Bliss: Sort Of
They put an IV in him and I asked that they use the numbing cream first and the doctor said in his most professional "I don't want to panic you" voice that he needed an IV now and we did not have the half hour to wait for the cream to kick in. I think I said "You better know what you're doing." Or something along those lines. Children's is a teaching hospital and you never know when somebody is going to use your kid's arm for practice. But they got it in on the first try. Eric was so far gone by then, he didn't even fight.
Last week sails by in my head in a series of vignettes. A montage of confusion and exhaustion. Eric's skin, pale against the white sheets. His big blue eyes, exhausted and frightened and the dentist drill sucking noise of the continuous albuterol. Eric wailing that there was no way he could sleep with the mask on. It was too yucky. Me curling up onto that hospital bed with him six years to the day when I laid in a hospital bed a few blocks away and pushed him into the world while his father wept. I held the mask over his face gently watching the O2 sats on the monitor until he finally fell asleep. The smile on the Jim the Nurse's face when he listened to Eric's lungs and said we could take off the mask and switch him to albuterol with a spacer. The doctors, nurses and the guy in the chef's hat with the toppling birthday cake that sang to him the next day and pushed a bouquet of Mylar balloons into the room. The wistful glares on the faces of the parents of long term residents once it was clear that my kid was going to walk out of there. The days of games and walks around the hospital once they lifted our quarantine. The way he was suddenly was one inch from my body whenever we got on or off the elevators. Eric confiding in me the words that every working mother dreads hearing that the hospital stay was pretty great because he got to be with me all day like he likes. He even got me to play Sorry and Uno. Playing game after game of Sorry and Uno. Walking out of there blinking in the sunlight with my whole family, a suitcase full of dirty laundry, pillows and blanket and a sack full of prescription drugs, that I would have pour into him for the next four days.
So, today we did the birthday do-over and we had friends and family over for cake and the kids played in the back yard until well after dark. Kaylee had refused to get dressed after she took off her bathing suit and was running around in nothing but her underpants and a half buttoned fleece coat.
The grief for my lost friend still washes over me in great waves of sadness as I begin to process the memorial because I couldn't last week. I'm working on a way to honor my friend. But I think I'll keep that under wraps for now...