Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Three Years

About three years ago, we were admitted to the hospital with James on April Fool's Day and finally came home on Cinco de Mayo. Hard to forget. ;). I remember driving home that afternoon, armed with tubes, formula, and feeding pumps, and just enough knowledge to make us dangerous. We really thought that we were down a very different road to recovery. Everything was going to fall into place! Once that tube was out, we were golden.
Wow. That...really wasn't the case. We had no idea how loooong this frigging road was. And bumpy. And dirty. Lol. And it's sort of funny that I seem to mark time by this first hospital stay, because we had a second stay this past summer that was just as bad, if not worse. But I guess we were pros by then, so it didn't have the same effect. That's kinda sad too.
Anyway, all that to say, we have learned so much, and not just about James's condition (cause we actually haven't learned that much about it....like what it is, go figure), but about ourselves and definitely other people. We have met so many incredible people during this journey. Turns out this crappy road is a well traveled one.
Yesterday I had a couple of dr appts down at UVA, with some wait time in between. So I found myself back in those halls where I used to drag James back and forth in a wagon, trying to navigate other people, other wagons, children, and the IV pole. I remember realizing in one moment that I was the person that people looked twice at, wondering what was wrong with their child, wondered were they going to make it, and felt genuinely sorry for. That never bothered me. Sometimes well placed pity is just what you need. It was a sorry situation. But I sat in what used to be a big lobby with a piano and now is just a hall with a lot of chairs and I watched the parents carting the IV poles for their kids to go hang in the cafeteria, or buying ridiculously expensive toys in the gift shop just to make things a little more interesting. And I listened in on phone calls to relatives updating on whatever condition. I watched a 9 day old preemie go home with happy parents. I saw a new mom laugh so hard she spit her drink on her new baby's head. And I sat with a perfectly healthy pregnant girl on her due date who was just praying to go into labor to get the giant baby out. Lol. So there's good and bad and in between.
We all feel sorry for ourselves in varying degrees at different times. But we are maybe usually more vocal about the stupid stuff. When you are in the trenches, people seem to find the positivity in really simple things. I remember recently someone was talking about those hours of dragging James around in a wagon, joking about making the best of things with a fake smile on my face. The thing was, it wasn't a fake smile. We hung out with the nice nurses and laughed and played and just lived a different kind of life for a while.
So I would encourage anyone who is feeling out of sorts, or discouraged, or even a bit wrapped up in their own world (aren't we all), to go sit in a high traffic area of a hospital and observe. It will give you so much perspective, and you never know, you may even find a way to help someone, even with just some nice words.

Then go home and have a drink.

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