The floor my daughter stayed on during our recent sojourn at Riley Children’s Hospital, was, of course, beautifully decorated with pictures of animals. Each room had a name plate with a different animal and the child’s name.
The animal on Emily’s name plate was…wait for it…a horse. Down the way, another child was a zebra, but Em was just a plain old horse for 2 whole days. And that is a perfect illustration of her stay in the hospital after her emergency appendectomy.
For once, she was a horse. Yes, a horse with some hidden stripes that made life a little more complicated, but a horse nonetheless. She had a condition the doctors and nurses were familiar with, something they knew how to treat with one hand tied behind their backs and which was totally routine – even boring – to them. When a new nurse came on duty, she knew what an appendectomy was and what she needed to do to help my daughter get better. The doctors knew what it was and didn’t have to google it. I didn’t have to spell it or teach them how to pronounce it.
Pretty refreshing, to be honest. Normally, she is a puzzle hidden in a mystery wrapped in an enigma, so it was strangely comforting to not have to instruct the medical staff on what to do. (Ok, so I gave lots of instructions, endless instructions, as they were prepping for surgery, but once she was out of surgery, it was just pretty run-of-the-mill recovery that I could just let them handle. Being able to concentrate on comforting my child, instead of educating the staff every single second, was lovely beyond words.)
Of course, now that we are home, we are getting back into the zebra routine. I am pretty sure most appendectomy patients don’t have to reduce a hip dislocation during the first week of recovery. Or worry about the sutures tearing fragile internal tissue. Or have damaged skin from the tape that secured her IV. Then there is the issue of exactly how long it will take to heal – probably twice as long as normals. We never were given firm limits on how long to restrict her, the surgeon wouldn’t hazard a guess as to how long it would take her to bounce back.
So, we are back to business as usual. But, I gotta say, it sure was nice to take a little break from the Zebra Reality Show and just be a horse for a few days!