it's the way hospitals smell. the way they sound. you can take the hottest shower, use the harshest soap. but it doesn't wash off.
after yet another trip to the er, we found ourselves being transported to a hospital with a pediatric ward (of which i assumed all hospitals were equipped. never having needed one before, i was wrong.) i have noticed that the clinical disposition of the majority of health care workers is a necessary behavior. it is a weary type of exhaustion and it seems that the eye contact upon first meeting most of the workers we ran into was a card catalog of clinical diagnostics. i would look each of them in the eye and breathe deeply and will my heart into them please take care of us like we are one of your own.
after the initial balking at our surroudings (as bryan said, the hospital we ended up at looked like a production designer's idea of an eastern european orphanage) i found myself so grateful. for the russian night nurse who covered the pull out recliner with sheets and blankets and pillows and gently but forcefully had me lay down and get some sleep. i was pacing. next to the metal cage of a crib, throwing crumbs of chocolate at my emotions, listening to the oxygen machine and the iv machine and the cacophony of cries that live inside a pediatric ward. we were in the infectious disease room and every nurse was covered in masks and gloves and yet they kept coming in. they kept checking on us. the room might have been peeling paint. the phones might not have worked. but damn if those nurses didn't make me feel better.
there is something that snaps when your baby is sick. and you are told that things are going to be okay. but they also might get worse. that your son is doing great. but here is what to look for in case....
before i left for the er this last time, i saw dash's handprints on the bathroom mirror, right above where i give him a bath in his tub. i pulled out the cleaner to wash them away and almost left them. scared that maybe something would go wrong and i would come home without him and i would never forgive myself for washing his handprints away. and then i realized.
i would never forgive myself for the foresight more than anything else.
so i scrubbed the mirror clean.
we are home. he is still sick. but we are home.
and we napped together today for two hours, dash and i. spooned up together on the bed. and he smiled at me when we woke up.
and i held finn extra tight, told her how much i love her. and i cried when she left to go get dinner with bryan and my mom because this parenting thing? it's fucking terrifying. these little tiny beings running around with my nerve endings all wrapped up in between their toes and their fingers, tiny little invisible threads that tug at my skin and my veins as they move through the day.
but we are home.