Thursday, June 27, 2013

Turn left

I have a sick sense of humor, as I'm sure I've mentioned in other posts.

A very sick sense of humor.  As in, when someone trips and falls, my initial reaction isn't the normal, "Are you alright?" It's more uncontrollable laughter. The type of laughter that is so completely inappropriate that when I try to control it, it gets even worse. And while I'm not exactly proud of this character flaw of mine, it has saved my sanity on many occasions. 

Like when Tess was so sick a couple of weeks ago and back in the hospital for the second time in a three week period. 

The hubs and I have a pretty good system worked out when Tess is in the hospital. Usually, I spend the days and nights with her while he tries to stay home with the older girls and go to work. He comes to the hospital the first day of her stay and then, if we can manage it, not again until she is ready to be discharged. However, when she had her bilateral hip surgery, it was such a major deal that we booked a hotel room right down the street from Children's Hospital and switched off at night, every other night, and we both stayed with her during the day.

Then, after we had come home and she got sick with a post op pneumonia and ended up needing to be transferred from our small, local hospital to a better equipped one, I was too scared and she was too sick for me to feel safe enough to let him leave us, so we were both spending the days in the hospital with Tess and at night, he would drive to his parent's house about a half hour away to sleep while I stayed with Tess. 

Along with our super duper hospital stay system, we also have worked out a meal system because other than our local hospital, they do not provide parent trays unless you want to be charged a fairly hefty fee for it. And take my word for it, the food is just not good enough to warrant that. Anyway, our deal is, if the hubs has spent the night away and is coming in in the morning, he brings breakfast with him. Then I would go get lunch, then he would get dinner and so on and so forth. 

No problem when we are at Children's Hospital because we have been there enough that, even though it is a huge hospital,  I finally have got my bearings about me for the most part so I can get to the cafe,  or Au Bon Pain or CVS, or you know, the gift shop, not to mention the laundry room, the Prouty Garden, etc. It's all very familiar to me now, enough so that even when I get "lost", I can quickly right myself. 

But Maine Medical Center? Forget about it. It's like Dr. Suess was the architect and Mr. Magoo was his assistant. The place makes no sense and seems to have no rhyme or reason to it's design. 

Have I mentioned that along with my sense of inappropriate humor flaw that I am also directionally challenged? 

VERY directionally challenged. Ridiculously challenged. Like Zoolander challenged (remember from the movie? He can't turn left). Yeah, it's that bad.

So after we had been at Maine Medical for a couple of days with the hubs going to the cafe to get every meal because I would whine like a toddler that I just didn't know how to get to the cafe and he did so it only made sense for him to get the food, he decided enough was enough and it was time for me to put on my  big girl panties and go. get. the. damn. food. already.

Sigh. I did my best martyr routine but to no avail. If I wanted food, I had best go looking for it. He did however, very helpfully, give me exact directions.

"Turn right out of this room, go down the hall, out thru the double doors, down a little ramp and right again. The elevators are there. Then hit the B for basement and head left, then left again and then left again and you're at the cafe."

 Simple. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Even for the directionally challenged. I was confident. Ready. Good to go as it were.

I headed out of the room and made it to the elevators without any mishaps, pressed B and exited out into what appeared to me to look like the way we had come in a couple of days before. Near the ER. Hmmm....And when I went down the hall, after turning left, the only left appeared to lead out to the parking garage where I was positive we had parked our van. To my right were signs reading ER and Day Surgery.  Nary a Cafe sign in sight.

Curiouser and curiouser.

I felt my heart start to speed up in that fun, panicky little way it does when I know I have zero idea of where I am. But I was a girl on a mission. I would not turn back at the first signs of trouble. I forged ahead towards Day surgery and found a maintenance worker. I very politely asked which way to the cafe? She looked at me like I had just dropped in from Mars and shook her head as if to say, "Lady, you are nowhere near the Cafe." Then she started pointing back down the hall the way I had come and proceeded to tell me, in a foreign language, how to get to my destination. The only word I understood was "elevator".

