As you can probably imagine, Mike and I have talked about many things since Dominic’s accident. Much of what we’ve been mulling over is serious, hard stuff and nowhere near funny. These two snippets, however, I can share. They’re as close as we came to laughing this week.
In the doctor’s office, staring at Dominic’s X-rays on the computer screen while three specialists debated out in the hallway about whether Dominic needed surgery:
“I think I should quit the fruits of the spirit project,” I said.
“What?” Mike said.
“Think about it,” I said. “It took me more than a month after Dominic’s birth to untangle how I felt about the fact that maternal love hadn’t swamped me upon delivery. Then the month of joy was full of days that felt decidedly joyless. During the month of peace a friend dies and one of my worst fears fulfilled – now the month is ending with my baby in a cast. If I wanted to speak Christianese, I might say that I was under spiritual attack. Now, I sort of have to do the month of patience given what’s in front of us during Dominic’s recovery, but after that I think I should quit.”
“I wouldn’t laugh,” I said. “You know what comes after the month of patience? The month of kindness, then the month of faithfulness. I would want me to quit if I were you.”
Day three in the hospital. I’ve only left the room once each day, briefly, to go downstairs to the lobby and procure a caramel macchiato and a cream cheese muffin. Mike is trying to do some work and I’m on the bed pretending a toy bear is looking for honey in Dominic’s ear. When that stops working in about 23 seconds I will move on to fake sneezing, because that’s always good for a smile at the moment.
“Remember last time we were here?” I said.
“Yeah,” Mike said.
“I mean, I know you had an IV stuck in the back of your hand and all,” I said. “But once we knew the staph was under control it was sort of fun, wasn’t it? We ate French fries and ice cream sundaes. We got to hang together all week and work, then cuddle up in the evenings in the hospital bed and watch movies on the big screen TV.”
“And go for walks in the evening down to the nursery to look at all the babies,” Mike said. “And now we have one of our own.”
We both looked at our baby. He looked frustrated and needy.
“Last time was sort of like a little holiday, wasn’t it?” I said.
“Yeah,” Mike said. “It sort of was.”
Yes, folks. We were reminiscing about previous medical evacuations … wistfully. It was that sort of week.
We’re back in Laos now. Dominic seems to be doing OK. Not well, but OK. He still needs pain medication every couple of hours, which is a bit problematic because he’s decided he hates the taste of the infant nurofen (not that I blame him, it’s sickly sweet and orange-flavoured).
“You think I’m going to take that nurofen nicely? Think again.“
Every time we try to dose him with nurofen it’s a trial that starts with locked lips and glaring and inevitably progresses to screaming and sticky orange goo all over his face and clothes. The strawberry-flavored panadol, however, he gulps down like a starving piglet and doesn’t let a single drop escape. This week has so ruined his taste buds for broccoli and carrots.
Now the countdown begins. We take Dominic back to Bangkok for more X-rays and (hopefully) the removal of his cast three weeks from yesterday. My parents will be in town then, so on that day we were hoping to land in Bangkok at 9:30, clear immigration and customs, get to the hospital, get X-rays, see the orthopedic specialists and get the cast off, see a pediatrician and get 6 month vaccinations (sorry little guy, you’re just having the worst run at the moment), and make it back to the airport by noon at the very latest so that we can fly back to Laos at 1:30 that afternoon rather than overnighting in Thailand.
After seeing the lines at Bangkok airport immigration yesterday I think our chances of all that unfolding on schedule are … (insert appropriate idiom here). I’m tempted to go with “a snowball’s chance in hell”, but Mike thinks we can do it. Anyone want to place a bet?
Finally, here’s how today’s introduction to rice cereal went:
“Oooh, what’s that? Maybe it’s strawberry-flavored Panadol!”
“Yuck! Rice cereal tastes worse than nurofen!”
“Why are you torturing me like this? What did I ever do to you?”
“How many times do I have to say no?”
“Much better. You got any panadol around, though? Cuz I’m sorta hungry, you know.”