When I was about four years old, I came down with a nasty bout of pneumonia. I was hospitalized for a good while. I don’t know if I remember it all happening or if I’ve heard the stories so many times that I think I’m remembering. There is always an overlapping haze with moments like this. My mom has always said she’ll never forget my dad rushing into the house from work and leaping up the stairs to get me when they knew it was bad. I remember – or I was told – there was a giant tent over me in the hospital bed.
However, there are three things I do have specific memories of regarding this event:
- My dad’s college friend sent me a giant purple elephant with crayons in its front pocket, and I loved that purple elephant more than anything.
- The nurses gave me a (very old-fashioned) bell to ring when I needed something from them.
- The day after receiving the bell, it was taken away from me.
Apparently, I exhibited blatant abuse of the bell.
But here’s the thing: I didn’t ring the bell because I needed anything from them. I rang the bell so that they would come and talk to me.
I just wanted to chit-chat! I mean, who doesn’t want to sit and opine about life with a four-year old who’s stuck under a plastic canopy of refreshing clean air?! I’m sure I had plenty of riveting things to say.
Eventually, I did get out of the hospital (quite obviously) and I didn’t need a bell to get attention at home. My little siblings greeted me with arms outstretched and waited on me and my purple elephant for endless days and nights.
Scratch that. It is a complete lie and I just made that up as I typed. But doesn’t it sound sweet?
I’m sure my family did take care of me quite well. And if they didn’t take care of me, I know they at least listened to me chatter.
These are my people.
So, here I am again… years and years later. I’ve had quite a few hospital run-ins in the last decade and since my appendectomy was about three years ago, I was due again. This time, I’ve done quite the number on my foot, of all things. I don’t want to rehash the whole story. Cliff note version: I was standing on a stool to get a shot of the girls and I fell off in the most unique way possible – thereby tearing apart the base of what holds your whole damn foot together.
I had surgery last week and I’ve got a bit of a road to recovery ahead of me – though it could always, always be worse – and so I’m learning patience (at a snail pace). And I’m also remembering (not that I need a reason to) why I love my family so much.
To my brother Ryan: thank you for the virtual exam (over FaceTime) and determining this may be a Lisfranc injury – after it was not healing and had been misdiagnosed at the ER (not their fault, very common misdiagnosis). Thank you also for keeping your poker face on and cheerfully telling me to call a specialist “for peace of mind” when you likely knew the whole time I was going to need surgery. You knew exactly how to handle me (for real). And thank you for answering all of my calm (read: hysterical) texts in a dignified and soothing way (so as not to spook the crazy person).
Thank you also, Ryan, for telling me that you love me dearly, but I am the worst kind of patient. I needed to hear that. I’m so glad we’re in this together!
(Why is he running from me?)
To my sister Michelle, thank you for listening patiently while I had a psychotic break over the phone during the uncertainty and frustration. As I went from laughing to crying to saying “it could be worse” to complaining to apologizing for complaining, you handled me like a pro. And for finally yelling, “Complain! You can complain! This fricken sucks!”
To my brother Curtis, thank you for the spontaneous and hideous SnapChat videos of you and the check-ins. I love you, chicken.
To my dad – the first doctor in the family – thank you for your completely random (yet entertaining) selfies showing me how high the corn is coming in this year. And then following that text a day later with a huge, rambling rant of what drug I need to call in for pain and how people wouldn’t even let their horses walk around like this and this is “completely unacceptable in this odeon age.”
And thank you for then following up that text with the definition of “odeon.” (Which I have since looked up and can’t confirm anywhere, but this does not surprise me as you once referred to the Taj Mahal as the Menage A Trois.)
To my mama: who has swooped in – once again – to save the day. I swear to God, you eat pot-brownies for breakfast. I can find no other way to explain your complete calm and constant cheeriness. You play with Ivy for hours on end and happily go about picking up and letting the dogs out and catering to your child (me) – with not a bell in sight. You are a hybrid of Mary Poppins and Florence Nightingale… on steroids. I don’t deserve you.
To my husband – who has pulled so many all-nighters in the last three weeks trying to get work done while holding this house down in between traveling – you have proven yourself tenfold. I know this is so hard for you.
To Hannah, thank you for being one of the two best kids on earth! Thank you for taking care of your sister when you’re here and for surprising me with a clean bedroom to sleep in. You amaze me over and over, kid – and I love you to the moon and back.
To all of the family and friends (who knew) and have checked in and offered help, you are AWESOME and I love and appreciate you so much.
It seems like a silly thing – maybe minor, to some. (Look up Lisfranc injuries here. I like a good challenge and since only 1 in 55k people injure their foot in this particular way, I have outdone myself once again!) But this has already proven to be a little more daunting than I imagined. I will be off my feet for six weeks and then (hopefully) have a boot for another six weeks. I also decided to up the ante and make sure I injured my right foot – so I won’t be driving any time soon. Taking care of a four-year old and two rowdy dogs while working from home full time in the legal field has always been a bit of an obstacle course. Doing it with one working leg just changed the game in a whole new way.
And… this is not how I wanted to spend the last month or so of summer before my baby begins school. (But I’m not allowing my mind to go there.)
Although surgery recovery has been painful, it is the dependence on others that is the most challenging. I absolutely hate needing help with nearly every single thing right now. Things will be so much better when I can bear a little weight on this puppy. Until then, I’ve bought a very chic knee scooter. So, if you see me rollin’, wave!
They didn’t give me a bell this time when I was in the hospital. Had they, I’m sure they would have realized their mistake quickly – just as when I was four. But who needs a bell when you have this family?
They know why the caged bird sings…
She just wants to have a chat, for chrissakes!