Well, crap on a popsicle stick. Elevator? Really? Then what? I pretended to understand what she was telling me and reversed direction. Screw it. I went to the elevator and prayed that I would find someone who spoke my language. The language of the overwrought and directionally challenged. I was in luck. A very nice man told me that I should have gotten off on the ground floor not the basement.

  GROUND floor, Charlie. THE GROUND FLOOR and not the basement. I was ready to kill the hubs. But I made it, finally, to the cafe and set about foraging for something to eat all the while muttering under my breath about what a rotten, dirty trick that was to play on me and oh yes, he would pay for that one. Pay dearly, thankyouverymuch. I could just picture him sitting up in that room chuckling at the mental image of me aimlessly wandering through the bowels of the hospital. Because I am not the only one who can have a sick sense of humor. Yeah.

After paying for my meal and then literally getting lost leaving the Cafe, I headed back to the bank of elevators but what was this? They weren't the ones I stepped out of. I figured they had to go to the same place so I hopped in and pressed 6, very relieved that my ordeal was almost over. When I got out and headed down what I thought was the right hallway, I saw that I had somehow made my way to the Psych Ward. Was God trying to tell me something, I thought in my haze of panic? And by this point I probably looked quite deranged what with my humongous tray of food overflowing, the limp I had now developed from new sandals that had chafed a lovely blister on my heel, and what I am sure was a crazy look in my sunken in, exhausted looking eyes. Plus, let's face it, I was still sort of muttering to myself about the very real possibility of hurting the hubs. Yup, in hindsight it's a wonder I got out of there at all.

After a very kind nurse took pity on me and practically walked me all the way back, I finally made it to our room, handed the hubs the tray of food with a murderous glare and shrieked at him, "BASEMENT?! BASEMENT?!" His response? "Did I tell you to go to the basement? Whoops. Sorry. The Cafe is on the ground floor. So what'd ya get me good to eat?"

The man is lucky to still be breathing.

The next afternoon the hubs seemed to think it would be a great time to try to take Tess off of the oxygen because she had been having a good day, and after discussing it with her doc, with me telling both of them I thought it was a bad idea and that she wasn't ready, they removed the oxygen from her to see how she managed on her own. I want you to remember that I TOLD the doc and the hubs that I did not think this was a good idea and I got overridden.

We moved Tess from her bed and into her wheelchair for a change of position and put her movie on then went and sat on the bed/couch and started messing with Charlie's cell phone. It used to be Blake's but she had upgraded to an Iphone so the hubs got hers by default so it still had her outgoing voicemail message on it. We figured it was high time to change it. After messing around trying to figure it out and a few different attempts at leaving just the right message on there, we heard the monitor alarms start to scream. Both of us jumped up (you know, after remembering that oh yeah, there was a very sick kid in the room who, just maybe, we should be paying attention to) and realized her oxygen had dropped down to 86 while we were playing with a cell phone. Poor Toodle Bug was laboring to breathe as we fussed with just the right wording of an outgoing message on a cell phone. Because we know what's important. That is called good parenting, my friends. Or neglect. Whatev.

Charlie grabbed one side of Tess as I grabbed the other and within seconds we had the oxygen on her and turned up all the while bickering about whose fault it was. The nurse came running in and found us like that. Holding on to Tess and bickering. And both turned to her and started telling her our versions of what had just happened. In my version, I never wanted her off the oxygen to start with so clearly this wasn't my fault. In the hub's version, he didn't give a crap about the outgoing message on the phone but I distracted him with it so clearly it wasn't his fault. The nurse was cracking up at us and needless to say, no lasting harm came to The Toots from that little slip up.

After the nurse left, I must admit, Charlie and I laughed pretty hard as well. It was just so surreal. And stupid. And scary. And so not the life we had envisioned. But there we were. And ultimately, if you can't laugh at the scary stuff, it will swallow you up.

So yeah, I have a pretty sick sense of humor. And thank God I do. Now, if I could just figure out how to turn left....


  1. Sometimes, you just gotta laugh. It definitely beats the alternative. :)

    I've been keeping up on FB and so glad to hear that Tessie is doing better. I know you're relieved to have that ordeal behind you now. Loved the pictures of all three of your girls, too. So, so sweet.

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