In case you don’t know -
because I didn’t, acute renal failure is no walk in the park.
Just when you think that things are going to get better
they get worse.
The doctors say things like ‘she will turn the corner tomorrow’ and you wait and hope as you watch your child writhe in pain
and vomit until there is nothing left
but nothing changes.
Her lethargy leaves you with barely enough to do (rinse out sick bowls, apply cold face washers) except watch the clock as she tries her best to compensate
for whatever damage is going on inside that little body.
You start to wonder if she will ever be okay again.
Some blood results come back looking better but then in the next breath you are told that others look worse
and that worse thing is poisoning her from the inside out.
It’s causing her to cry out and tell you that she ‘really can’t do this any more’.
It breaks your heart and makes it hard to stay strong.
In case you don’t know -
because I didn’t, kidney damage makes blood pressure go through the roof
and high levels of urea cause the heart to go too slow.
Once the infection has cleared it seems strange to see those numbers
but there they are, flicking up on the little monitor, bright as the day.
I don’t like numbers.
I don’t like monitors either.
Nor do I like that my (almost) eighteen year old daughters are playing mother while we are stuck in the hospital unmoving in more ways than one.
Their father is at work, bringing in an income.
He drives away at five in the morning and then it’s up to them to run the household.
I don’t like his work or their expectations, although I understand them.
I still don’t have to like anything about them -
especially the fact that he can’t be with the kids when I can’t be either.
So much for the promise I made to myself that I would never have latch-key children.
I have to rely on my kids to look after my other kids.
It’s hard to expect that of them.
It’s hard for me to see that happen.
Suddenly they have had to grow up all at once and that seems wrong to me.
They are doing admirably but I wonder how all of this will mess them around when their real adulthood arrives.
They are angry and frustrated and hurting too.
They are children, after all.
It’s close to midnight now on day six of this hospitalisation and I look at Ivy and wish for a different life for her.
I do that often theses days.
Tonight she has just had her fifth cannula placed in as many days, with countless attempts before success.
I am angry and beaten and sad and defeated all at once.
Her arms are black and blue and she is as pale as the white hospital sheets.
I’ve just checked that she is breathing for the umpteenth time.
This admission seems as though we are adrift on an angry ocean with no land in sight,
in a boat that is rapidly sinking -
which is no good, when you think you may have forgotten how to swim.