Swallowing the Ladybug, Part III

So we had to drive to Temple.  At midnight.

I imagined that the ambulance would have its lights flashing, its siren blaring as we roared down Hwy 6, but no such luck.  Don’t get me wrong, the driver wasn’t pokey, but he only got up to about 75 or so at times – I didn’t have any real trouble keeping up.  In hindsight, following an ambulance to Temple was the best choice because I would have gotten LOST after turning off of 6 at Hearne.

An hour and a half later, we arrive at Temple – Suzie’s sleeping pretty soundly and Laura had managed to doze a bit herself.  I, on the other hand, was sleep-deprived and my eyes were swimming – those last 30 minutes of the trip were  a bit dicey for me; only Sirius blasting Liquid Metal managed to keep me more or less alert.

More waiting ensued.  We spent about two and half more hours waiting for Suzie to be taken for an x-ray, and by this time (about 4:30 AM), Laura’s patience was running out.  She finally went to speak to someone and soon after Suzie was wheeled out to x-ray where they found that the ladybug had moved to the entrance of the small intestine (looked it up: the pylorus) where it was lodged snugly.  We’re both worried that if they don’t get going with the endoscope soon, we may be looking at actual surgery to get the damned thing out.  But the staff assures us that there’s time and they’re prepping the room at that time.  Forty-five minutes later Suzie is taken for the procedure and there’s nothing for us to do but wait.

I’m going to try to describe what I was feeling at this time.  For those without children, I’m not quite sure you can understand the feelings a parent has seeing a child wheeled away to a surgical room.  It doesn’t matter if it’s merely for ear tubes or anything else – there’s a fear that you might never see your child again.  At least that’s what I felt.  It’s one of the most difficult emotions I’ve ever had – I know it’s necessary, but I don’t want her  out of my sight, and yet I can’t do one damned thing to help her.  It’s faith that allows the nurse to wheel the child away – faith in the staff, the doctor, and God that you’re doing the right thing. But it’s also a helpless feeling, one that I don’t feel too often, and one I never want to feel.

Waiting is excruciating.  Humor helps – Laura and I joked about wondering how Suzie was going to pay this off and things like that, but nothing could relieve the tension.  Neither of us dozed at all – we finally located some coffee and watched a National Geographic show on orangutans,  remarking how we bet the baby apes never swallowed anything stupid.

Finally, the doctor came out with a small plastic cup in his hand.  I noticed this because that’s what I immediately  looked for when he came through the doors.  The relief was palpable – it washed over me like a warm shower, I kid you not.  I felt a warmth envelop me as the doctor told us he was able to get it (it had almost been taken in by the valve) and I know I had tears of gratitude well up when he was describing the procedure.  It was a brief talk; the doctor left us pretty quickly but then returned about 10 minutes later to ask if we wanted to see her.

Of course we did.

We saw Suzie wake up from the anesthesia – there was the pretty standard confusion as to where she was and she cried a bit.  Then she puked up some blood from the scratches on her esophagus caused by the endoscope and the sobbing really began.  But other than that, she was fine; she needed to stay until the doctors saw that she could eat/keep things down – Laura decided to drive back to College Station and make sure her work was taken care of  while I stayed with Suzie.

She slept.  I watched.

This is what started all the trouble.


Sidenote:  After we saw Suzie wake up, it was decided I needed to go find a CVS for some pull-ups.  The nurse there tells me where to go but neglects to tell me how to get to the hospital exit.  Now, I’ve gone the whole night without sleep so I walk out of the recovery room a bit disoriented, but looking for signs directing me to an exit.  I must have taken a step in a wrong direction because an older doctor came up behind me and grabbed my arm, asking me what I was doing down there in a restricted area.  In my daze I try to explain about my daughter just inside the room I had exited, all the while thinking that his grabbing my arm is a bit uncalled for, and, looking back on this, I believe if I hadn’t been so disoriented he might have seen me react a bit to his grabbing me.  Anyway.  His aggressiveness was odd.

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