I’ve mentioned before that I have 2 young children. I have a son who is 2 and a daughter who is about to turn 3, they were born10 ½ months apart. For the most part they have been healthy but I have had scares with both of them. My daughter with her heart, and my son with sever anaemia requiring hospitalization.
When my daughter was 3 weeks old, I took her for her regular check up. I had to take the bus, as I don’t drive and my boyfriends and his parents had to work. On the bus rides there she was a little fussy, but she was a new born and I thought nothing of it really. We went through the regular check up and the doctor was saying she was doing great, until she listened to her heart. Her heart was beating at 230 beats a minute, a regular newborn’s heart beats between 140-160 beats per minute. The doctor then informed me that I had to take her to the hospital. Being new to the city and having taken the bus I had no idea what to do. She then listened to her heart again and told me she was calling an ambulance. First time parent, all alone, I have never been so scared in my life. The ambulance came, they ran my daughter through the busy waiting room of the paediatricians office, all eyes were on me and I forgot half my stuff there. When we got to the hospital, I was all alone as my boyfriend and his mom were still an hour away. I had to fill out paper work and could hear my baby screaming from across the emergency room. At that time her heart was over 300 beats per minute. Now parents, imagine having gone through that alone, to walk into the room your baby is in and see them placing a bag of ice over her face? Scary thought….and it gets worse. That didn’t do what it was supposed to, so next thing I heard? “ well then, we are going to have to stop her heart and restart it”.. Im sorry, WHAT?!?!. Finally the paramedic that had brought her in, one of the nicest guys I had ever met, came up to me to explain everything that was going on. I felt a little better, but still felt scared and alone. They ended up giving her some medication first which thankfully slowed her heart rate down. By the end of it all, my daughter was released that night, with medication to control something called Wolff Parkinson White syndrome. I won’t go into the details, but it is explained here . She has since been ‘cleared’ but it can still return at any time, which is still pretty scary.
A few months ago my son started chewing through the wood on his crib, the wood on cupboards, wooden spoons, any wood he could get his hands on. I took him to our new family doctor, her response, in a thick German accent was ‘ oh typical Canadian, a beaver”. I specifically asked her if it could be Pica disease, she said no. I wasn’t satisfied with this and took him to a walk in doctor, who basically said the same thing. I finally took him to a third doctor and begged until he reluctantly filled out the paper work to send him for blood work. However, that weekend we were out of town, and then he stopped eating wood. I completely forgot about the blood work. A few weeks ago he started chewing on plastic, but I attributed it to getting the last of his teeth in and didn’t give it much thought. Last week he got a cold, wasn’t eating very much and was kind of weak, but I just figured it was because of the cold. I was giving him quite a bit of milk, because he was asking for it and I figured it was better then nothing since he wasn’t eating. Wrong. On Sunday morning I took him for blood work and within 4 hours I had a call telling me to get him to Emergency, that his hemoglobin levels were at 48, when they should be around 125. We got him to emergency and after a few hours of waiting in the waiting room (I despise Alberta Health by the way), we were brought into the pediatric ER and given a very small cubical of a room. They ran more blood work, told me to stop giving him milk and hooked him up to all sorts of monitors. Turns out he did indeed have Pica Disease because of sever anaemia which was partly because of all the milk he was drinking blocking his iron intake. Let me tell you keeping a scared 2 year old within a confined space, unable to really move because of all the monitors he was connected to, is a hard task.
My boyfriend was able to come visit, but he had to be home for our daughter as well. While it was only from Sunday afternoon until Tuesday afternoon, it was the longest days of my life. My son was cranky the whole time obviously, and I was extremely lonely. For the times we were left alone I was either fighting with him or crying while watching him sleep, completely blaming myself for what had happened.. I had a few books with me but when he was asleep wanted to keep the lights off so he would be as rested as possible and Children’s Hospital is one of the only places without internet in patient rooms. Thankfully I do have twitter and face book on my blackberry which allowed me some interaction.
I have to give a huge shout out to “Hockey Wife”, I don’t know her name, and even if I did I wouldn’t tell you but we were able to have some conversation via twitter and it helped keep me sane. Check out her blog , an insightful look into the other half of hockey players. Another big shout out to Eric Johnson, the guy who pimps Homicide Luke’s Character on the tv show Rookie Blue (He's awesome…even if he is an Oiler's fan. Give him a follow on twitter ). Thanks for taking the time to ask how my son was, and have little chats, it meant the world to me at a time I felt completely and utterly alone. To everyone else who messaged me or tried to call as well, thank you (specifically Candy and Martin). To those who didn't, its amazing how fast I've figured out who my true friends are.
I’ve rambled on long enough that you’re probably wondering how this has anything to do with hockey eh? Well, I’ve always had huge respect for the players when I see them visiting children and families at places like BC’s Children’s Hospital and Canuck Place. That has grown even more now. I can not even begin to imagine what it feels like to be a parent and know that either your child is not going to get better, or not knowing exactly what is wrong. After being scared, and alone in hospital with my child I can see how something like a little visit from these players would brighten my day, as well as my child’s (if he was a little older I think). In my time in the hospital I heard of 2 children that did not make it through the night, I felt horrible even though I never even saw them. So, from even another point of view, I have no idea how the players go into these hospitals, see what they see, and manage to keep a smile on their faces. For the ones with children themselves I imagine it must be extremely hard. Words can not express how much appreciation and respect I have for these players and what they are able to do off ice.
On a much smaller less important note, not having the internet meant that I could not watch the Canucks game on the Monday. In the grand scheme of things, it really didn't matter. However, if there had been internet I would of been able to watch it while my son slept, and perhaps relax a little even though the game did not go that well.