Emlen’s friend Max came to visit this morning. They have been friends since pre-school. It is always good to have visitors when you are stuck in the hospital.
The show Power Rangers is on TV. I am sitting on my little parent cot while Emlen rests, mesmerized by his once-favorite childhood TV show. It is really terrible. I did not enjoy it back in the day, and I do not enjoy it now. When he was little we allowed Emlen to watch many terrible TV shows, so he would willingly do his daily nebulizers, vest therapy and chest P/T. Now he watches tons of YouTube. I am not sure which is better.
Emlen and I have checked into Children’s Hospital for what I am trying to reframe as our first vacation of the summer. We have a great room. “The best on the floor,” everyone says. It is big with lots of warm sun light. Emlen has a snazzy hospital bed which he treats like an amusement park ride. We have an interactive TV with video games and movies, free WIFI and room service. Free coffee too, but I never seem to get to the kitchen when the pot is newly full. It is usually empty. I guess all the parents here are living on coffee. Every once in a while, we get to see a helicopter land on the building next door. What more could an eleven-year-old boy ask for?
Emlen’s cough came back. Not quite like the cat that came back the very next day, but pretty close. It took about ten days this time. I told Emlen’s pulmonologist, when we began the last round of oral meds, that I had pretty much had it with the back and forth this winter. She was going on and on about more Bactrim, but I stopped her, “I had shingles this winter. We really need to just take care of this once and for all. We need to have a good summer.”
If his cough returns, come in for a bronchoscopy and IV antibiotics.
So, here we are.
(As for shingles, it was a pretty mild case. I just thought I was having another allergic reaction to another something, the typical winter dry skin stuff. But no, it was shingles. I spent a month out and about exposing anyone who has not had the chicken pox to the virus. I should probably hit myself with a Karma Mallet. But then, there is a chicken pox vaccine…so maybe it is their fault for not being vaccinated. You know how I feel about vaccines.)
Now we have switched back to watching SpongeBob. Much better. Perhaps this afternoon we can watch a Marvel movie.
I think we will be in here until the middle of next week. Or we might go home sooner if the samples from the bronchoscopy do not grow anything unexpected. Emlen has been dealing with the same bug for what seems like forever. I found out yesterday that he has had eight rounds of antibiotics since last March. I guess that is a lot. At least the doctor who performed all yesterday's procedures thought so.
Dr. Katz reminds me of your husband, Tim. His looks, mannerisms and goofy quality are all Tim-ish. Then I noticed his shoes; really fancy black oxfords. They were at odds with his surgical scrubs. I guess I expected a more laid-back foot wear choice for a surgeon. Something comfortable, like Tim would wear. Anyway, Dr. Katz was really good with Emlen, answering every one of the one-thousand questions Emlen threw at him.
Emlen does not stop talking or asking questions when he is excited or nervous. It was nonstop for the hour we were in the pre-op room. Every nurse, PA or doctor who came in to have us sign a consent form was coerced into a conversation. They were so good about it. Finally, the nerves vanished when the nurses pushed the “relaxing” medicines through the IV. Emlen started giggling and laughing, saying, “I feel really weird.” It was pretty funny. He asked no more questions and just laughed and laughed while they wheeled him to the OR.
Infectious Disease just visited. They are working with the CF Clinic to figure out how to get rid of whatever is growing in Emlen’s lungs. Great. Tons of questions about the cat and the litter box. Ha! As if the any of boys in the house change the litter box.
The first time we went through a cleanout at the hospital was pretty traumatic. Now it is almost routine; and I feel it is important to find the humor in the little things – like laughing at Emlen while he is clearly stoned out of his mind and REALLY, REALLY enjoying it, or when he is waking up from the anesthesia going on and on about how he is ready to run the mile for gym class.
That was the only thing that made him happy about this hospital stay; skipping out on the mile run in gym class. He is missing all the fifth-grade graduation hoopla this coming week, the boat field trip, Arts Night (he had a drum solo), Kimball Farms for games, mini golf and ice cream, the all elementary school band night. Also, we will have to revamp his camping birthday party. Emlen is mad about this. We are not really sure he should spend the night in the great outdoors with a PICC. The camping birthday parties are very Lord of the Flies. The boys whoop it up in the great outdoors until the late hours of the night while the more adventurous, outdoorsy dads sit by the fire taking it all in (or ignoring it all?? Maybe, I do not know. Moms are not allowed, which I am totally fine with. I enjoy my night alone.) I think we will downgrade to just the potato cannon, fishing and hotdogs over the fire with no overnight.
Chest P/T is here now. I will reframe this as massage therapy. Or maybe gymnastics? Or torture? Emlen is upside down on his amusement park bed getting pat-pats.
Tonight, Christian and Henry are bringing a whole bunch of presents and dinner. The food here is now “healthy”. Emlen used to love it, but it does not seem as yummy as it once was. French fries have been replaced with golden roasted potato wedges and the chocolate chocolate cupcake is now chocolate pudding with chia seeds. I do not know any eleven-year-old boy who likes chia seeds. Emlen certainly doesn’t. And it looks to me as if the chicken fingers are no longer deep fried. They are baked. There are other items missing from the menu, but I can make up for that with the pudding and ice-cream from the floor’s family kitchen. Emlen did enjoy the whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce he had for lunch. But a favorite dinner from his favorite take out restaurant in Concord might put some color back in his cheeks.
Never mind, the upside down pat-pats put the color back into his cheeks – nice and rosy, all his blood rushing to his head.
OOOH! Emlen just crawled out of bed looking for the helicopters. He is sitting on the window sill taking in the view. This is a good room.
He does not want to watch a Marvel movie. So, I guess I will work on organizing the twenty-three thousand digital photos I have been ignoring since the dawn of digital cameras.
Or maybe I can finish part two of The Longevity Series for the blog. I was about seventy five percent of the way there when I had to deal with the above. I feel that I have left people hanging. Even the school librarian wants to know when it will be posted.
And another helicopter ....
Hi to Miranda, Iris and Tim.