In hospital again. We’re scared, tired, worried that the inhalers don’t seem to be working as well this time. Well, not we, exactly. The wee bean himself is the life of the party, chatting it up with all the wonderful, concerned people walking around, giggling at games of peek-a-boo, waving hello to everyone new who passes by…but coughing all the while.
He’s amazingly well behaved, offering his finger to the nurse for the lead to the oxygen machine to be attached with a little plaster, tilting his head obediently to the side for the cone of the thermometer and waiting totally still until it beeps. Then he spends the next 10 minutes sticking things in my ears, shouting “beep!” at the top of his voice. Clearly the spirit is still strong in this one.
Then the nurse (Nurse Neb I now call her in my head) hands me the hissing nebuliser. We just had the inhaler when he came in, so this is the first nebuliser during this hospital visit.
He recoils and shrinks back into the bed. I don’t blame him. No amount of it’ll-make-you-better-and-we-can-go-home or pretending it makes him like a big dragon is going to work. He’s not stupid. He knows the score. And it’s “not nice, mummy.”
So I perch precariously on the edge of the bed, one arm wrapped around him, one arm holding the mask to his face, my eyes level with his. I’m so busy telling him about my day (hearing the same little tale every night – about how we got up and went to nursery and then I got on the tube and read the paper and went up the steps and walked along the road to my office and opened the door ‘beep’ with my key and said “hello everyone” then put my coat up and made a cup of tea and turned on my computer and then did my work and then came home to see him – calms him down at bedtime and mostly any other time he’s upset), our eyes locked , that I don’t notice the dad from the other bed standing beside us.
He presses a sticker into the wee bean’s hand and points to his own son, lying across the room. We all look over. He waves a little bandaged arm. I look at the sticker. It’s got a lion on it and says “I was brave”. The dad says, “That’s for being so brave.” And he walks back over to his boy, who smiles. The wee bean waves back and clutches the sticker in his hot little hand. I continue my story, suddenly blinking very fast.
We all need to be more like the lion kid. Thinking and caring for others, even though we have our own worries. Sharing the brave.