We’re coming around on the one year anniversary of Curly almost dying. And by “almost dying,” I don’t mean she scared me.
I mean Curly was a hospital in-patient and a code was called on her because her lungs were collapsing and her heart was struggling to beat (not-so-fun fact: staying in the ICU with her for extended periods also allowed me to see that the ICU staff actually RUN when a code is called).
I remember watching a nurse grab the intubation kit that’s in each room as I sat holding Curly’s hand. She was struggling for every painful breath. My eyes must have been as big as my face – there were about fifteen people jamming the room, and another dozen, at least, waiting outside – and the nurse said, as reassuringly as she could, “it’s just in case.”
When your kid is being toted to the ICU before an emergency surgery, you’ve kind of passed the point of “just in case.” And it was clear that asking anyone “how much worse can it get” could yield some awful, awful answers. All I could really do was nod, wait until the emergency surgery team told us what their plan was, and hold on tight.
So. Good news? Curly is alive, wiggly, and happy. She just donated 14” of her hair so that kids with cancer can have wigs. Not surprisingly, after a debilitating and painful illness, she’s deeply sympathetic to wanting a semblance of normalcy in the midst of something decidedly outside of the experience we think of as a normal childhood. She’s hassling me about taking her skiing, again and again, and again (although she laid off slightly on the when can we go skiing again how about tomorrow after wiping out HARD just after I told her she was going too fast for her skill and the conditions on the mountain. Maybe I should have refrained from saying, dude, I told you to fucking slow down?). She is not the hunched, flinching child we brought home from the hospital, webbed with pain. She is not wavering painfully between life and death - she is alive, and well.