I'm sitting on a chair in my family room listening to Blood on the Tracks and it's peaceful. Six hours ago, my wife was sitting in this same chair while a brave nurse tried to find one more vein to get an IV in. In the last six weeks, all of our routines, every simple act we count on have been upended.
When I see a patient, I barely get the Cliff Notes; behind every worried look is a drama, one affecting many more people than the one sitting in the room with me. My usual task is to understand it, not to live it.
Our little drama has had some repercussions of its own. I normally work three nights a week and every weekend, and with MrsPal at home ill, this hasn't always been possible. I miss my residents. I miss the work. But suddenly I'm spending far more time with my kid and my wife than I'd ever expected. Much of that time is basic care-taking: showering, changing dressings, hanging IVs. But when routines are thrown off so quickly, all sorts of strange things happen.
This morning I woke up at seven. I cursed, rolled out of bed and got into the shower. In the shower I realized two things: first, it was Saturday, and I could turn off the shower and go back to bed. Second, my bed (not my marital bed---that's a bit full of spouse and supporting equipment at the moment) was empty. Since this journey began, my daughter hasn't been able to sleep alone. Every night she climbs into bed with me, follows me around in fact until I'm ready to go to sleep. Once MrsPal got back from the hospital the pattern continued. She could not, would not go to bed alone, would not be alone at all in fact during the evening.
Last night, after a long evening at a school event, she folded over and snored her way home, and fell asleep in her own bed. Tonight, she asked for a sleepover at a friend's house. I was so worried about my kiddo, so concerned that the fear about her mom would overwhelm her, but she's a lot more smart and resilient than I'd realized. It probably helps that mom looks a lot more like mom and is back to bugging her about her homework.
She's even resilient enough to turn on some more complex scams. Yes, she's gotten pretty much everything she's wanted the last month or two, but we've been starting to reel her back in. Tonight she batted her big brown eyes at her friend's mom and asked if she would go with her to get her ears pierced, an activity that we have not endorsed. The layers of her aborted scam weren't quite The Usual Suspects, but not bad for a six year old.
So it's quiet around here tonight. MrsPal is comfortable enough to have fallen asleep (and her IV is done for the night), and PalKid isn't here at all. I'm grateful for the solitude.
But it's really, really quiet.