Little Miss has only been in a hospital once since she was born, and that was to see another new baby. Last weekend she experienced the not-so-cheerful part of the hospital: The ICU.
Two weeks ago my father-in-law was in a farming accident and was stuck in a field for seven hours with his arm stuck in a piece of machinery until someone found him that night. The damage was significant enough that they sent him via Life Flight to a large city hospital over 400 miles away for specialized surgery. He spent the weekend in ICU, and Husband, Little Miss, and I traveled to be with the rest of the family and be near “Papa.”
I was hesitant at first about taking Little Miss into the hospital room to see Papa, because I didn’t want to scare her. So I made sure he didn’t have tubing everywhere and looked virtually like himself before taking her in there. Since he only had an oxygen tube in his nose I decided to let her see the Papa she loves so much, so she, Husband, and I went in together.
Trying to keep it positive, we smiled and cheerfully greeted my father-in-law, who was so knocked out by IV pain meds he could barely open his eyes beyond slits. Little Miss, of course, was confused by the fact that Papa was in bed and sleepy instead of awake and tickling her or chasing her around the living room. She put her hands to her mouth and buried her face in my neck. I didn’t push anything; I didn’t want her to feel forced to accept this confusing situation.
Husband and I stood near the bed, occasionally saying something to Father-in-Law but mostly just standing and watching Little Miss play with a “Get Well Soon” balloon near the foot of the bed. FIL was quite out of it and though he recognized us and knew we were there, he faded in and out (but mostly in) of sleep continuously.
After a few minutes I decided to take Little Miss back out to the waiting area. As we left I asked Little Miss if she wanted to say goodbye to Papa. She shook her head, and I said, “Well we’re going to go now because Papa is tired and needs to nap.”
Little Miss looked over to where Papa was already sleeping and waved. “Night-night, Papa!” she said softly.
I wish he’d been awake enough to hear it.