1. If you ever need your faith in humanity restored, visit a pediatric ward.
2. I could never be a nurse. The sheer stamina and bedside manner required are not things I readily possess. Also, everything in a hospital is on wheels and the wheels never work right, especially in tight spaces. They are constantly jamming and veering diagonally into the bed or the chair or your toes like a sterile broken shopping cart. Blood and bedside manner aside, that right there is a deal-breaker. Thank goodness there are better people in the world than me.
3. It is much better to catch appendicitis before it ruptures. A ruptured appendix spills intestinal bacteria and gangrene all over the abdominal cavity, which can cause serious complications. Unfortunately, in kids, it's very hard to tell what's appendicitis versus what's simply that stomach virus that's going around. Many people have asked me how I knew to go to the hospital. The honest answer is I didn't. He didn't have pain on his right side. He didn't even have a fever until after his appendix burst, somewhere between our drive to the doctor's office and the ambulance ride to the hospital. He had a stomachache and he was vomiting for 12 hours, but that's just par for the course at this time of year. The only clue was that he had trouble peeing. I thought it was because he was dehydrated on account of all the vomiting, but that didn't explain why he felt the urge to pee but then couldn't. When you're dehydrated, you simply don't pee and never think about it. There's no getting up and trying to go. I wondered if he had a urinary tract infection. That was why I brought him to the doctor, because I know how uncomfortable those can be. Turns out, I didn't know the half of it. Parents, make a mental note about the peeing thing.
4. This is one of those posts that the 11YO will hold against me in his teenage years, and who can blame him? However, this is a public service announcement and therefore trumps anyone's urinary tract privacy.
5. The 11YO is a rock star. He is so much stronger than I previously gave him credit for. I've never had my appendix out, but I did have two C-sections as well as various other surgical procedures, so I have an idea of what he went through. Those were difficult times as an adult. Meanwhile, he's just powering through his recovery like it's a challenging but necessary soccer drill. Verdict: Kids are amazingly resilient. I've heard that before, but I had to see it for myself.
6. Our friends, family, and neighbors are wonderful (I already knew this, but it bears repeating). From the care packages filled with books and toys, to the meals left at our door, to the cards made by his classmates, to the neighbor who showed up yesterday just to give me an hour and a half to do some errands, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it. You know I'm not good about thank-you notes, so just in case I'll never change, thank you!!
7. Robert Louis Stevenson is awesome. I never read Treasure Island growing up, but my dad gave me a copy from his extensive library and I read the whole thing to the 11YO in the hospital. We read it during the day, we read it in the middle of the night. Whenever things were bad, he asked me to read a chapter. And, I tell you, we were both riveted. The pirate-speak was a little challenging, I admit. I don't have Husband's perfect pirate voice and I couldn't even understand what they were saying half the time, but we got the gist. We both loved that book!
8. Fo'c's'le means forecastle which means the below-deck sleeping quarters of the sailors in the front of the ship. The correct pronunciation in its truncated form is folk-sel according to my internet pirate sources, and you may lay to that.
9. When I get stressed out, I eat cake. This is not news. Luckily, there is plenty of cake to be found in a hospital cafeteria.
10. The ingredients in chocolate cake are: cake and icing.