Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I suppose that ER, Grey's Anatomy and Scrubs should desensitize us all to the intricacies, invasiveness and unpredictability of modern medicine. But, when it's your kid on the gurney, a ventilator tube coming out his mouth, IVs running into his hand, both feet, his neck; a catheter draining pee and a tube draining blood from a 6-inch incision in his chest—well, nothing really prepares you for that.
And then, after you have choked back the tears and stifled the urge to panic and run, it is amazing how quickly you adjust. Within minutes you are reading the paper, chatting with the nurses about the weather, stopping occasionally to cradle his head or hold his feet when he wakes up crying and fighting all that has invaded his body.
In this place, these things are the facts. This is the place where little children come because otherwise they would die. This is the place where tiny babies fight for life and their mothers grow accustomed to sleeping on the floor under the fluorescent lights of the PICU lounge. This is the place where doctors say things like, "Well, she's going to be here a really long time, but I'm pleased with her progress." It is a place where drains and needles and incessant beeping make you forget that there is a world of children going to school and riding bikes and eating macaroni and cheese.
Of course, this is not normal—at least it should not be, was not meant to be. And yet, for us, for Levi, this is the place of miracles.