I haven’t made these blog posts public yet in part because the drivel I’ve written with the knowledge that anyone in the world could possibly read it has stifled anything decent from coming out. When I write Facebook posts, emails, or private messages to friends I do so with the understanding that anything I write on the internet COULD be seen by the world, but in reality, it probably won’t. When I write here, I know that the doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff that are part of the story could read what I’m writing. I also know that the internet is fueled in part by trolls, some good and some bad, and some that won’t think twice about going after a parent of a sick kid and I struggle enough with trying keep my own shit together while informing others of where we’re at.
In September, the pope visited Philadelphia. That Friday, the city was scheduled to shut down by the end of the day. Shawn had symptoms that made his doctors tell us to come in. I wasn’t sure what I’d find when I got here. I asked the ER nurse if they expected to be busy or slow and she said, “we aren’t sure, but it will be one or the other, not in between.” It was slow. The hospital had all kinds of stuff set up for the staff. Barbecues, snacks, food vouchers, coffee round the clock. They were fully staffed and the place was relatively dead. By the end of that weekend, some of Shawn’s nurses were giving me their meal vouchers because they were sick of eating all that food.
This weekend Philadelphia was forecast to get pretty hammered with a big snow storm. Philadelphia LOVES to get hammered with snow storms. The bigger the better. I think the city was going through some sort of withdrawal given that it’s now late January and we’d had barely a dusting all season and record high temperatures in December and early January. In the ER on Friday night as they told us that we would be admitted, they said that the hospital was over 100% capacity, meaning that we might end up on a different unit than usual and we might have to share a room that’s normally a single. No big deal, this has happened before. I secretly hoped that we’d get a single on a window side on 9 south, his usual unit, because I wanted to watch the snow. We were finally moved upstairs around 5AM and yes, we had a single with a good view. In the morning I chatted with our nurse. So many people had called out. Those that didn’t were give the option to sleep in various spaces in the hospital but she said that most of them don’t. They just drink a lot of coffee. There were no barbecues, no snack table spreads, and the cafeteria didn’t open until the usual 6:30AM leaving few food options available for the very early morning. I saw lots of thanks on Facebook this morning for the snow plowers and other storm people. The hospital staff deserve thanks for being here. It seems to largely be the same people who are routinely here in the tough times.
More Facebook quotes. Since those post were the inspiration for this blog, I’m cool with that and those who are friends with me there can deal with the double posting and commenting.
CHOP’s internal channel has been showing the same kids movies in rotation for the past two weekends. Shawn has decided that he loves The Cat In The Hat (live action from 2003 with Mike Myers). We’re watching it for the third time. I hate to say it but I’m beginning to actually LIKE this movie. It’s hilarious. What’s next, Willy Wonka no longer freaks me out? Claymation is tolerable? Where are we going with this?
A friend commented:
There has to be a term for this sort of pop culture Stockholm syndrome that doesn’t actually use the term Stockholm syndrome.
I’m sure that the pop culture reference was his intention, but I’ve mentioned Stockholm Syndrome here before. And it is necessarily a joke in this situation. There’s no captors here, there’s no victims. Everyone involved wants to help Shawn. And they want to help me and the rest of his family. I do often walk around this place with an “us and them” thought process. And they certainly do have more power than I do over everything that we do here and everything that happens to us. Even so, I still have some control. Shawn has almost no control.
No one wants to be in the hospital. Home is the goal (and I’m still struggling with that Home post.) On Friday I talked with Shawn’s primary neurologist on the phone for about 20 minutes. We agreed on which symptoms would bring Shawn back, or at least warrant a call. When those symptoms showed up a few hours later, I called and we were on the road within the hour. Back to CHOP and the usual 10ish hour process from the ER to our room upstairs. That process is usually littered with traumatic tests and procedures for Shawn and for me an alternation of “turning off the part of me that cares” with quietly tearing up in the corner. Shawn was really struggling, and I knew we’d made the right decision. It made much more sense to me to be here with no option to go home due to the snow than the opposite. Here is where they have a chance of helping him when the pain and discomfort get bad. Here they have a shot at figuring out what’s wrong and then maybe a plan to fix it. Sometimes when we’re home I want to be here and when we’re here I want to be home. Sometimes I beg to go home, tell them I’m leaving anyway because there’s no reason to be here at the moment. I get angry. Then they tell me that we’re going home and I tear up again.
The most recent snow total I’ve heard is that we got 26 inches near our house. That’s half of Shawn. He asked how high that is and I pointed to his belly. We’re going home today.