I am not proud that my kids love Barbie dolls.
I am when they play hair-dresser.
There is much stress and trauma with having a needle injected into a little arm. The nurse in the emergency room here did it well though, there weren’t the usual repeat tries either because of their squirming, fighting, little veins, or just mistakes.
Soon after L and R were born they had IV lines stuck in them, in their hands, and then over the weeks, they sometimes had them in their feet. They were tiny babies, 1.25 Kg and 1.65 Kg. I have no idea how the doctors managed such a feat.
Since she was at the NICU tiny Leila fought the nurses. She kicked, and flailed her arms around. She tried to pull out the feeding tube that was in her mouth, and went though to her stomach.
And this was her here: I don’t want to be locked mum. It’s not fair. I want to be free.
The sense of helplessness in such places and situations is a weight on me.
And then it’s the clogged lines that hurt like hell, that has Rahul screaming. When the flow isn’t smooth, injecting medication into the line leaves him sweating, shaking, and shrieking.
All day long, the moment the door creaks, they both shudder, and the questions start, through the tears.
“What is she going to do now?”
“What does she want?”
“I don’t want any medicine…”
“Why is she here?”
“Mama, papa, mama, papa….”
No pauses between words or sentences.
Then I asked for as many oral options as possible. We all relaxed a bit. Day two the nurses stayed away and out of the room unless necessary. Again the stress eased a lot. The IV’s came out.
We started talking to the nurses and doctors out of the kids ear shot, when possible. They never hear the second half of phrases like “blood test results,” or “injection into the IV line,” they relive their experiences and protest wholeheartedly.
“Only do that to Leila, mama? Not for me? I don’t have to do that?” And next time it’s “Mama, I don’t need to do that? Only Rahul?”
So they are both screaming and crying living and reliving each others experiences.
Today is day three, the fever has finally eased up. Leila held Rahul’s hand through his ultrasound, kissed him when he was scared.
We played in the hospital garden, the knight and the princess liberated the bridge with their swords.
A few months ago when the Chengdu rain was pouring incessantly, and probably around a full moon day, I bought a bunch of frames from Ikea. I picked a handful of my favorite paintings by R and L and created a colourful installation.
Me: Do you think these two work in here, in the black frames?
Maher: Yeah, why not. But what do you want to do with all of these frames?
I tore down my yoga-photo wall. After 7 years, a change was necessary.
Me: What do you think Maher? Does it all look fine like this? Too bad for that basket ball hoop.
Maher staring at his Ipad: Maybe you should put them up at a museum.
Me: Oh man, thanks for your help. But hey, what a great idea 😉