Becky was discharged from the hospital yesterday.
When I walked into the hospital yesterday morning, I noticed that Becky’s central lines had been removed. I figured this was a pretty good indication that we were heading home. Shortly afterwards, I received a text notification regarding her discharge appointment with the Heart Failure Team on Monday. By the way, that team needs a new name. No one wants to be on that team. Anyways, after a quick conversation with the cardiologist, it was time to pack up and leave. Becky was indifferent to the whole process.
I quickly moved out of the Ronald McDonald House, silently uttering a prayer of gratitude for my home away from home. It’s inspired genius that someone thought to parlay french fries and hamburgers into a respite for families of critically ill children. I strapped Becky into her car seat, hooked up the portable oxygen tank, and made a beeline home.
As before, Sam did an admirable job keeping things running at home. But he knew that he needed reinforcements for the final stretch. He called in Becky’s godparents to help bring some order to the house. I arrived to a flurry of activity. Vacuuming. Cleaning. Johnny carrying misplaced toys and Rudy running in circles, unsure where to focus his limited canine attention.
Eventually, everyone gravitated to one room. Laundry was folded. Bags were unpacked. Stories were shared. Becky at the center of it all. Everyone was amazed to see her breathing so comfortably behind a noticeably pudgier body.
Simply put, it was a piece of heaven.
But there was an unusual smell in this heavenly abode. When I walked in the front door, I noticed that windows and doors had been opened. It was a futile attempt to dissipate a hidden, putrid odor. As soon as Becky’s godparents left, I was on a mission to find it. Like a good hound dog, my nose led me to the kitchen. And then to the refrigerator. I opened the doors and quickly identified the fetid source.
February’s fabulous fish and poultry special had quickly turned into March’s mystery smell.
I had completely forgotten about the large salmon fillet and the tray of chicken. I never gave Sam preparation instructions and he wasn’t looking for extra culinary work. Hence, our mystery smell. He quickly removed the offensive items, disposing of them in the trash as Rudy sulked.
There is one loose end to the story: why was Sam unable to identify this smell himself? Apparently, he had started noticing it midweek but didn’t do anything about it. Hmmm. I held my tongue but did make a mental note. Perhaps there is a genetic link between this olfactory infraction and Sam’s engrained response to a fuel gauge light. Many of you appreciated that post. Michael recently texted me the emoji version. Genius.
🚗 🧐 🍟🚫💲 😍 🚗🍟 🚫⛽ 😱 💬🙉
It was great to see the kids and to begin to settle back into home life. The weather was beautiful and I was itching for a walk. I put my headphones in and enjoyed a quick 15-minute walk around the neighborhood. I soaked up all the scenes of an ordinary Saturday: yard work, kids on bicycles, a neighborhood basketball game. I even noticed the first signs of spring popping through the ground.
Becky enjoyed seeing all of her siblings and quickly fell asleep on Michael as we watched a movie. Before Johnny went to bed he requested a private conversation with me. He sat solemnly next to me on the stairs and revealed his pressing concern:
Johnny: “Mom, you know how Mary Frances is studying art?”
Johnny: “And she needs art supplies, right?”
Me: “Yes, Johnny.”
Johnny: “Well, I’ve decided that I am going to study Legos. So I’m gonna need a few sets.”
I pulled him close, held him tight, and gave him a kiss on the head. It’s hard to argue with that kind of logic.
As he slumped off to bed, he asked one final question, “Mom, how long are you going to be home?”
It’s a fair question, born of his recent life experience. Over the last five months, Becky and I have spent approximately 1/2 of it in a hospital. I told Johnny that I thought we should be home for a long, long time.