Well, it turns out that paranoid mother was quite right to be concerned about that nasty wasp sting. L6 and I have just had three nights free accomodation at Starship Children's Hospital. It seemed silly to be admitted for a wee sting, but on the other hand, his arm was red and swollen right up to the armpit! So he did need a good dose of ABs.
Within half an hour of arriving, we had filled out forms, had initial observations done and been whisked away to the weelchair storage room to isolate us from everyone else who had not been in contact with measles last week. This room was to be home until 10pm! For five hours we read poorly-written stories, devised games with the ubiquitous-cut-in-half-out-of-date-calendars (two months kept us going for two hours!), we counted ceiling tiles, hopped across the room, played "I Spy" and even fell asleep (only to be woken for x-rays)
Let me tell you about that "I Spy" game. It was "something beginning with F". After exhausting all the obvious possiblities (and there aren't too many in a windowless carpetted room full of wheelchairs and one curtain) and ascertaining there were no hidden fish or foxes in the room, L6 furnished me with a clue. "It's in your mouth". Well I don't have freckles on my tongue and I wasn't gnawing on my fingers, so I had to give in. "FROAT!" How could I have missed it?
We went back to drawing circles around the odd numbers on the calendar and squares around the evens.
An hour after being seen by a pedeatrician, L6 wanted to know why the doctor was going to "whack" his infection and would it hurt? He also needed assuring about the other doc who had promised to "knock it on the head"!! Poor boy! As if they were not concerns enough, the nurse who handed him 5ml of Pamol and an iceblock at "bedtime" (7pm)told him that was dinner. To a grumbly tummy, it was a good start, but it did not count as dinner, especially being seven hours since lunch! As it turned out, she was right! By the time we got up to his room, bed was beckoning stronger than his stomach. And he smiled as he told me I could do the 40 Hour Famine if they didn't bring me breakfast!
In the morning we were given a couple of hours to wander down to the domain with a bag of crusts. Did you know sparrows can fly through the air to catch crumbs in mid-flight? Did you know pigeons are really slow at getting anything? But they hum. Not like the seagulls - they squawk at whatever gets near the bread! And the ducks we were trying to feed? Well, they weren't much quicker than the pigeons. Watching these birds reminded L6 of the pukekos we watched one day - they take a piece of bread and then pass it on to another bird in the group after they've had a mouthful. We call them sharing birds.
When the bread ran out we walked up to the museum and walked through the revolving doors just for the fun of it. We wandered back to the Wintergarden and perched on the edge of the ponds watching the fish for ages. Mrs E broke the spell with news that she was bringing her four cherubs in to visit so we raced back to our isolation room. (Thanks for the puzzle - L6 ended up doing it more times than I could count! And thanks for the food too - I'll do the 40 Hour Famine some other time!)
That afternoon we were moved to another ward. And somwhere in the middle of the move, unbeknown to me until we were discharged and I read the discharge papers, our "contact with measles" turned into "contact with chicken pox" and we were no longer in isolation. We got to share a room with a boy who had a lovely large family who stayed until 10:30 at night! With that many people in the room, you'd have thought they wouldn't have needed extra media, but we were treated to both Samoan radio and TVNZ simultaneously. I had my first exposure to Australian soaps, The Simpsons and...yes....even Gray's Anatomy (sorry, all my dear friends who love it - what's the deal? what's so good about it? Maybe you need to watch it more than once!) Anyway, once the whanau disappeared, we tried to grab some shut-eye. Difficult between the two-hourly wakings for goodness-only-knows-what-needs-to-be-done-in-the-middle-of-the-night-in-hospital, emergency helicopter landings right outside and the snortings of the poor lad who couldn't breathe - as we tried to go to sleep, I kept holding my breath, waiting for him to take one of his own!
In the morning L6 discovered there is such a thing as "morning television".
Morning tv is much worse than after hours tv! Believe me!
We learnt that ricies are good for you and will keep you full of energy all day long.
We learnt that if you help someone you will get a McDonalds Happy Meal.
We learnt that if you're a girl you can have your own electronic diary that your little sister can't get into. Lovely eh!
To top it all off, I actually tuned into the lyrics on one of the kids' shows....it was all over before I could grab a pencil to record faithfully....but it went something like this:
decide what's right for you
you do what you want to - it's so much fun
march to the beat of your own drum
I was glad we were to be going home later that day!
We were literally walking off the ward having been discharged, with Dadda waiting downstairs for us, when L6 said "It's getting itchy again" Sure enough, the hand was reddening and swelling again. We were not allowed to leave. Another lure and more antibiotics were on the cards....and another blood test too.....I had read the discharge papers and pointed out the little problems with it seeing as we were being readmitted - L6 was a boy and not a girl, and he had been exposed to measles, not chicken pox. The staff went into overdrive with the Measles Information and we were back in isolation again, they were busy ringing infectious diseases personnel, taking blood and calling the lab for results. They were happy for us to go out for a walk while they tried to get to the bottom of the mis-communication. We wandered down to Queen Street and caught a bus just because we could!
By the time we got back we had a new room mate who had a sausage stuck in his man-made oesphagus, which relies on gravity to get his food down! The things you learn! Someone asked me if we were schooling while we were there......I asked he how we could possibly not learn. She still wanted to know if we were "really schooling" and I realised again how much learning is just part of life for us now.
what was it again? something beginning with f!!!!!!
postscript: discharged this morning......five more days of oral antibiotics to go......when they've finished the sling can come off......as for me, I've never done so much knitting in three days in my whole life!!!!!
I simply want everything I do to be an act of worship to God. ********************EVERYTHING******************** like a spider's web, intricately woven, the threads of our lives are entwined, making us who we are, where we are, at this time in history.... here's a small record of one family's journey to love God