Wednesday, November 7, 2012

In which we have a visit to the ER

I was not a healthy child. Some of my earliest memories are of the Emergency Room in the middle of the night. I had ear infections and viruses and all sorts of things that babies/children shouldn't get. Growing up I developed an acute dislike of doctors and hospitals, not because of their service, but because of all the guess work and red tape involved. By adulthood it had to be a "bleeding from the eyes" sort of situation before I would go into be seen. Pregnancy helped to change some of my reluctance. Since I was high-risk and had a belly full of two babies I understood that doc visits were necessary. Each trip was still an annoyance, but I went knowing that I was doing the best I could for my girlies.

Parenthood has given me a whole new perspective. I didn't realize that every time I didn't want to go the hospital my folks had the fear of God in them that the worst could be wrong. I get that now. I completely must apologize for 98% of their grays.

Leeloo and I are back in Arizona for another visit. Trips here are always a jam packed. In just a couple of days we were at an airport, a church, a playground, the Y, grocery stores, target, abuelita's house and  the rental car in between. Somewhere in that Family Circus path the chiquita got sick.

Around 6pm my little girl had a fever - easily overlooked (especially with all the droolishous teething that's been going on). We went to bed early (about 8:30ish), and I watched her toss and turn more than usual. An hour or so later when I put my hand on her back to sooth her I realized that she was no longer just warm, but hot. I took her temp three times: 102.9. Entirely too high for my comfort zone. I called the Kaiser advise nurse (5 million thank-yous to my trusty partner for providing us with insurance!), and after a series of questions she told me to go to the ER. In fact, she didn't suggest, she ordered, and then she made me repeat it back so she was sure I understood. We were on our way - no more hesitation ever about going to the doc. I woke my mom up and we all headed to the University Medical Center where I was born.

At this point I wasn't too frightened. I had answered "no" to most of the nurse's questions and I was sure she was just sending us to the hospital as a precaution. Despite being sleepy and hot the chiquita was smiling and in mostly good spirits, she was even flirting with the desk crew while I was filling out paper work. The all-consuming fear and worry came when I went to give to nurse my insurance card and Leeloo went Linda Blair all over my mom and the lobby. I had no idea that her little tummy could hold so much to throw up. She was covered, her abuelita was sprayed and the furniture and floor looked like a bad roller coaster accident. Sad baby, stressed mama, sticky grandma - welcome to the ER in the middle of the night.

After her Exorcist moment, Leeloo felt a lot better. Her fever went down immediately and she was back to playing with the hospital staff. Nurses and interns and docs poked and prodded her until it was determined that she had a Upper Respiratory Infection (which I think is fancy talk for "cold"). After hours of the waiting game (and falling asleep in the room), we were discharged at 3am.

All wrapped in a blanket at 3am.
Since then we've had low fevers, runny nose and a few restless nights, but she seems better each day. Last night we even slept through the entire night. Big sigh o' relief. This mama stuff is stressful. Now on with our vacation!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day of the Dead

This was a big in the death year for our family. Mia, Pops, Papi. It seemed just as some healing began we were scraped raw again. I wish there was a pause button, some kind of universal time out that we could have taken for ourselves, but life didn't work that way. The dishes needed to be done, homework, dinners, family, friends - nothing stopped. Our pain was acknowledged, and sympathized with, but nothing was put on hold. It turns out there is no room for death in life. Death happens everyday, but life never skips a beat.

When Mia died I was in shock, by the time Ripley was born I was exhausted. I got home and had a non-sleeping newborn, and when she did sleep I stayed awake longer just to make sure she was actually breathing. We also had the boys at home, they were expecting two girls and we only came home with one, there were so many questions. On top of that family and friends all wanted to come by, which was lovely, but it meant the chaos had to be mostly controlled. It was, and is, busy. A lot of my grieving and healing happened in between the lines. There were many middle of the night crying sessions and tears alongside the incredible happiness of having a growing baby. Life moves on and we try to keep up.

I made a conscience effort this year to make more time for death. Scheduled time when our only purpose was to feel and share those feelings. One of those occasions for me was Day of the Dead. In Tucson there is the All Souls Procession that culminates around the traditional holiday. It has grown by tens of thousands and it's something I look forward to every year. This year D agreed to bring the boys so we could process together. There is something to be said about being completely surrounded by people who are paying homage to the deceased. It's powerful and amazing. It was a great reminder that we are not alone in grief - everyone has their experience. I am so happy that the boys had this chance to stand for our family - I'm so glad we could do it together.

Our masks.

Not scared of skull mommy.