We have now been inpatient with Gigi for eight days. I haven’t really slept in a week and a half, since her initial surgery and rough recovery. I have watched Finding Dory more times than I could have ever imagined. It is what comforts her right now, and the girl who almost died gets whatever she wants, I declare it. Each of my kids has had a movie that has comforted them through a hard time. For Tess, it was Frozen. Oh my gosh with the snow glowing white on the mountain tonight. Over and over and over, it glowed. For AJ, it was Incredibles. When he first came to the U.S., leaving behind everything he knew, he watched Incredibles on an endless loop. It was by watching that movie nine thousand times that we found the expression “Fly home Buddy. I work alone.”
At first it was a joke. I would say it to the kids when they were up in my business. “Mom! Mom! What are you doing?!?” “Fly home Buddy. I work alone.” And, out they’d go. Then I’d say it to Joe. “Do you need my help with that?” “Nope. Fly home Buddy. I work alone.” Then I began to say it to myself.
At the beginning of this hospitalization I thought, “You’ve done this before. You can manage it. Life will be fine.” When people asked to help I told them we didn’t really need anything. “Fly home Buddy. I work alone.” Don’t visit. Don’t help. We’ll be fine.
Joe has ten kids all alone at home. Ten kids from backgrounds that make the unexpected REALLY hard to deal with. I am staying at a hospital almost two hours away with a 4 year old who is non-verbal. She is very sick and doesn’t have anyone here, aside from me, who can sign.
Someone started a Meal Train. Joe has had meals every single night that I’ve been in here. He has grocery money for the month, which means he can take time off of work if he needs to, just to be with the kids at home. My parents helped bring the kids to and from their usual extracurricular activities. His mom slept at our house so that he could work his usual night shifts. The kids teachers have been taking them places on their days off. That’s right, their teachers are volunteering their free days to be with my kids.
As I watched Gigi make progress over the last 24 hours, waking up more, drinking a little bit, doing some Physical Therapy, I also watched her become more depressed. She’s not my Gigi. She closes her eyes or stares at the wall. Tonight, as I walked across the bridge to the Ronald McDonald House to get some dinner, I felt pathetic. I’ve been in an ICU room all day, all alone, with a child I can’t comfort. She’s so damn sad, and there is nothing I can do about it. God, it’s the worst, loneliest feeling.
I went and got my dinner and went into my room for my ritual twenty minutes of alone time. I stand in the middle of the room for twenty minutes, all alone, and just breathe. No beeping. No crises. Nothing. As I left the room I saw the voicemail light blinking on the phone. My Amazon package was at the front desk. I had ordered more hairspray and some slippers. Comfort items. When I got to the desk and introduced myself, the lady laughed and gestured to the cart behind her.
“Either you have an online shopping problem, or someone loves your daughter very much.”
A bunch of someones.
There were 12 packages there, each one of them different and special. I put them at the end of Gigi’s bed. Each time we have to do something painful or unpleasant, pulling a tube, making her sit up, I am going let her open one. They will make the unimaginable less unimaginable.
–FullPlateMom, who doesn’t ever work alone.