A few days after my last post, I took Curly to the ER again. We had been thinking she was finally, finally starting to improve, and then… things went awry. Terribly so.
She’s alive. She has a chance at a full recovery. But she spent just over a month in the hospital – a month that included surgeries, a code being called on her, ICU stays, intubation, an endless stream of doctors who were visibly baffled as to how to solve her problems and constant voracious, grinding pain – and she is not the easily happy child I took to the hospital on a February morning.
Her pain remains.
Waking her up is awful. Before she becomes fully conscious, her brow furrows with pain, her face and body tense up, and she often begins to keen or moan. She’s in the fourth grade. She used to wake up bouncing from her bed to spring into mine and chatter about what she looked forward to that day. She streamed with eager happiness. Now, she wakes up being eaten by pain.
I remind myself that she is home. I remind myself that she has a chance at a full recovery. What we have now is painful and agonizingly difficult, but she is slowly, slowly improving. While she was in the hospital, especially during her ICU stays, it was impossible not to see that not all parents whose children spend a long time in the hospital will get to see their children get better.
There are days now that I hear her laugh again. There are times I see flashes of her old self emerge, her bright blue eyes flashing in amusement, delight, concentration. She has her scars, inside and out. She may always have a trace of them. But we still have her.