Wait… I still have to iron the shower curtain!
I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. Thursday night knowing we were leaving at 5:00 a.m. It wasn’t because I was anxious or anything, of course… it was because I was cleaning everything I could get my hands on. That’s my thing. I have found a direct correlation between an entirely crumb free toaster, a perfectly smooth shower curtain, and wide spread success of surgical procedures. Trust me, I’m a doctor.
So, we are on the other side of the surgery and Max is doing well. It was a long and very strange day. Max is doing really well for someone who just had his spine opened, taken apart piece by piece, and put back together. He is sleeping right now and getting some extra medication as he is experiencing some painful numbness and tingling in his legs and feet. He has to lay totally flat which is never comfortable, but he is allowed to eat real food later so that’s a big thrill. Last night he ate jello – something he normally hates – so I guess the surgery has been an overwhelming success so far.
I have to say, we were all remarkably calm. I am not sure if having gone through surgery before gives you a certain kind of bizarre human strength or the ability to believe that everything will always be fine is just an acquired skill that we are fortunate enough to possess. There was one do or die moment when we first arrived. Max got out of the car and walked into the hospital and up to the admissions department as if walking were the normal, everyday thing it actually is. It seemed cruel to take a perfectly healthy boy who can walk on his own and perform surgery on him so he can walk. It seemed wrong to willingly volunteer for this nonsense when you aren’t even sick. I did try to remind myself that some people choose to reconstruct their boobs just for fun.
Since everyone but me is now sleeping – Max in a drug induced stupor and a Hun in a parenting induced stupor- I will share some the highlights:
Columbia hospital is home to many many Jewish ultra- orthodox families. They are everywhere and fortunately, the hospital accommodates their needs very well. We were connected with Chai Lifeline, a social service agency that not only runs Max’s overnight camp, but also somehow seems to care about every single Jewish family with a disabled child on earth. When I say care, I don’t mean just regular care. I’m talking ultra olympic- size caring. They started calling a few weeks ago telling me that they would be happy to support us in any way we needed. Yesterday, they called us several times and told us that Moshe and Dovid (complete strangers) would be happy to visit us any time during the day, and then they delivered a giant box of food – matzo ball soup, chicken, challah, kugel, and babka. This is not normal. How do some become so kind that they are willing to visit strangers in the hospital just to eat gefilte fish with them? I find myself pretending we are more religious than we are just so they will still like us. I just hope they don’t find out about the bacon…
Speaking of religion – Seth took the elevator downstairs around 9 p.m. He encountered an older woman who was frantically negotiating with the security guard because she wanted to visit her grandchild, but because it was now Sabbath, she couldn’t carry her pocketbook and wanted him to carry it for her, but he basically said- not going to happen. She seemed so distressed that Seth approached her and said he understood her problem. He tried to calm her down by telling her that he too was Jewish and wanted to help her. She then said, “OH, no, no, I can’t ask you to carry my pocketbook if you are Jewish…” Realizing his plan backfired, he started thinking up all the excuses his Hebrew School educated mind could think of for why she should just carry her bag or let him carry for it. She wasn’t deterred. He decided to try to explain all the reasons why she should just let him help her because, “he wasn’t really that Jewish anyway!!!” I was imagining him listing all the bad Jew things we do all the time and her not being swayed by the nice Jewish looking man in the black glasses. I wonder how many cheese steaks he tried to fess up to? Finally, they cooked up a plan for Seth to go find her daughter and tell her that her mother was in the lobby and maybe the daughter (who wouldn’t carry the bag either) could find someone to do it for her. So, there went Seth wandering the halls of the 6th floor looking for some woman named Sipora. By the time he found Sipora, the grandmother and the annoyed security guard were making their way slowly down the hall. Bubbe must have beaten him down with her super guilt powers until he finally agreed to help. Go Bubbe!!