December 31, 2015

'Tis the Season

It is the season of sickness, of compromised systems, of worry.

It is the season of vomit, of missing day upon day of school, of frequent doctor visits.

It is the season of fevers, of sleepless nights and hospitalizations.

Having a child that is medically fragile makes for a life of unending stress, worry and exhaust, particularly during the winter months.

In the early years of Bridger's life we spent months in the hospital.  In subsequent years it reduced itself to weeks, and last year we celebrated with the year's tally of only a few days admitted.  With age has come a bit more robustness with him.  It has also come with more involved home protocols to avoid hospitalizations - which ultimately makes life much more exhausting than a hospitalization with round the clock g-tube fluids, meds and such.  Our docs know that we have to avoid the hospital with Bridger because of his immunosupressed system - he is byphasic and always contracts something secondary in the hospital that extends our stay.

We had one of those sick spans from Halloween through mid-November.  My home protocol just wasn't cutting it so the pediatrician finally sent us in and Bridger was admitted.  The attending doctors are always somewhat surprised at how calm I am when I rehearse his history and what has been going on for the past weeks with his health. Frankly, it is just routine life as we know it now, and by the time I get to the hospital there is a sense of relief that I am not fighting this on my own with him any longer.  

I also have learned by now how to make a hospital stay as close to resort-like as possible.  I know just the tricks up the sleeves of the Child Life Specialists that will make Bridger a wee-bit more content. I pack my earplugs and eye mask and bring my own pillow to sleep with - so I actually do get some sleep, and I park his iv pole right next to my bed and know how to operate all the controls so there are no beeps and alarms that otherwise would continually go off during the night.  

It is nearly a vacation. 

Sorely kidding. I am just telling myself that to convince myself it is more fun than it is.

I have written about the power of the mask previously. I emphasize again how every parent needs a stash of these to get through vomit cleanups.  We go through them like candy here.

We had ourselves a brief 5 days stay with only 1 really big scare from Bridger while we were there.

He cracks me up when he is in the hospital -- wrapping every nurse around his finger. Every nurse that entered was asked the same 3 questions by Bridger every time:

What is your name? 

Where is your house?

Do you have any sausage?

The boy is obsessed with sausage -- such an obsession it is deserving of its own blog post another day.

He had not eaten orally for 3 weeks, so when he was seeming to feel better I would gently present to him some dry cereal or a cracker -- to which he would immediately begin retching.  His sensory system knows when he is well, sick, or coming down with something and responds accordingly.

He also had his share of drama which I was quick to catch some of on video.  When his iv blew I thought his performance was worthy of an Oscar.  The exaggerated back of the hand over the forehead was a move straight out of Scarlett O'Hara's book!  "I'm fainting!"  Seriously, what is the kid watching on tv?

The final day when I presented him a breakfast tray and he gasps and shouted in delight, I knew he was back to himself.  He inhaled the bacon and french toast sticks and I nearly started undoing the iv myself to bust us out of that joint.

He's a tough cookie and has endured more pricks and pokes, uncomfortable testing and physical pain in his 8 years than most people do in a lifetime.  Seeing him well again is a beautiful thing.

Wishing it would be the last of it.  Although I know full well it won't be.

'Tis the season.