We’ve been here, done this. I drive Cory and his worn gray backpack back to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to be admitted. We pick up his favorite “Pre-I cant keep anything down” meal beforehand at the same Chipolte on Martin Luther King Dr. that we frequented last year. We eat in silence, in the car, looking out the windows. “OK, let’s do this.”, he says. He’s fueled up for the fight. Im fueled up for a different kind of fight.
Same route, same garage, same elevator, same floor. This time, last year.
It’s not fair that we are here again. “No one promised you fair”–those words in my head right now are not helpful. Who said those words for the first time ever?? Id like to have a chat with him. I vow I will never say those words to my children, even though I probably already have.
Im a walking contradiction–inside negative thoughts, feeling sorry for all of us–on the outside, making small talk and joking with my son on his way to have the same poison running through his veins that caused the leukemia party that’s in his bone marrow now. I’m really angry.
We are in the elevator and newbies come in. You know you’ve been here too long when you can tell by the expressions and body language of the parents who is new to the Medical Crisis Game. I just want to throw my arms around them and say, “You aren’t alone.”, but today I restrain myself and I force a smile. They’ll need all the smiles they can get. I know I cant tell them it’ll be OK, because it very well may not be. No more rose colored glasses for this girl….because This is not OK.
We go to the main floor, we go to the security desk with all of the evidence in our arms and on our backs that we are coming to stay awhile. They take my Parent Picture and I get an pass to hang around my neck. Security (rightfully so in a childrens hospital) is prison-like safe. Complete with badged, armed officers, and double doors they have to buzz you in to get thru. But you are locking yourself up. Probably why Cory always used the term, “Im free” for his time out of the hospital.
Next set of elevators–Floor 5, please– Oncology.
We get buzzed in, we go to the desk. They recognize him. Like a “welcome home” reception….not right, I tell you, not right. I wanted to pound on the desk and say, “Hey… No! We already had the non-latex balloons and the NO MORE CHEMO poster board and party, remember???” They said cured! We. Are. Not. Supposed. To. Be. Here.
I didn’t get sent to the psych ward that night from acting or speaking my thoughts. They stayed soundly in my head. Not one person, especially Cory, was aware of the Crazy Mad Mom that resided inside my skin that day, but I understand why people end up there. I was close.
We just followed them to his room…..and set up shop. Pillows here, board games here, computer here, footies on with the non slip-soles, bedside table here, now put sheets on the pull-out parent MostUncomfortable”Bed”ontheplanet (Sheyna, there are worse things) and oh—here comes the familiar friend. The Pole. The pole that held the vein(no pun intended)of his existence in the bags that hung from it. Poison or medication or blood…what’s your pleasure??
I reprimanded myself.
Sheyna….Pray. He needs you….think Jesus.
I know Jesus was there, but I just couldn’t. Sleep was the best option.