Part nine. Scroll down for parts 1-8.
There is a moral in here somewhere. Several, in fact. There is the undeniable truth that kids get sick, sometimes very sick. Medical care can be the difference between something fatal and something curable. Shame on the U.S. that not every child is covered. Every single child. S-CHIP needs to be expanded or we need universal coverage for all minors. I saw the disaster of NHS when I lived in London, and I know coverage for everyone is complicated, at best. But, the children should not be negotiable.
Then there is the lesson that a small kindness – butter cookies, a sandwich – can go a long way. And the moral about appreciating health care workers.
And there is a tale of strength in community. When we found ourselves in need, our friends and the congregants at our synagogue were there. They drove our kids, they babysat, they called and visited, and they let us know they had our backs. When, in the midst of it all, a notice about a lice case went home, another mother got us the tea tree oil J just didn’t have the time to find.
It takes a village and all that crap.
Finally, as is so often the case, it is about appreciation. When one is hauling one’s (post-pregnancy) ass out of bed at all hours to feed the baby and lift the four-year-old to the toilet and remove the nasty giraffe blanket from the four-year-old’s mouth, it is easy to forget how lucky one is to have them. Baby vomit is not such a big deal when measured against serious illness. Some days, I wonder whether four is too young for boarding school, but the week apart has reminded me of how much I need that obnoxious preschooler and his maniacal brother. I must admit, I got pretty tired of the wrong food coming and hour late and tasting like it was made of the same material as the plastic pillows. I wanted to go home: for me, for her, for them. But, I was damned lucky to have health insurance. And I’ll bet the mother who did get to go home – to take her son home to have one last Christmas –would have traded illnesses any day of the week.
It’s shout-out time, folks. Here are all the people who made this experience so much easier. In order of appearance:
Brad, although I really wish he were with us one more week
N.W. – for taking Zachary to her house after school
M.C. – for driving Benjamin home after school
The entire staff of UCLA Brentwood medical offices
Dr. Denise Garvey
The paramedics and firefighters
The nice ER dude who took care of my car and got me a sandwich
Our nanny, who kept everything normal for the boys, filled J in on everything that had changed over the past week, AND packed me a bag, even though I ended up missing her birthday.
The nurses and care providers on the pediatric floor of UCLA Santa Monica
All the residents and attendings
Our Rabbi and the Mitzvah Corps
All of the friends following and supporting on Facebook, because Momma don’t Twitter
Tim – for watching Ben so Zach could make his birthday party
M.F. – who came to visit me
J.B. – for the muffins, which ensured there was a lunch for our boys
My MIL – for coming all the way across the country at a crazy busy time
Coco – for sending love my way
All of you for reading and sending your love
And, of course, Wanda, because she rocks
J – who is the best parenting partner I could have, but especially for the moment when he came to get the car and, even though I didn’t want him to go into the room where Lilah had just fallen asleep, couldn’t help peering in the window at her.
Our boys, who went with the flow, which is definitely not in the elder one’s nature.