Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Breaks my heart

Since Elijah’s birth, I’ve learned that mostly people mean well. They likely do not know what to say to me and sometimes they say things that hurt me deeply.

First, let me clarify that I am over it. Really. Please don't sensor your words in my presence or avoid talking to me for fear of ending up on my blog. But, this evening, I have this desire to share with you those stingers that will not leave my memory. Perhaps knowing I’ve charted them will send them from my brain making room for far more important information.

Stinger 1
The day we were taking Elijah home from the hospital the very first time, the discharge nurse was required to walk us clear to our car and watch us strap our newborn in the back seat. It felt as though we had to pass the test (which we did, by the way). I remember so clearly as she and I stood waiting for David to fetch the car she said, “Well, with most babies you have to worry about their arms and legs getting in the way, at least you don’t have that.” I hope you get how absurd her comment without my further explanation, but I’ll share my emotion anyway – NO, I AM NOT IN ANY WAY RELIEVED THAT MY KID CANNOT GET HIS ARMS AND LEGS IN THE WAY OF A FEEDING OR DIAPER CHANGE OR HOW ABOUT AROUND MY NECK. Oh, how I wish...

Stinger 2
A friend of mine visited me in the NICU and said, “I sure don’t envy you.” I’m not even sure what this friend meant by that. Geez, I’m not even in the running for that award.

Stinger 3
The last one I’m going to share and by far the most hurtful to me. Elijah had surgery to place his feeding tube. After the surgery the careful anesthesiologist refused to take him off of the breathing machine and Eli was admitted to the Pediatric ICU unit in critical condition. David and I were walking in a semi-daze up to where we were told we could find our son. We were buzzed into the PICU area and we wondered up to Eli’s room. We found about six nurses around his bed. I found this REALLY odd, but this was my first time into the PICU. The nurses were discussing Eli and questioning his need to be in PICU. As we came within ear-shot the CHARGE nurse said as she held up Elijah’s blanket to show off his body, “Look at all of this.” She didn’t say it with a hint of compassion or care, but rather not wanting anyone in the room to miss the chance to gawk at MY KID. An embarrassed member of the nursing staff whispered, “Here are the parents.” The charge nurse then turned to me and introduced herself started the orientation process with David and me. She didn’t acknowledge what she said. I assume, to this day, she either thinks we didn’t hear her expose our kid and flat out make fun of him or she doesn't care and treats all of her families with complete disrespect.

I guess I’m feeling pretty feisty tonight. But the most important thing for you to know is that my skin is much, much thicker than it was in the early days. I do not let such things get to me. In fact, I don’t think I would walk away without addressing the sheer absurdity of each without retort. I can assure you there have been others since this time, but I just cannot recall them. I actually have made a conscious decision not to be bothered by either insensitivity or sheer carelessness.

Nothing more to “get off my chest” I suppose.

Thanks for indulging me tonight.
Melissa

4 comments:

Lisa b said...

the medical professionals and so-called friends are who bother me the most with their thoughlessness.
I'm right here with you and I've found giving it right back or asking what they meant but their stupid comment makes me feel much better than ruminating on it.

Diane Davies said...

Oh wow, it still surprises me what people will say. Then I think back and wonder before I was in this situation if I didn't do or say something as incentative or naive also. The world we've entered in (and you are much more immersed in it than I am) is just not even known to some. I certainly didn't know anything about before hand. So glad you have become a tougher and stronger person through all of it.

Amberghini said...

On behalf of all the other nurses that love and cared for Eli, I AM SO SORRY to hear all of these stories. It makes me so sad! Love on that boy for me! And Sophia too! Now that VBS is over, I'm missing my daily loving from her! Oh, give David a hug for me while you are at it! Miss you guys! xo! Amber

Angela Stevens said...

Melissa,

I totally understand the comments post. The most annoying comment made to me in the last 5 years is "I don't care if my baby is a boy or girl, as long as it is healthy" I never know quite what to say to that comment because it hits me a little differently than most. I often want to ask what exactly they will do if their baby isn't healthy. Isn't any child, healthy or not, given by God and a blessing to be cherished! In fact this comment was made to me tonight by a neighbor. I just smiled, agreed and thought about my child who looks healthy on the outside, but isn't :-)

Angela Stevens