At last, all the busyness of others in and out of my room was finished and a tray of food was brought for me to eat. In bed! What's up with that anyway? The bed looked like a cage and now was beginning to feel like one, too! This place needed my mother's touch … peeing in a pot ON the bed, now eating supper sitting on the side of the bed, what next?! I picked at the food and could not be convinced that there would be no food for me in the morning. My mother would come and she would bring me some food; it's just what mothers do.
The activity of the day and evening did make me plenty tired but "Sleepy" was quite another matter. In those days they did not really sedate children the night before surgery so I was more than wide awake for the remaining hours of the evening shift that first night in the hospital.
The daytimes were not so terribly bad, as long as one didn't mind all kinds of strangers doing all kinds of things to them and for them. Even after surgery when I had pain, they gave me shots and I didn't cry that much because I wanted the promised Popsicle. It was worth it to me if they had cherry or grape. My parents lived too far away to come each afternoon for that narrow window called "visiting hours". My father needed our one car to go to work while I was in the hospital so my parents were just not able to come. However, I had an aunt we all loved for all the reasons a young kid loves a single aunt… she takes you places and plays with you, etc. because she doesn't have kids of her own and you are it! She also worked during the nighttime hours at a hotel reception desk so had the hours that hospital let people visit children free from her job. She came every day to read stories and play games with me. It was wonderful and I looked forward to her visits an hour each afternoon.
When I had recovered enough to not have to stay in the bed all day, I found a trike in the playroom. Now, there was something I would really enjoy… freedom to explore and wheels for a fast get-away if necessary! When I had been walking those halls, I had noticed the big door that was always closed at the end of the main hallway. I stood there quietly one day until some adult opened it to let herself out. I could hear babies crying and people saying things about the new baby. YES, that's just what would interest me! But, the door was there for a reason, right? Later, still on the trike, I slowly made my way up and down that hallway adjacent to the door. At last, it came… my chance to escape and check out those babies! The people were talking to one another as they passed through the door that had been flung open wide and not paying any attention to the little girl on the trike. Before the door closed completely, I zoomed my trike through and on to the Maternity floor! Yes!
It was not easy to look at the room full of babies in plastic beds that didn't even have any bars because I was too short. Well, okay, there must be other things to see on this side of the door. Off I went to explore! I saw someone dressed in all white coming down the hall. She was looking down at her hand where she held a bag with a tube coming out of it. Yikes! I pumped those pedals as fast as I could, turning right at the first intersection that presented itself. I found myself in a short hallway. I really enjoyed cheerfully greeting the ladies in the patient rooms I passed. They seemed happy to see me, too, as they waved albeit with a somewhat surprised expression on their faces. I thought I might catch a peek at a baby in the room but only a couple of ladies in each room. No babies. Continuing my search, I quickly passed my trike through the doorway into the next room. "Crunch!"… right into a cleaning lady. Boy, was SHE surprised! "Well, little girl, you are really too old to be on this side of the door." That was the first time anyone had told me I was too old! I whipped that little piece of metal on three wheels around so fast I thought I could get away for sure. Alas, it was not to be. The lady dropped her wet mop, ran just a few long strides, grabbed onto the collar of my bathrobe, and that was that… adventure over.
The funny thing is that I don't recall being reprimanded by anyone for making my escape from the Pediatrics Ward, though I might have been. What I do know is that many years later, when I did my rotation as a student nurse on that very same Pediatrics Ward, there was not a single trike to be found! Hope that wasn't my fault and I ruined it for all the other kids.
****Scene 3 coming tomorrow, if it doesn't rain too much and mess up our connection.