again for our once every two year visit to the IWK, this evening I find myself sitting at Ronald MacDonald House reminiscing. It's funny, really, I've been to this place so many times, too numerous to count over the past 15 years. But tonight, somehow, feels different.On the road
I've been here, very rarely, all alone while the Blue Jay was in hospital. Very rarely because on the vast majority of times she has been hospitalized I have stayed with her in her room. I've been here on occasion with just the Kit Kat and I've been here many many times, as I am tonight, with the Blue Jay.
But tonight my mind wanders back to those times long along ago. I recall staying here once when the Kit Kat when she was very little (maybe a year old or less) while the Blue Jay was in the hospital. There was my Mom, myself and little Kit Kat all in the Blue Jay's hospital room. It was definitely going to get interesting. That was, I think, the first time I ever stayed here, that anyone ever suggested I could. So the Kit Kat and I stayed here while Mom stayed with the Blue Jay in the hospital. Because it was going to be a little hard for all four of us to sleep in that hospital room, particularly when one of us was a breastfed infant.
I recall the Kit Kat crawling around the very room where I sit now typing this. Crawling from the living room to the dining room to the delight of the various parents sitting at the tables. I recall getting up every morning and heading to the IWK with the Kit Kat to spend the day with the Blue Jay and Mom. And I recall coming back here every evening.
Then my mind turns to the numerous times I've stayed here with the Blue Jay over the years when she days full of various appointments at the hospital. She was so little. So cute. So excitable (think really cute flapping hands - yes, that is one of the signs of autism). And she absolutely loved staying here - it is a really nice place. Nice for the parents. Nice for the kids. Well, nice, if you don't stop to consider the reason why you're here. Oh some of the stories I've heard ... They break your heart.
Another funny, though - the Blue Jay and I have stayed here so often that as the Kit Kat got older, she actually got jealous. She had never stayed here after she had been an infant but had been in on occasion to pick me up so she had seen the place, checked it out. Saw all the toys. The kids. The big screen TVs. She wanted to stay too. It just wasn't fair.
And it eventually ended up that she did. She was booked for day surgery at the IWK and not knowing what time we would get out or how she would react to her first time under general anaesthetic, I told her we would spend the night here. She was so happy, so excited. Poor kid - as it turned out, she reacted whether badly to the anaesthetic and spent a very very sick evening here. In fact, she was still sick in the middle of the night. And the next morning. Yeah, that was fun.
She demanded a do-over. And she got that too eventually, when I finally managed to get her in for psych testing. Both neuropsych testing (which the Blue Jay has tomorrow) and the learning disability testing are pretty well all day affairs. And because we have to be at the hospital so early in the morning, we come in the night before (witness tonight). So she's stayed here twice over the years for that and she will actually be back again very soon. In November, I think.
And yet it's not those times that my mind turns to tonight. It's the times when both the Blue Jay and Kit Kat were so very little. Or, in the case of Kit Kat, not even here at all. It's a strange sense of melancholy, it is.
As an aside, I will tell you this - one very nice, but rather strange thing about being here, is the laziness allowed. The not having a hundred things you know you should be doing. Because, you know, you can't. Not here. So it's a lot of reading, watch some TV, check out the computer, chat with some parents, smile at some really cute little kids. It's nice - a forced mini-vacation. Sounds strange, I'm sure, but it is what it is.
But tomorrow is another day. A long day. And so, for now, I will bid you a fond adieu. Enjoy your evening. I know I will.