My tale from yesterday, while sitting in the hospital as my poorly daughter receives treatment…..
I sit here watching and waiting as the nurse takes her temperature and blood pressure. A recognisable churning, reminiscent of previous visits, makes itself known in the pit of my stomach. Here we go again! I say we, but it’s not really me……it’s my daughter. As I sit here and write this, she’s about to have her third lumbar puncture in four weeks. Me…….I’ve got it easy. All I have to do is sit and watch, all the time keeping a smile on my face, letting my daughter know everything’s alright. In some ways I’d rather be the one lying there. Like most parents, I’d do anything to take away everything she’s going through……and would gladly have whatever’s wrong inside of her, inside of me……..if it would mean she were back to being fit and healthy.
As they start to set up, nausea creeps up on me. The doctor arrives. He’s a beacon of light in the cloying darkness of a pitch black night. I feel reassured……well, somewhat anyway. He gets my daughter smiling with his great manner. For somebody I don’t know, well, not outside of these hospital visits……….I trust him completely.
He disappears to get ready. We wait. I write. It takes my mind off it all….for a little while anyway.
I can’t remember the last time I slept properly. Up at 5.50am this morning……stupid really, when you don’t have to. Well, that’s my opinion anyway. My dreams centre on my daughter. I call them dreams, sometimes they turn nightmarish. But it’s not just at night they haunt me. I long for my hockey stick, a ball and an astroturf pitch. On Sunday I took my youngest daughter hockey training, and for an hour and a half, all of my worries were forgotten. It seems with me that’s the only thing that will do it. The power and magic when I pick up my stick, the feel of the ball cradled against the head of my stick, the snug feel of the encompassing protective guard on my left hand, all make me feel like a warrior, with nothing on my mind other than showing what my years of experience with the stick and ball have taught me. The stick changes me……envelops me, turns me into something MORE. I often feel that in my normal day to day life, I have an invisible hockey stick strapped to my back, guiding me, powering me, helping me to make the right decisions. Much in the same way as the dragon hero in my books sometimes feels like he’s carrying an invisible dragon tail, when he’s in his human form.
It’s done now. I sit watching her recover, still writing, marvelling at how brave she’s been. Some need to be knocked out to have this done……..not her. Relief rolls off me in waves. But I know it’s not over. Probably not by a long way. All I want to do is get her home, but it seems such a long way off. Last time we were here for 10 hours, and only then barely escaped an overnight stay. Nothing against the hospital, it really is wonderful, but I just think as a family and an individual, you recover better in your own home.
I wait and wonder, my thoughts drifting here, there and everywhere. Normally I could lose myself in the self made world of my books….dragons, hockey, lacrosse and rugby…….a better distraction I can’t think of. But unlike the hockey, this simply doesn’t work at the moment. Thoughts of lumbar punctures and hospital visits flit in and out of my imagination. That and the fact that I resigned from my job as a teaching assistant (TA) yesterday. It was a tough decision given that I love doing it so much, and that I’ll miss everybody at the school a great deal, but my daughter’s care is more important than anything else.
More than an hour later….still sitting here. Still writing. Recovery’s ticking along, the referral to another hospital some 25 miles away is going ahead. It all sounds rather scary to me, but as I mentioned before, I trust the doctor implicitly. Perhaps because I’m tired, my thoughts return to getting her home this afternoon. I hope it’s possible. Deep down I’m afraid. Afraid of what’s happening to her, afraid that the hospital visits will never stop. I feel so helpless. As a parent, it’s the worst feeling in the world. But still I’m sat here, next to her bed………still smiling.