November 11, 2007
Hospitals are funny places.
Definely funny weird, rather than funny ha-ha. Now I’m in my mid-thirties (I know it’s hard to believe with my youthful good looks…) I, like most people, have been in a few. Sometimes – say at the arrival of a child, it’s a happy time. Sometimes it’s just plain sad, when you’re saying goodbye to someone or watching the erstwhile strong fade away. Quite often, though, it just feels like something you do, something to get through, unpleasant in many senses but just kind of there, a gentle reminder that life doesn’t always go entirely to plan.
Which is a terribly roundabout way of saying that we’re here again. This time Rohan is the troublemaker: a cold turned into a bad cold turned into a chesty thing turned into what doctors now think is ‘Bronchialitus’ (no, I hadn’t heard of it, either). He’s gonna be fine, but is in a plastic hood whotsit while he fights the virus. He also has a feeding tube and an ET-like glowing toe attachment. It all looks alarming but is actually quite straightforward. The hood is the baby version of an oxygen mask to just help him breathe a bit easier, the tube means he doesn’t have to expend valuable energy and air on eating, and the glowing toe thing measures his heart rate and blood oxygen. I know about the latter because I – sadly – looked it up on my PDA and discovered that it works because light is absorbed differently depending on how the blood is oxygenated. It doesn’t, unfortunately, give Rohan the means to signal to alien beings, which is a shame because I’ve always fancied a ride up there and he’s way cuter than ET ever was.
Most of the time the defining feature of hospitals is the waiting. And that’s why I’m here, writing a blog post on my phone, waiting for the next feed, the next night, the next day and of course for him to get better.
In some senses I’m the ideal person to have around during times like this: I’m terribly calm, very pragmatic and generally fairly unphased. In other ways, I can see that I’d be a right pain in the arse: it just doesn’t come naturally for me to worry and I can see that I could easily come across as a cold fish. Working out the medical tech and blogging from hospital sound like echoes from a Daily Mail headline: “‘Mr Ellis sat cooly by’ said one nurse who refused to be named, ‘…all he cared about was the gadgetry…'”
Anyway. There was a funny moment last night just before I left Rach and Rohan here. He’d been miserable all day with lots of coughing and crying. Then the nurse put the hood on him and within about 5 minutes of the oxygen starting an enormous grin was on his face. He looked like a dodgy clubber coming up on a handful of E: red, watery eyes, pale skin and a huge ear-to-ear smile…
Anyway, young Rohan. Here’s the bottom line: you might be a little bit noisy at night and mildly grumpy from time to time. I do like you quite a lot, though, and much as I’m a gadget fan, it’d be better to play with them at home, ok? Get well as soon as you can. I miss you, and it’s only been 24 hours.
But before we go, do pass the oxygen….