After a few hours playing, grocery shopping, and eating at the Tesco Lotus on a holiday morning,we walked out into the afternoon heat – Rahul in the trolley, Leila upset because she had to walk; both, more than ready to get into their air conditioned car-seats and nap.
I can’t remember if it’s a flat tire or a flat tyre.
“A flat tyre (American English: flat tire) is a deflated pneumatic tire, which can cause the rim of the wheel to ride on the tire tread or the ground potentially resulting in loss of control of the vehicle or irreparable damage to the tire. The most common cause of a flat tire is puncturing of the tire by a sharp object, such as a nail, letting air escape. Depending on the size of the puncture, the tire may deflate slowly or rapidly.”
Luckily, there was a “tyre fixing” place 20m away, just across the ring road. A man standing close to the workshop immediately crossed the road with us, back into the Tesco parking lot, assessed the situation. He returned a few minutes later, filled up the flat tyre with enough air to get us across.
And indeed, he showed us the hole.
Me: Today is Saturday. Do you have school today?
L & R : NO!!!
Me: Hey, Anna goes to a hip hop dance class on Saturdays. I think it’s a lot of fun. Do you guys want to go with her today?
Leila: I already know hip hop. It’s on one foot. But I only like to spin.
Me: Oh yeah, you hop. Well sometimes you dance on one foot and sometimes on both. So let’s go!
Leila: But how time until flip flop? I want to go with Anna.
Me: After lunch.
Rahul: Hip hop is a dessert.
Me: Oh yeah? What does it taste like?
Rahul holding a pretend pan over the stove: It’s a pancake.
Me: Oh yeah, you flip it huh?
He lights up.
What Hip Hop Taught Me by Jenna Marbles
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.
The emergency room doctor last night wanted to rule out appendicitis – seriously there are some crazy twin stories out there, this one would have been too much for me.
Not sure if we can get out today, the paediatrician can’t pinpoint the issue, and it was quite the painful bacterial, gastro issue.
Leila and Rahul made sure that we’d be staying with them all night. At least twenty times. In the same room. And right before falling asleep L asked me why we left them
In the hospital every night when they were babies. Why didn’t I stay with them? She was sad that we left. And why did the doctors and nurses in HK not allow us to stay with them. It’s not fair.
I sang them the Brassens song that Maher and I used to sing them every day when we were in HK. They finally drifted off after an exhausting day.
I remembered a woman I met in HK the two other times that Leila was admitted into hospital, L was around one then. She was an older British woman who took care of Chinese orphan girls, brought them to a state of adoptability. She would care for them and take them through surgeries. Strangely enough I met her twice at two different hospitals. The first time her little girl, Grace was having major surgery of her bowels. The second time I thought she was there still with Grace, but it was another girl, another story. The one thing she said to me that I remember is how quickly children snap out of such situations. They don’t mope and feel sorry for themselves.
There is a lot of compassion.
This morning, Rahul wondered why Maher went to get us some breakfast alone. “But he’ll miss you mama.”
And then later he said to Leila, “Let’s do bicycle with our feet. I am
Just touching you because I love you.”