Friday, February 6, 2009

Mommy, You're Talking Too Much

Well, it's true. I've always been accused of having a big mouth. And while I know how to keep that big mouth shut in certain social settings, once I'm comfortable, I love to chat. And gossip. And tease. Well, we've been in this hospital, on this floor, for oh, I don't know 153 days (give or take). So, I'm pretty comfortable with some of our nurses. And when they come into our room, I enjoy the conversation.

Lindsay does not. She feels that adult conversation is over-rated. Downright annoying, in fact. Now, her annoyance isn't limited to my goofy, at times wholly inappropriate conversations with her nurses. Very early in our diagnosis, the hem-onc floor counselor came into our room. A quiet, shy man, he pulled up a chair and started to (more or less) read to me from his manual. Well, no one was up for that. Lindsay screamed, cried, protested in several languages. And he eventually dismissed himself -- never to return. The same sequence of events happened with the hospital social worker and the hem-onc psychologist.

So, it seems Lindsay is most annoyed by people in the counseling industry. Although, Lindsay surprised me when my dear friend, a child psychiatrist, came to visit. Lindsay had never met her, but actually invited her to color with us and to play games. Maybe the lack of a name badge helped.

Then there are the volunteers. Some are old, some are new, all wear coats, made of blue. Yes, the volunteers. It would be really unacceptable to disparage someone who spends their free time in the children's hospital on the cancer floor. They mean well and, for the most part, they are great. But imagine for a minute that you moved in to a new house. You settled into your bed, it had been a long day of moving boxes after all. And just as you were about to drift off, your neighbor walked into your bedroom, "Here are some cookies I made you!" You might think "yum, I love cookies", but most likely you'd be like, "um, hello! this is my bedroom". The next morning as you wake, there stands the same neighbor, hovering over you as you sleep, this time with a stack of pancakes. How long would this have to continue before you adjusted? For me, admittedly antisocial, I would not adjust. This hospital room is Lindsay's bedroom for 6th months. My bedroom too, I guess -- good thing we're comfortable co-sleeping! So when Lindsay started yelling at the volunteers, "WE DON'T NEED ANYTHING!" I didn't jump to reprimand.

And then there are the chaplains. Where the counselors and volunteers are a tad shy, willing to leave the room when a three year old starts yelling, the chaplains seem to feel they are exempt. The sign on the door says "Do not disturb" ... in they barge. Perhaps it is the direct line of communication with the Big Guy. Maybe they feel that their services are more important than, say, the volunteers. Lindsay doesn't seem to mind them. But Matt does. And he let's them know it. So, you know, maybe we can see where she gets it.

Finally, come the doctors. Smart. Dedicated. Focused. And ALWAYS, ALWAYS patient. In they come, white coats and stethoscopes. And Lindsay, bless her heart, does her best. If we're painting, they compliment the pretty yellow ... "IT A SECRET!" she screams. If she's wearing her tutu, "are we going to have a recital?" ... "I SHY!" and if it's the solar system book, well,she might, just might, teach them a thing or two about meteors and the fact that they are not "shooting stars" after all. If they ask for more information, though, beware ... "I DON'T WANT TO TELL YOU!!!!"

Clearly this is all self preservation. Maintaining her bond with mommy, preventing mommy from talking and shifting attention away from her. Keeping secrets - maintaining some sense of control in this nightmare. And, of course, conventional parents (be they doctors, nurses, or psychologists... wait, she doesn't have kids) probably can't fully understand why we don't reprimand this "rude" behavior. Although I will say, they often remind me that "She's just trying to exert some control". Bless their hearts.

How many more days? Who knows. Home can't come soon enough!

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