Part One: Calico Boy
At the last minute, I thought to dash back into the house to grab a pillow and blanket and this turned out to be providential.
Charlie rode to the pediatricians propped on John's shoulder, blanket in his lap. In the waiting room, he lay over two chairs, pillow under head, warm and cozy. The blanket covered all of him on the examining table except for one arm. This he had to expose to the vampires. "Don't hurt me. Don't pinch me! Don't!" Two pinches later, they had a small teaspoon of my son.
He rested, head on pillow, and looked over my shoulder at the pages of Frog and Toad while we waited for the results. White count quite elevated. Strep...negative. Mono...negative. Leukemia...possible but unlikely. He needs anibiotics via i.v. Take these admission papers; the hospital is waiting for him.
Blanket protected Charlie from drenching sky as I carried him to the car. One of the girls carried his pillow. Quick phone call to Stuart. "Meet us." Quick zip though the drive through to feed four hungry kids and one hungry mama a four-o'clock lunch.
Blanket wrapped and I carried him into admissions. "I wish I could ride in a wheelchair. Your brother is heavy!"
Charlie stretched across waiting room chairs. "Can you hop up in this wheelchair?"
So I rode, Charlie in my lap, pillow tucked behind, blanket draped over. Into hospital gown, weigh and measure, i.v. port in on the second try. "Don't pinch! I want to lay down! I want to lay doowwn! Pillow on the bed, pale boy under green blanket.
Another wheelchair ride down the elevator for x-rays. Pillow over the arm of the chair; head down. Blanket on the x-ray table. "It's just a picture. Pictures don't pinch. Promise."
And finally, Charlie sleeps a fitful sleep, cozy in his blanket. I hold his hand in the midnight dark. A soft light shines out from under the bed. The i.v. clicks and drips. Child coughs a deep-lung, body-wracking cough in the next room. Somewhere in the maze of thin walls a baby wails and will not be comforted. Charlie stirs. "Do you hear that sad baby? Let's pray for him."
"No, Mama! Pray for me!"
I pray for both and Charlie moans and drifts back to sleep and in the late watches of the night, I lie awake and marvel again and again that the last minute dash for pillow and blanket brought great comfort to this unexpected day.
Day Two: Waiting