We saw him briefly. So briefly. We knew they were coming because we heard them readying him for transport. I was already standing to the side when the doors burst open. Our Tuesday carer, Wai, beside me.
He looked so little. He had a vent (horrid and wonderful life saving things that they are) and his eyes were taped shut. Two cannulas were in his feet. Irritating, because we’d put numbing cream on his hands and inner elbows to help with the pain in going in. His hands and arms were covered in red puncture marks where they’d tried and failed to get a cannula in. (Turns out the numbing cream is also a vascular constrictor.. fail).
He looked so little. So vulnerable.
Mikaere was being moved from the MRI clinic (an adult clinic which they’d commandeered for him because it was closer to the paediatric OR) up to theatre.
We rode up the elevator together and I gently held his tiny little hand. More for my comfort than his.
We stopped in the corridor near the OR – no parents past this point. Only patients and doctors. Saying goodbye a second time was equally rubbish. Still, I was grateful I got a glimpse of Mikaere. That so far he was doing okay.
We went down the hall to the Paedatric Intensive Care. We knew he’d be going there after and were told we could leave our stuff in the parent room.
It’s a tricky place, fraught with familiarity and grief from when we were there last year. I got flashbacks of Christmas and New Years. The microwave dinners we’d had on our knees, wolfing down food so we could go back into PICU. The tears, the quick power naps, the unbearable waiting that happened when we had visitors and it wasn’t my turn to be with Kai (it’s only two visitors to a bed, so turn taking is a thing). Mostly I remembered the fear. Of not knowing what was going to happen, of Mikaere sinking into a worse and worse hole. Of everything seeming so overwhelming and horrid.
I’m glad we weren’t under the same circumstances this time. Oh waiting. I willed time to pass quickly.