but man it felt like so much longer.
So glad SS had the comfort of her baby blanket and her DOG.
P titled this picture "Look at all the pretty colors."
SS went into stiff mode and for some reason it cracked P up. The nurse kept looking at the silly man laughing his a$$ off at his own child. Speaking of, I forgot to mention that when the nurse (different from those at the MRI) came to get us for the MRI she actually asked "are you the parents?" Took everything in me not to snap back "No, we are her neighbors, her parents had other things to do." People, I tell you.
A little bit of TV managed to get SS to be fully awake.
It was recommended that we feed SS soup to gauge how her stomach handled food. We had the perfect soup for SS, Phở. Poor SS was famished as she had dinner the previous day at five in the afternoon. I felt awful when SS said "Mama, where's my soup, I'm hungry." We are sticklers about SS's dining behavior, but man the girl needed to eat. This is the first time since meeting SS that we have requested to have her food brought out ASAP. And the staff were very understanding and very fast with her order.