Finding the humor amidst the hospital hooey

I told myself I would not write anything more about my daughter’s medical crisis unless I could find humor in what we’ve been through as a family. I could really use a laugh right now. Usually I laugh a lot, but several tense weeks holding vigil over a critically ill child has taken quite a bit of the wind out of my sails. But not all of it.

Like I told the pair of neuropsychologists who had the audacity to question my sanity because I am still standing and finding the levity in the circumstances despite the situational heaviness, “I am having as much fun as I can as a jobless single parent, camped out 24/7 far from home, watching helplessly while her child fights for her life.” And I meant it sincerely.

Some people have told me I’m brave. I don’t see it that way. I am simply continuing to deal with the next thing that gets placed in front of me. That’s common sense. And it’s not as if I had a whole lot of other options. Curling up into a little ball or throwing a hissy fit at the unfairness of this are luxuries I can’t afford. Hell, I can’t afford anything right now. Plus, there’s only so much energy available.

CRITICALLY ILL - It has been harder but not impossible to still find the humor in our circumstances with Kate hospitalized for nearly a month.

CRITICALLY ILL – It has been harder but not impossible to still find the humor in our circumstances with Kate hospitalized for nearly a month.

This feels like some kind of cosmic Whack a Mole game where every time one issue gets beaten into submission, another pops up. Just when you think things got safer, there’s another unanticipated threat, like with the “Pop Goes the Weasel” song I endlessly requested my mother sing when I was a kid. Was that foreshadowing for times like these?

It helped that I already had a relationship with God. He was on speed dial when everything hit the fan. Didn’t have to send out a search party or send up some furtive “Hail Mary” prayers. I delegated my worrying to Him because even on my best day, he’s proven to be far more competent than me at working things out. I also tried to task the Lord with negotiating the unemployment and Medicaid application processes, but even the Almighty has His limits. He put those things right back onto my shoulders. Dang!

As a mom, I’ve had to put my own angst aside to talk Kate down from the ledge of despair, made much more difficult because I am right up there with her. Wisdom says when in a tough, long-haul situation, you must somehow carve out respite for yourself. That’s near impossible when as the parent of a minor child you are required to be there 24/7. For stress relief, I tried late night playing of the piano at Kate’s hospital and the one in the U of M Hospital Chapel, but both were locked up with the piano equivalent of “The Club” for cars. I swore over that one.

On the few occasions I got to leave the hospital, rather than behaving like a drunken sailor on leave, I used the respite time to attend my son’s track meets, play piano at church and to attend the funeral of Earl Rice, a high school friend of my parents.

I learned of Earl’s funeral the night before. Didn’t have anything suitable to wear, until I recalled a bag from Goodwill in my car that contained a jacket purchased the day before Kate had her stroke. Score!! I threw it on over black jeans and T-shirt. Instant mourner! But as I was about to cut off its bright blue shoulder price tag, Kate interrupted with a request for water.

At the funeral, they talked about how Earl had used his heart surgeries and recoveries to minister to others, especially to those going through similar situations. They talked about how he always took the time to really listen to and to pray daily for countless others. I left the funeral uplifted. Thanks, Earl.

Back at the hospital, I went to use the bathroom. In the mirror over the sink, the blue of my eyes and the blue of the Goodwill price tag on my shoulder stared back at me. I started laughing uncontrollably. There is humor in the hooey. You just have to see it.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. jeannieunbottled
    May 15, 2015 @ 11:49:41

    Hang in there, baby!! Sending good thoughts your way.


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