Alhamdulillah, HF had surgery today to fix the wildly deviated septum and outrageously deviant sinuses in his nose, and everything went according to plan. And lots of this went according to a totally different plan.
HF had planned to check in to the hospital at 6 am. I had planned to accompany him, so at 5:30, we carried Khalid, sleeping, into Iman’s room where it was planned that he should sleep so that if he woke up, he wouldn’t be alone and afraid.
We had not planned for him to wake up when we moved him though, nor had we planned to give Iman a fever the same night, so that when Khalid woke up and panicked in the dark, Iman woke up and started bawling- burning hot and shaking. Cindy hadn’t planned on waking up at 5:30 to give Iman more fever-reducer and soothe her to bed while I tried to calm Khalid down and get him back to sleep, but then, things don’t always go according to plan.
HF hadn’t planned on going to the hospital without me, but with both kids crying by 5:45, he had to.
I had planned on putting Khalid back to sleep, but Khalid had plans involving lemonade and cereal, which he whispered to me in the dark as HF drove off. So there was a change of plans, and Khalid settled for apple juice and some cereal in a tupperware while I quickly dressed him so we could take the second car and join HF.
I had planned to get there and surprise HF in his room. Surprise, HF wasn’t in his room. So Khalid and I waited for HF to come back from Fajr prayer. HF hadn’t planned on being welcomed by a completely awake little boy who was supposedly back home sleeping, but Alhamdulillah, Khalid ran and greeted HF and both grandparents at the door with hugs and much rattling of cereal in its plastic box as he jumped excitedly up and down.
I took Khalid out of the room before HF was prepped or had a canula inserted, so that he wouldn’t freak out. It was bad enough when the male nurse took HF’s blood pressure, Khalid first yelled at him, then pinched him, then attempted to kick him, and when that failed, he tearfully pointed a finger at the nice man (Mark) and yelled “Time Out Mark! Time Out!”
I invited Khalid to come and walk with me, as compared to ‘Hey kid, let’s go home’ so that he would come peacefully and without screaming through the OPD. That went according to plan until we got as far as the car and Khalid realized we were driving home again. “No Mama! No home! No!” *kickkickkickkick* He cried all the way home.
When we reached home and I quietly unlocked the door, I hadn’t planned to see Iman sitting at the dining table, but there she was, still in her pajamas and looking flushed and wilted and definitely miserable. Neither she nor Cindy had been back to sleep. I asked Iman how she was feeling. She said “Not good.” I asked her if she still had a fever.
“Yes, a fezer,” she nodded sadly. “In my head. Iss ow.”
Khalid was passed to Joy for the beginning of his morning ABA program. Iman and I went to wash her face, change her clothes, give her some more medicine, and just generally to try to help her feel better. We selected the red overalls that Khalid out-grew at the age of 18 months which flap loosely around Iman at 2 and 3/4 years. We paired them with a white shirt dotted with tiny red flowers. And by request, Iman’s pink tiara. Then, socks and sneakers and by then the medicine was kicking in, so Iman and Cindy went for their morning walk to the park with Iman’s eyes red and puffy and her Hello Kitty tiara pink and sparkly in the early morning sun.
I had planned to take a power-nap, then wake up and cook some food to take to HF’s hospital room for him as well as his parents, since the City Hospital is nice, but hospital food is still hospital food. However, I had not planned on spending so much time with the kids before they left for the park, so by 9:00, I realized that I would have to change my plans. No nap. Just cooking. I made chicken pilau, some hot-as-heck chutney, a thermos of karak chai, and set it all up with a bottle of water, some disposable glasses, HF’s clothes, his pillow, a box of orange juice, and some packing and logistics help from Cindy, who by 10:30, was back from the park.
I had planned to be there when HF came out of recovery, but I hadn’t planned on fighting a last-minute battle with Iman, who flatly refused to let me take the pink paper balloon with her hand print and a red heart on it that she had made especially for Baba. She made it, so it was hers. Since it was hers, it wasn’t right for me to take it away from her. Naturally. And since it was a balloon (albeit one made out of a paper plate, some yarn, and two sheets of construction paper) she insisted that it go ‘up inna sky,’ and nearly cried from the frustration of having her ‘balloon’ dangle very non-buoyantly from the end of its yarn leash. Joy bribed her with the opportunity to make another pink balloon, and to even wield the much-coveted glue-stick. Iman conceded and I rushed out the door with her balloon as well as Khalid’s- his was personally lettered and signed and it reads love you baba, khalid, in a gorgeous child-like scrawl that only children are really good at.
HF made it to the room before I did, and was laying there with his nose swaddled in bloody gauze and medical tape, too out of it to stay awake for more than a few words at a time. I had planned to bring the kids later, but I messaged Joy and Cindy and let them know there was a change of plans, no kids. I had planned to stay awake until HF woke, but then I was so exhausted that I fell asleep sitting in his wheelchair and leaning against the foot of his bed where he slept and (often) choked, groaned, woke up slightly, and then fell back asleep again. Apparently It’s hard to breath with your nose taped closed and your mouth raw from intubation.
Alhamdulillah, HF finally regained consistent consciousness around one in the afternoon. So we all hung out- his parents, and eventually his sister and niece as well- and ate chicken pilau and cookies and poked gentle fun at his nose job, asked him whether he couldn’t have gotten his chin done, and whether or not next time around he could get a six-pack installed. He was able to eat by around three or four o’clock and Alhamdulillah, the next few hours were just spent sitting in his hospital room and munching and chatting.
I came home after praying Maghrib and found Khalid sobbing on the sofa because Cindy had just closed the front door, which he had just opened for the Nth time waiting for me. Joy had told Khalid that Momma was on the way, so Khalid had planned to stand there with the front door open until I arrived.
Iman was warm, but not burning hot. Both kids had already eaten dinner, and I had a quick bite while the kids watched Meet the Sight Words. By 7:30, Khalid and I were in bed, reading his favorite Eric Carle books and commenting on certain deficiencies in the plot. Khalid does not understand that ‘In the Hungry Little Caterpillar,’ the egg that we see on the first page hatches and -pop!- out comes a very tiny and very hungry caterpillar whose quest for food (as well as meaning in a meaningless world) we then follow for the rest of the book.
The caterpillar makes some poor food choices, which culminate in some binge-eating, which he then repents of and makes absolution for by eating (instead of a smorgasboard) ‘one nice green leaf, and then he felt much better.’ In Khalid’s mind though, that nice green leaf is where the egg was on page one, so when he sees the caterpillar sitting on the leaf, he always asks “Oh, whereza egg? Where izit” And then we go back to the first page and I try to explain that the caterpillar was actually inside of the egg, and when he came out -pop!- then the egg was gone. Khalid has either never fully understood this, or never believed it. So today, when he asked where the egg was, I told him I didn’t know. So he told me. “Iss cook egg. Oh, caterpillar cook iss egg.”
And I hadn’t planned on writing all of that in this same blog, but it was so adorable that I didn’t want to forget about it. It’s been a long, long day, and I had planned to be asleep by now, but I had an unplanned power-nap just before Maghrib on the couch in HF’s hospital room. That might be why my brain is awake even though I’ve been up (apart from two short snoozes) for nearly 18 hours. It’s been a good day though, a busy and unexpected but good day Alhamdulillah. And Allah is the best of planners.