Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Trainspottying or Isn't It Bromantic 3

Tiny veteran of pokes, prods, exams, and sticks, Benjamin has shown us that he one tough little dude. Even so, I think that this last weekend may have proved to be one of his worst ever. Our troubles began on Saturday morning when he awoke looking paler than usual. By mid-morning, he had a high fever, was breathing shallowly, and had become very sluggish. Over the next 36 hours, he had the pleasure of visiting his pediatrician's office and two different hospitals where he ran the medical gauntlet. He endured having his temperature taken twice (down there), went though multiple blood draws, he got antibiotic shots in both legs, and had a catheter inserted. If that wasn't enough, he went through two hours worth of failed attempts to insert an IV line. Ouch! The good news is that one nurse was finally able to get one started, and so began our weekend stay at the Resort de Mattel Children's Hospital.

It's never fun staying in the hospital, but we do try to see the bright side of things. For one thing, we're lucky that we have access to such amazing medical resources and such caring, wonderful medical staff. The kindness and caring of the doctors and nurses we meet never fails to touch us. For another thing, our hospital stays only last a few days at a time. We've met kids who have racked up a far greater number of medical frequent flyer miles than we have, and our hearts go out to them and their families. Those guys are the real troopers.

Ironically, as trying as this medical stuff is for us, it gives us a chance to learn more about ourselves, both individually and as a family. This particular hospital stay opened my eyes, and I discovered quite a bit.

I have a pretty high tolerance for the unpleasant stuff Benjamin has to go through. Yes, it hurts me to see him crying and in pain, but what can you do? One time, I actually found myself in the odd position of having to comfort a nurse who was was so upset by the amount of pain Benjamin was in that she was crying. This time, however, I realized that there is only so much I can take. While we were waiting in the ER, something in me just snapped, and I started crying. Usually, I would have choked back the tears, but this time, I just let them flow, along with with about a gallon of snot. Sorry... Too much information?

After my meltdown in the ER, Vince took charge. He comforted Benjamin, and when he wasn't comforting Benjamin, he was comforting me. That first night, Vince was the one who stayed behind in the hospital so I could go home and get some rest. When I returned the next morning, he looked exhausted, but he still had his arms wrapped tenderly around the Boo and a smile still on his face. I asked him if he wanted to go home, but he continued to stick around for the rest of the day. I think that if he wasn't in such dire need of a shower, he would have stayed another night.

Whenever we stay in the hospital, our routines are put on hold. Benjamin's naps may not happen at the right times (if at all), we won't be able to go on long walks, and pottying goes on the back burner. Just as I expected, naps and walks went out the window this weekend, but Benjamin was the one who decided that he didn't want to give up the potty. Not to get into disgusting details, but he didn't go bong bong (Chinese for Numero Two) all day on Saturday. When I returned on Sunday morning, I thought that he would have gone for sure, but he hadn't. As soon as Benjamin saw me, he began making grunting noises along with what we call his "poo face." I put him on his travel potty, and to my surprise, he almost immediately went bong bong. He continued to go bong bong with alarming frequency throughout the rest of the day. I guess he'd been storing it up.

On Sunday morning on the way back to the hospital, I stopped by Shawn and Julie's to give them a copy of our house key. As soon as their front door opened, Nolan came barreling out. He gave me one of his big, toothy grins, but as soon as he saw that I had come alone, his grin vanished. He circled my car twice, looking for Benjamin, and when he didn't find him, he tried to open the doors. His little hands couldn't quite do it, so he grabbed one of mine and placed it on a door handle. He seemed very upset when I opened it, and there was no Benjamin sitting inside. Julie had to pick him up and explain to him that Benjamin wasn't coming. I knew that Benjamin and Nolan were buds, but this was the first time I realized that they actually could miss one another. I mean, this was behavior that I'd expect to see in their fathers after more than two consecutive evenings without Xbox Live.

Luckily, Nolan and Benjamin's baby bromance only had to wait until Monday. When they were reunited, they immediately broke into chubby smiles and began laughing and babbling excitedly. Who knows what they were saying to one another? Hopefully it didn't have anything to do with meat shields.

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