Updated: Jul 5, 2021
In That Room, Bottom to the left… I can not begin to imagine how many times we have been on that children’s ward in that room, all the way to the bottom and on the left. It is known as Delilah’s room to Delilah, family and some of the nurses. It is hard to describe to anyone who doesn’t really ‘get it’ what it is like to be in that room. That room with the farm animals and vinyl stickers that try and brighten the room, but instead make every parent just want to pull that creased edge after staring at it for days on end. From the buzzing of someone at the ward entrance, to the machines beeping, to hearing room such and such’s child is upset and distressed or in room etc their child is happy to go home and wants to play loudly. The discussions you overhear via the nurses about how they are heading home after their shift, that they have plans and a life outside.
The staring and the car park for hours on end, watching people visiting loved ones, seeing people arguing over spaces and ambulances attend to calls. The taste of your first and 16th cup of hospital tea, awaiting visitors just so you can grab a ‘proper’ one from the cafe and stretch your legs, you take the stairs in order to be a little longer and have a little longer to think. The constant time checks even though you know you’re not getting home anytime soon, the constant WhatsApp, messenger and text checks you do to keep people informed, even though you'd rather they left you alone. The posting it on Facebook - not for attention, but for support because your own support network is missing (I see you and understand). The paying for tv you will never watch but need back ground noise, the magazines you buy but never read and crosswords you will never do. The moment the 6th doctor enters the room and asks you to repeat everything you have said to the five before him. The not-so-easy way of describing what is going on when in reality you have no.fucking.clue. BUT you’re mam, you know your child inside and out so you must know. The not so easy conversation when your child is undiagnosed and it just sounds like you’re reading some sort of list of symptoms from a pamphlet. The little jokes the doctors make to make you feel comfortable, when in reality you’re either wishing they’d shut up or grateful to have someone to speak to. The endless nurse visits checking temps, and stats to keep an eye on your child all through day and night… you’ve not slept for a week. They call throughout the night and you're scared to sleep, do I sleep but what if something happens? What if she gets uncomfortable and wakes up scared? OR what if you fall asleep and the nurse hears you snore or sees you salivate all over the pillow... a trivial concern but a thought and worry none the less. The want to go home to see your other children, to rest and take a bath and have a good meal…But the guilt that follows and makes you persevere just a few more hours, days or weeks. That slight bit of fresh air you get from the windows that have the safety catches when the rooms are way too hot. The not wanting to be a bother or an inconvenience and finally asking the nurses to point out where the parents kitchen is and sneaking back a Luke warm cuppa to your room when it strictly specifies NO HOT DRINKS - luckily they are never hot. The waiting for your child to have procedure, the long wait for them to come back… the hiccups in-between and after that can fill the room in an instant with staff - where you jump into mam mode and know EXACTLY WHAT TO DO, although you’ve never been trained. The shock white faces of visitors who never expected to see your child in that state, they didn't expect to see blood or you jump into action like part of the team. 'This is my reality' you think to yourself as they shuffle out the room scared. It’s the friends and family that you grow distant from, because they don’t understand. They don’t see it, they hear it but they don’t ‘get it’ and why would they? No-one will ever know until its them. They may see it once in a while, see you there in the chair, in that room watching your child’s chest rise and fall with every breath. They will see it, like, actually see it in your eyes, they will feel the atmosphere in the room drop when you stop talking as you're too tired to keep up the conversation and they, well they don't know what to say. The loneliness, the sadness, the bewilderment, exhaustion and the fight you have in you. Then they will walk away, and everything will go back to as it was, but you won’t forget that day, week or weeks sat in that room, it will become number whatever out of however many times that you have been in that room, to the bottom on the left.
I don't hate hospital stays at all. Weirdly, when that moments strikes I have a feeling of relief quite often... because right then, in that moment? I have NOWHERE else I need to be. I don't HAVE to answer calls and emails. I don't have to fight a cause, write a list or consider my next step, I am following hers. All I need to do and the only place I need to be is here, is this chair.
And it never changes, each time is the same as the last and each time that follows it starts to feel like a second home, a peaceful calm can come over you, like a realisation that this is life. Some people have hotel stays and holidays, you, you have this. Luke warm cuppas, magazines unread and all the people watching you. In this room bottom, to the left. Delilahs room. Tracey X