Since Wednesday night, Tucker has viewed his life from the other side of this dinosaur mask, doing yet another nebulizer treatment. He's becoming a pro, but the ones in the middle of the night still get the best of him. I can't blame him, really. The lights, the steam, the mask - it's all a little overwhelming at 2 AM. But here he is on Wednesday night, as we had just settled in to the ER.
When we arrived at the ER, we were disappointed to learn that we arrived just a few minutes after the Children's ER had closed for the night. So, Tucker got the royal treatment, with big kid everything. He won the hearts of the hospital staff, since they were mostly dealing with adults... his sweet smile was a refreshing change. And he was most welcoming to everyone all night long. (Except the crew who tried to put in his IV and blew a vein in the process. He didn't like them so much, but neither did I.)
He was Mr. Congeniality, agreeing to everything and smiling at everyone, chatting it up in his own little language. One doctor was asking for his medical history; I said, "Well, when he was fourteen months, he had surgery on an undescended testicle."
Tucker threw his arms in the air and exclaimed, "YES! Testicle!"
The doctor and I both laughed. He said, "You bet, kiddo. Be proud of those buddies."
(Tucker, please forgive me for sharing that information with the blogging world. But it was too funny to keep to myself.)
As the night progressed, he was still very social, but he was more intent on feeling better. He began asking everyone to please help him breathe better. "Beeve betta peeze?" That's enough to break me in two, right there.
Sadly, there's not much that's very fun about the adult ER. No books, nothing to color, no Disney movies... all our best staples for after hours entertainment.
We had to rely on the videos on my phone and our own creativity to get us through the endless night. We played I Spy. We counted as high as we could - or as high as Tucker can, which is presently seventeen. We ate popsicles. And then, we discovered the many, many creative uses of the vomit basin. (He did need it once for the actual use it was intended for. We didn't experiment any further with that one.)
Did you know it's a great sailboat? Or a hat? Or a telephone? Oh, the ideas are endless...
Tucker most often has make-believe conversations with his Uncle Rob on the phone. In his one-sided conversations, they reminisce about the trip to Disney World in the spring, the loud fireworks, and hugging Pluto. This time, I caught it all on video. Because he will love this memory someday.
Around four in the morning, we met Firefighter Eric. He was strolling through the hallway, strolled past our gaping curtain, took one look at Tucker, and decided this kid needs a visit. He said, "Hey, little buddy. If you're up when we're up, then you're already halfway to becoming a firefighter. You need a hat and a badge."
Firefighter Eric gave us much to talk about after his departure, and he pretty much doubled our options of things to play with. He was my hero, for sure.
AND, he hooked us up with the Cartoon Network. (But let me assure you: Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network are not age appropriate at that hour. In case you thought you'd work that in to your children's TV entertainment schedule; I'd steer clear of the midnight hours.)
At seven in the morning, they decided to keep him, and Tuck and I settled in to our new room, finally to catch some rest. Until eight, when it was time for another breathing treatment. Apparently, it was also time to start the day. Ugh. No rest for this mom.
(It is amazing how much less sleep I really need than I once thought. The same is true for clean clothes and deodorant. Granted, I do not function at the top of my game after I've been up all night, and I'm not sure everyone would agree that less hygiene is okay in the long run. Nonetheless, you do what you have to do.)
Our days have taken on a new routine. Tucker enjoys pancakes for breakfast - a mandate of his. While I do cut them into bite size pieces, he prefers to pick up the frisbee and eat it. A less conventional approach, but definitely more practical.
We have been playing quiet little games that are suitable for a busy boy who is confined to a hospital bed. Barrel O' Monkeys is a recurring favorite.
We look at the Disney World scrapbook, and we play with his stuffed puppies (he is accumulating them as gifts from friends - we have Murdoch, Duffy, Purple, and Googa Head). We have snacks, we enjoy quiet visits with friends, and today we even had a pizza party with Tucker's best buddies.
Very often, he is most delighted by a visit with a grandparent. Oh, the joys of grandparents. They are a gift to little children, but also to the very tired parents.
We watched lots and lots of movies. LOTS. And LOTS.
Robb comes and goes, staying as long as he can until he needs to retrieve our younger son from his current place of childcare. He jumps into whatever Tucker is doing at the moment, and he provides comic relief with silly games and songs that only daddies can do...which most often contain lyrics regarding bodily functions.
(Let's just take a moment to be thankful Robb is not in Texas... after all, were it not for his surprise homecoming last weekend, he could still be gone for another week. Thank you, Lord.)
And every two hours, Tucker snuggles in for more breathing treatments. Sweet boy.
Robb sent this early morning video to me... Tyler is eager for life as normal.
Thank you to the friends and family who have given Tyler a safe place to play while his family is locked up on the pediatric floor of the hospital. I miss our old life. Back in the olden days, when the four of us lived together.