It’s bizarre, being in the hospital. It feels like the whole world goes on spinning while I stand perfectly still. I feel like I’m in orbit, looking down as everyone goes on with their lives while I sit and wait. And wait. And wait.
My little girl is sick, and I have taken up residence in her room at the Alberta Childrens’ Hospital. Two weeks ago she came home from school complaining of a sore hip. When she spiked a fever later that night, my mommy radar was pinging something fierce. The next morning we brought her to the ER and she was given a diagnosis of transient synovitis, a viral infection of the tendon sheaths of the hip area. This is not an uncommon thing in kids her age, and the only treatment is lots of rest. But two days later, we were called by a doctor and asked to bring her back immediately – the routine bloodwork they did in the ER involved a blood culture, and it was growing something. We brought her in that night, and 11 days later, we are still here.
It sounds scary, right? It was, and it wasn’t. Eliza was never seriously ill, despite the bacteremia diagnosis, so I feel like saying I was scared is being overly dramatic. I was anxious that first night, when her dad took her to the ER again and I was home with her brother. I was afraid that she was scared and wouldn’t understand what was going on, but at no point was I afraid that she was really sick.
But it scares me now to think about what could have happened. Her doctors have told us that we caught the infection very early, and had it not been for our initial visit to the ER and associated blood tests, she likely would have become very ill in the near future. I made the mistake of googling to find out what they meant by that, and I wish I hadn’t. Suffice to say it could have been very serious – ICU serious – and the very thought makes me want to throw up. I am so very, very thankful that it didn’t get to that point.
Even though we know what’s going on, we wait. We wait for test results. We wait for doctors in different departments to consult with each other and make a decision. We wait, and wait, and wait. We’ve been here eleven days, and we still don’t have any idea of when discharge is coming. We have a vague idea that it’s coming, in the hopefully near future – her tests are coming back clear, so now someone just needs to make a decision on how we can transfer her home. But still, we wait.
I won’t lie, it’s stressful. My normally healthy daughter is not healthy right now, because healthy kids don’t spend almost two weeks in the hospital, hooked up to an IV 24/7. I feel like I’m running on caffeine and adrenaline, I haven’t had a good night’s sleep since she was admitted, and I don’t anticipate I will again until she’s discharged. On the bright side, I know she is in the right place. ACH has provided great care, and even fantastic entertainment services by way of volunteer-run art and activity times. Still, I’d give my left arm to take her home right now and have this all be a bad dream. I know in my logical brain that soon this will be over and she will be back to her old self, but my over-tired emotional brain doesn’t buy it. Right now, the over-tired emotional brain is the one that’s running the show, because logic doesn’t operate on adrenaline and caffeine. I go from feeling on top of it all to like I could break at any moment. I don’t have the luxury of breaking, though. I have to be strong. There is no one else to be strong for us, only me.
And so we wait, watching everyone else go about their normal lives. We exist in this orbit, this bubble, this room outside of time, waiting for our turn to re-join the rest of the world.