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I hate hospitals. Photo by Flicker user Ralf (Creative Commons license).

I hate hospitals. Photo by Flicker user Ralf (Creative Commons license).

Last week, my son had surgery and I had a poem accepted for publication.

The two events are unrelated except that both happened to me, and I started thinking about how life pretty much goes on whether you think it will, or want it to, or not.

For example. When I say “my son had surgery,” what I mean to say is that my son FINALLY had surgery. I recently posted about yelling at doctors and health insurance people. All of that was a direct result of numerous attempts to get the damn surgery scheduled in the first place.

Hopefully (?) blogs will be obsolete enough in the future that my son won’t ever have to know that I told the intrawebz about his right undescended testicle. Sorry, bud.

Anyway. Numerous doctors, specialists, and insurance people dropped the ball (groan, bad pun, more apologies to Jax) during the process, and they were verbally reprimanded by this mama.

So it follows that, when the surgery FINALLY happened on March 5, it would be delayed 7 hours (Seven. Hours. Seven hours. SEVEN.) and I would have to yell some more.

I would like to extend out into the karmic universe my wish that the person who had urologic surgery before my son is doing well now. S/he had complications. That is what I was told. I’m glad someone told me that because I was sitting in a waiting room thinking the doc was just having a long lunch or something, which was pissing me off beyond belief because, guess what, you aren’t allowed to eat or drink before surgery. Jax’s procedure was supposed to be at 11 AM. He sleeps until 9 or 9:30 most days, anyway. I figured he’d be fine. UNLESS SURGERY WAS DELAYED 7 HOURS.

Jax bounced awake at 7:45 when I went in to get him up, all smiles and hugs. He looked puzzled when I didn’t dress him, only changed his diaper, re-PJ-ed him, and put on his coat and hat. He looked a tad distressed when I didn’t give him a cup of juice in the car, but he dozed a little and was doing fine. At the hospital, he charmed everyone and asked for his cup a couple times.

“They’ll take him down to pre-opp pretty soon,” a nice nurse assured me.

She lied.

In our hospital room, Jax had his vitals taken. We–my stepmom, who went with me, and I–got an update that surgery would be noon instead of 11, and I started getting a little antsy. Then we heard 1. Then 2.

“Num num,” said Jax.

“I know, sweetie, I’m sorry,” said me.

At 2:30, we were moved three floors down to pre-opp. This, after I went a little rogue and started wheeling Jax around in his stroller, loudly telling any nurse who asked how we were doing that we were not, in fact, doing well at all, and that Jax hadn’t eaten or had anything to drink since 8 PM the night before, and that people had stopped giving me updates of any kind about when this surgery might actually occur, if at all.

“And do NOT send us home,” I said to one frazzled nurse. “Do not. We’re here, this is happening today. I’m not rescheduling.”

I received three separate $10 vouchers for food from the hospital cafeteria and coffee shop.

It should be noted that Jax is an amazing kid. He didn’t cry all day. He stopped asking for food and drink, apparently succumbing to the something he knew must be up for his routine to be so grossly interrupted. He napped on my lap in pre-opp and when three female nurses FINALLY arrived to take him back for anesthesia, he went without incident, waving weakly at me over the shoulder of the one who carried him. No tears. (For real, Jax, a stranger plucked you from my arms and walked away, and you can’t even cry for mama–you know, the person who didn’t feed you all day??) When he woke, his nurse told me that he didn’t wake up the disoriented wreck that nearly all kids do. He looked around a little and tried to sit up. They brought him to me. He high-fived me and started chugging juice and eating grapes. His eyes stayed open the whole drive home. He slept through the night and woke at his normal time the next morning, and basically hasn’t missed a beat. I am so grateful to be his mom.

And when I lay down that night in bed, brain wired but body exhausted, I checked my email on my phone and saw that I had a poem accepted.

Oh look. A world exists outside of hospitals. A day happened–a whole day, a Thursday in early March, in central PA and everywhere else in the world. It literally startled me, the stark difference between so banal a thing as poetry email, on a day when people sedated and cut into my little boy. On a day when all the hospital drama of the preemie past flooded back to me, but when I was reminded for a second time how remarkable and resilient my son is.

Those 7 hours of waiting, and 10.5 hours total, are nothing compared to 87 days in NICU.