Just being in the hospital is a world of it's own. As a parent who is there often (although not as often as some- we don't live there.) it is very easy to tell who's a "regular." When we walk in Tre run's to the check in desk (usually cutting in front of several families) and walks behind the desk and opens the drawer with the stickers. He asks the lady for the soccer ball ones or the foot ball ones, even if they only have the fire engine ones, they go and find him what he needs! Once we get our name tags he is dragging me over to the balls. Then we get gelato, and the nice Indian lady always gives him whatever he wants, for free. After I tell him we're getting only one and splitting it. When the ice cream is running low he always asks, "Mema, butterfly's or birdies?" Yesterday I replied, "Today is the birdies buddy!
" That means forth floor, hand clinic. So up we go. We play our elevator game, and he runs out right to the check in desk. He knows which lady to ask, and she pulls him behind the desk and he picks a new Hot Wheels!
This part of our life is normal. I find myself sitting in the waiting room, or the cafe and categorizing families. There are a few categories:
1. Oh my God my son broke his arm! (or, my daughter needs stitches, or tubes in her ears)
These are the people who are devastated that they had to enter the doors here, and this is probably the hardest thing they've ever been through. I probably envy them, although I sound degrading, it's only jealousy.
2. The regulars
Those are people like us. This place is a part of our regular life. We know our way around, we know the secrets of parking and where to check in and where not to check in. We know which pizza is good, and which lady sanitizes the tables right after you get up!
These people live at the hospital, they have more days there then else where. They look tired and are usually on their cell phones relaying the latest news. Sometimes their kids are with them, sometimes they can't make the journey to the main level, they usually have bags with them. These are the people that I pray for the most. These are the people who remind me how grateful I should be to only be a regular!
We always come early so that we have time for the fun stuff, so that Tre connects this place with those memories, amazing ball machines, gelato, pizza, new trucks, and more! We are scheduling his next surgery this coming week, and I think no matter what, no matter how much we prepare him or don't it is about to change his prospective on this place. This will be his first surgery that he will comprehend what's really happening. That I'll have to see him be afraid, see him cry in pain when he wakes up, see him try to pull off the cast (which I am already worrying that he will succeed and can see myself rushing to the hospital to get a new one a few times probably), become frustrated with it, get mad at us for putting him through this. The other surgeries have been hard, there's no doubt. But this one coming up in the next few weeks will be the worst. He understands, he knows he will go in and papa and mema will help him go nigh-night with the doctors, and when he wakes up he will have one less finger, and it will hurt, but he'll be okay.
The Children's Hospital is so emotional because we trust the name, and the people that represent that name with the lives and well being of our children on a regular basis. A lot of good has happened there, and a lot of bad too. We go in in a few short days, and we will leave with one less finger, something I never wanted, but something I feel peace about. I am still really emotional about the whole thing, but I know that we're doing the right thing. I think the hardest part is knowing that he will be scared and hurt this time, in the past he didn't know any better, this time he will.
Here's Tre take on things:
If you are reading this and have experience with a two.five year old having surgery and have advice on how much we should prep him and how much we shouldn't, please leave a comment.