Three nurses barged into the room armed with needles, monitors and catheters. Bill moved out of the way as they gathered around Sarah looking for ‘good’ veins, hooking up electrodes.
“This looks like a good one.” One nurse said examining her arm.
“Be careful, they tend to roll on these little ones.”
They pulled out their needles and began poking. Sarah cried weakly in protest. Bill held her little body, leaning over her and shhing quietly.
I was going to be sick. “I’m going to call my parents and let them know what’s going on.” I left the room taking big gulps of air. Anywhere, I wanted to be anywhere but in that room.
The air outside was cold and crisp. Slowly my head cleared. I moved between the smokers outside for a break. I hadn’t smoked in years but yearned for a cigarette. I would have to settle for the second-hand smoke in the air.
I made two calls, my parents and work. I cleared my throat and smiled through the phone. “No, everything’s fine, just a precaution. I wanted to let you know. Right….. probably won’t be in tomorrow. Can you call the Office Mart account? We can probably close them by the end of the month. Great, thanks. Yep, I’ll keep you updated. Thanks.”
My dad and stepmom said they would be down later. They were having dinner with friends. Could they bring anything? “Starbucks” I said. “Make it a venti.”
I walked back into the waiting room. It was much busier than when we arrived. Kids who weren’t as critical chased each other between the chairs, others were cradled by concerned moms, covered in blankets. A little girl coughed loudly into the air. I felt a slight sense of relief at our timing. Bill couldn’t have handled coughing kiddos….antiseptic wipes would only do so much.
I opened the door to our room. The nurses couldn’t get a vein in her arms or legs so they went for her head.
Who puts an IV in a baby’s head? I thought. Sickos. Sarah donned a bright pink gauze hat which held the needle in place. Her tiny hands waved in the air. I felt so separate from her. I had carried her for eight months, felt her move and grow. We shared the same blood system, the oxygen I breathed had fed her little body. Now they put tubes in her head, they wanted to test her blood, not mine. I watched. I felt helpless in my daughter’s fight.
“They had to get her head," my husband said. "They pricked her little arms and legs and finally went for her head. But she fought them. Didn’t you? Yes you did.” He looked down proudly at our daughter. “You gave those nurses the what for.”