22 October 2009

Our Day...everyday.

Every day we drive down to Temple...

Each day, we park in the front hospital parking lot, grab our bags and walk up the steps to the hospital. We are often on our cellphones as we walk to the hospital, our effort to multi-task as we must continue to conduct life in the midst of this daily routine.

We pass by the automatic glass doors, say hello to the same curly-haired man at the front desk. Up we go to the 3rd floor.

We get off the elevator and pass by the Labor and Delivery waiting room.  We inevitably hear laughter and excitement from dozen of people with their "It's a Boy"/"It's a Girl" balloons sitting in the room, anxiously waiting along to see family members.  For a minute it stings as we longed to experience that kind of delivery with Bennett.  But, our hearts become happy for them as we, too, have something to celebrate.

We round the corner and walk under the silver letters on the wall that says, "Neonatal Intensive Care Unit." The young girl at the counter behind the window notices us, smiles and pushes the latch to release the double doors to the NICU hospital wing.

We walk down the cold white hallway, such a familiar place now, and anxiously scrub up at the sink.  We know our little one is sleeping in the room nearby.  After drying our hands, we open the cabinet and find our hospital gown. We throw it on and knock at the NICU room door.  A nurse nearby opens the door and lets us in.

There he is, usually quietly resting.  The room is always so still.

We say hello to the nurse (whoever she may be that day).  Our eyes play the "where's waldo" game as we try to determine what has changed in Bennett's care since we last saw him - a new blanket? a new outfit? a missing tube?

We banter with the nurse for a few minutes before she reports to us what has happened since our last visit...or since she came on her shift.

Once we talk for a few minutes and we are satisfied with the update, we pick Bennett up and begin to talk to him.  We sit down in nearby chairs (never too far from Bennett's bedside as the tubes and cords do not reach).  We love on our little man and if it's feeding time, we give him a bottle.

Within a few minutes, someone (a surgeon, a respiratory therapist, a lactation specialist, a doctor, etc) inevitably finds us - as though they've been waiting all day for us to arrive.  We exchange important information.  They share updates, we ask questions.

Eventually, they move on.  A nurse or two chats with us on their way to care for a nearby baby. Another hospital staffer catches us as they walk by - they too have something they have been meaning to share with us regarding Bennett's care.

All during this time, we rock our baby and comb his hair.  We touch his feet, his fingers, his nose.  Bennett gets a diaper change or temperature check, if needed.  We gladly care for our son, forgetting for a minute that we're wearing hospital gowns and that he's hooked up to a heart monitor.

Eventually, we notice the clock on the wall across from Bennett's bed.  It's time for us to go. The nurse asks when we plan to return.  We plan another time and swaddle Bennett back up. He looks good. He'll be ok.

We place him back in his bed.  Making sure he's comfortable, we add another blanket just in case.  We kiss him on the forehead, reminding ourselves not to lick our salty lips afterwards (we don't want to remember, for a moment - that particular moment -  that he has CF).

We wind up his Giraffe and say goodbye.  Soft lullaby music plays from Bennett's cribas we leave.

The door shuts.  We take off our gowns and throw it in the "soiled linen" container next to the sink.
 We walk through the NICU double doors. Past the lobby. Down the elevator. Through the automatic glass doors. Into the parking lot. To our car.

We'll be back.  To do it all over again tomorrow.

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for sharing this insight into your day. It's amazing how something so strange can become so familiar. In a few short weeks, we hope that you will have a new routine where you can just walk down the hall to see your little one. The time will come soon. Hang in there!


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