I don’t hate hospitals, but I don’t love them either. Being a sibling, I was at a hospital at least once or twice a month, which has led to some strange likings. I like hospital food, I enjoy reading SAT monitors, I celebrate in secretions making their way out or oxygen levels rising and I secretly feel calm in the midst of chaos and hospital life. That being said, the only time I go a hospital now is because one of my clients are there.
Last Thursday I got a call from a mom that always sends shivers through my spine.
“I am just getting ready to take him to the hospital, I can’t wake him up.” She said with the word’s spitting from her mouth in a worrying speed.
I was with another client and wasn’t able to come straight to her, which I wanted to do. When she was about to tell me what had happened, I told her not to. I had to get through my shift and then could come to the hospital later that night. As soon as I was finished my shift, I jumped on the streetcar and headed over there. I met her outside and usually strong in these situations, she was worried and tired. She told me what had happened and said, “I think it is his shunt,” which could mean brain surgery. A shunt is put in the brain of someone with Hydrocephalus or Spina Bifida. It drains the excess fluid from their brains through to their stomachs.
As I walked into the hospital and saw nurses running around, doctors with their teams other parents waiting and them working on my client on the table, I was more and more able to take it all in and be there for mom. As the night went on, she had other family members come down and then leave as it was getting to midnight hours. It never hit me to go home, even though I tons to do the next day.
As we waited for tests, tried to convince hospital staff that he was in pain (even though he was sleeping and couldn’t wake up), pushed the hospital bed up and down halls because we were getting tired of waiting for transport, continually suctioning fluid, talking to doctors and plead with them that something else was wrong, the hours ticked on. At six in the morning, we were admitted and taken up to our new room. Once somewhat settled, I once again regurgitated all concerns mom and I shared, hoping they would fall differently on new ears. Mom had given up. She sat back and waited. She said, “It takes them two days to figure out what’s really wrong, or his vital signs drop and then people move.” I still kept trying.
I left at eight that morning and was back for a bit at eleven. When I left for good, I told her to please keep updating me as I don’t know when I could visit again. When she did update me, she told me he had gotten worse. His SAT’s had dropped and they were taking him to into surgery. Not brain, they discovered the problem was abdominal. They had caught him just in time. He was in surgery for two hours. When he came out he was very sick and moved to the ICU. They discovered he had twisted bowel. It is when the intestine is so twisted, it obstructs the bowel allowing nothing through. It is incredibly painful and was why he couldn’t wake himself up. Most people are extremely tired, in immense pain but can tell you of their pain. When my client is in pain, he sleeps and then if this made him increasingly tired, well you see the problem.
After two nights spent in ICU, fevers, and discomfort, he is now happier and stable. There is still minor discomfort, but he is now responsive.
I wouldn’t say hospitals are my favourite place in the world, but I am able to somehow be calm in a stressful and frustrating environment that can unintentionally cause increased stress. This is all so I can support parents and be there for children that I love and mean the world to me. It is just another strange but wonderful gift from my big brother.