Friday, July 31, 2009

Hospital Sketches--with apologies to Louisa May Alcott

One of the many joys of parenting hospitalized children is the "chair" that turns into a "bed." In the dark days before the Simpsons, Matt Groening published collections of his Life In Hell comics. "School Is Hell" included a comic entitled "Fun Science Facts" such as "Ringworm is not ringed, nor is it a worm. It is a fungus. A puff adder is not a puff, nor can it add. It is a snake...A fish stick is not fish, nor is it a stick. It is a fungus." The chair bed is not a chair, nor is it a bed. It is a fungus.

Accordingly, I was delighted to observe that T.'s hospital room featured not only a crib and two fungi, but also a real bed--and that we had the room to ourselves. I asked the nurse if I could sleep in the bed and she treated the idea as something incredibly transgressive, but ultimately probably okay. My back thanks me, but my thighs were repeatedly bitten by something in the night. Bitten by an insect that lives in a hospital. I'm trying not to freak out about the possibility of African sleeping sickness, Hanta virus, or MRSA.

It was one of our better hospital stays--but the best day at the hospital is still worse than the worst day at the beach.

T. managed to--in short order--completely remove not one but two intricately wrapped and taped gauze caps designed to prevent him from ripping off the electrodes on his head. We are very proud. Luckily when the tech asked "is he active?" I answered "very active" and thus she attached his electrodes with glue.

Residents on rounds do, in fact, answer questions with the false bravado followed by squirming qualification that one sees on Grey's Anatomy.

I know more about infantile spasms than neurology residents do.

T. is well and has started taking medication. Thanks to all the kind commenters--and to those who had kind thoughts but did not comment--and welcome to new readers.

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