Monday, December 13, 2010

Twinkle Lights

The holidays in the hospital are a rough time, but also a fun time with decorations. On Wednesday night I was determined to find decorations for Makenzie's room. I took a peak at Ryan's room to see where his Mom Carolyn hung the lights. She made it so festive and fun for Ryan, and once we moved from the 3-fer room to our old room, it was easier to decorate! So we have gone through Halloween decorations, Thanksgiving decorations and now Christmas decorations at the hospital.

Jack arrived to spend some time with Bug, see me and so I can work out. I rushed across to the Mulberry Athletic complex, so grateful that UCSF is into progressive fitness, and dove into the Precor. I was sweating like a banchee and didn't care. By the way, what is a banchee, I have only heard the phrase but use it all the time. Lame, I know, but I digest headphones were on and I was reading US to which I am forever grateful. It hit me when I was sweating how intense the recent days were and I started crying a bit. But my tears were blocked by my sweat so I figured noone would notice. And if they did, I would flash my blue parent wristband and hope they understood. I was determined to have an intense and insane workout if my body would allow. And I did. When working out I noticed the faces on the med students on the bikes while reading schoolbooks, running on the treadmill laughing with buddies, and looking as if they should know what they are doing in the weight room since they are med students but with the most improper form possible. I had to hold back from rushing over to help a sweet guy who had limbs as long as I am tall. But I was thinking bout how they are just beginning to learn about the real medical journey they are on. They are at the beginning stages of having to talk with families about their loved ones, and that is an art and special practice in itself. The act of sharing medical information with a family member who has been on pins and needles, not sleeping, feels they are alert but about to fall to the floor, and just awaiting news that says their loved one will be ok. With watching the residents and working with so many, I can see who is comfortable in their skin with answering our (parent's/family member's) tough and challenging questions and who isn't. Toughen up on that piece my favorite residents, as the ones who can perfect the art have huge fanclubs...even if they bring the bad news.

Back to twinkling lights...I left the gym sweaty and full of energy to find decorations at Wallgreens. We are limited by proximity and our legs when exploring around UCSF and for that Jack and I are very grateful that San Francisco has so many incredible neighborhoods. It feels so good to get outside the walls of the buildings too and not for my specific time limited run or workout, but to walk and feel like I live a normal life for a few. When walking towards Cole Street, nobody knows that my mind is full of thoughts about Makenzie and Emerson!! M's pseudocyst blockage, long term changes and potential Type 1 Diabetes, concerns about how Emerson is doing with her potty training at my parents and how she is doing without us, thoughts about how I am a bit envious of my younger cousin who get's to have a fun Parisian adventure over Christmas and I am filled with concerns about my children (lame I know I will one day go, but it did pass my mind), and those of thinking how could Jack and I manage to live in Australia one day when the last 2 years alone we've had Emerson ICU sick-Makenzie dental surgery- his job loss-move from PDX to CA-Makenzie Medical crisis-me halting my business. I know we are both go-getters, but insurance doesn't exactly say "Way to go on trying hard!". So I ran there instead of walking and blew the thoughts from my head, started looking at the lights everywhere, and really wanted to find twinkle lights for Makenzie's room.

I ran around a bit and then ended at my mecca...Walgreens! It is full of cheesy snowmen, tinsel, decorate your own stockings, little ornaments, candy treats for the nurses, and lights! They had a selection that had perfect strands full of 10 snowflakes or 10 stars. I picked the stars so Makenzie can make tons of wishes on them. If she can't be outside to wish under them, she can go to sleep looking wishing on them as they twinkle in front of her. I was bubbling with excitement since I knew she would be surprised!

When I got back and Jack and I did our check in before he had to go home, I showed him everything. You would have thought I found the most premier lights I was so excited. He left and I started to decorate with a sleeping Makenzie inches away. Tinsel went on the bulletin board, snowman with dangly legs on the Emergency Responder Kit shelf, big red and gold ribbon tied through the medical bed, huge snowflakes hung with ribbon on the racks, stockings for Makenzie and Emerson to decorate at the foot of her bed, and star lights taped to the windows and shelf. I turned off the lights and they looked beautiful! It felt warm, peaceful, and like Christmas had entered the room. I couldn't wait for Makenzie to wake up, and when she did, she smiled so wide!

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I am probably out running, but I thank you for taking the time to share. I look forward to your additional input as this blog grows and evolves.
Erin Kreitz Shirey