Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Hospital Veteran

Well, the rhinovirus struck Jaycee again. For the 4th time in 12 months, the virus has sent Jaycee to the hospital. Whenever we are in the hospital, we have roommates. It's inevitable unless we are lucky enough to get that rare private room. Some of the roommates have never been in the hospital before or maybe just once or twice before. Some are scared. Some are hyper. Some are rude...staying up late at night with the television on or talking on the phone. Most of these roommates come in and are gone in a day or two. I could go one and on about roommates, but I will spare you.

Our stays with Jaycee in the hospital are different from these newbies. Us, we are veterans. Counting surgeries and illness admissions, we have been in well over 20 times. We know when to truly be scared because we have many, many experiences to draw from. We don't have to ask simple things like where to get towels or directions to the nearest hotel. We know our hospital well.

I can get a bad attitude in the hospital. I get jealous of people who are one time hospital admitters. I get upset when they call family and remark about their very sick child who isn't even on oxygen or an IV and who end up going home the next day. I appreciate their emotions and concerns but I'm jealous that their sick child is in a far different category from my sick child who is getting frequent albuterol treatments, frequent airway clearance therapy, on oxygen, on bi-pap at night, etc.

I get upset when people come in for one night in the hospital and complain about how they want to go home and how tired they are. Again, I understand what they are saying. But, when you have been in for days or weeks, then you understand what exhaustion from a hospital feels like. You really miss home and yearn to be in your own bed, use your own shower, and have your family together.

But then there are other veterans I come across in the hospital, the ones who have been here dozens of times too. They remind me that Jaycee isn't the only child in this area that is sick time and time again. I feel less alone when I hear their stories. But at the same time, I feel for them because I know some of what their life must be like. I respect these families who have to juggle illnesses, the daily care of their child on a "healthy" day, and all the regular daily life responsibilities. I learn from these people. I can talk to these people. Some of these veteran children and their families make our situation look good. They help me appreciate where I'm at in life and help me to not take for granted some of the things that are right with Jaycee's health.

So at the end of another week long hospital admission, I have to say that I'm still trying to keep my attitude in check. Maybe one day, I'll get it right.

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