now playing: the answering machine backlog

among the things in life that are best left to others to endure, methinks, would be the experience of being bedside when a small child comes out from under anesthesia.

i’ve never been under, i have no idea what it’s like for an adult – but tonight i got to see the effects it has on a child, and it’s not pretty. according to the nurse in the post-op ward, it happens to almost every child that comes out from under general anesthesia.

i don’t know how one maintains a grip on their sanity, working in an environment like that.

anyway, i bring this up because my ex-girlfriends’ daughter was in surgery tonight, having one of two kidney stones removed. there’s no way i wasn’t going to be there for that, so i went straight to the hospital after work and was there when she came to.

her behavior as she shook off the anesthesia could only be described as akin to that of a heroin addict after several days removed from the dope…she was trembling uncontrollably, her lower lip quivering as if she wanted to cry but couldn’t. she kept sticking her tongue out, saying “i can’t breathe” when it seemed as though she meant that she couldn’t swallow…i could hear the rapid rise and subsequent drop of her heart rate on the monitor next to the bed.

after roughly twenty minutes of that, she began to slowly calm down and succumb to the morphine that they put her on almost immediately after coming out. she finally let me give her some ice chips to moisten the sandpaper that someone had obviously swapped for her tongue while she was under…about 45 minutes after having awakened, we were wheeling her back to her room, where an eleven-months-pregnant orderly was waiting for her to help her back into her bed…

“obviously, you’re the medical professional here, and i’m just going on instinct, but i think there’s an offhand chance that you may be expecting in the not too distant future…”

break the ice. get ’em on your side.

actually, all the staff that i met there tonight were excellent – good bedside manner, very professional…shanna’s roommate is a girl whos’ had constant urinary bacterial infections since birth. i was talking to her dad, who said that it was something akin to having the ubiquitous kink in the garden hose occur in your urinary tract. samantha said that the conversation scared her a bit, and made her realize that her daughter was much further up the curve than some of the other kids there.

i remember, back when i began working on my first album of original music (several years prior to OMA), i used to come home from gigs and there’d be these half-hour, hour long infomercials on VH-1 for St. Judes’ Childrens’ Hospital. the first ones i saw were narrarated by danny thomas – and later by his daughter marlo after he passed away. i’d sit there in my living room at 3:30 in the morning watching these incredibly brave children, listening to their parents talk about what their kids were going through, and what their odds of survival were, and how brave they were…as often as not, i’d have my own daughter asleep on my lap, having awakened not long after i’d come home from a gig – and i’d sit there and watch these kids fighting for their lives with tears streaming down my face…

kids are the most resilient force on the planet, i think.

they have to be, to find their way in this world.


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