Yesterday I shared the sweet side of Avila’s trip to the dentist.
Today I am sharing the saltier rendition.
(Both versions are totally accurate, mind you, though they do tend to produce very different emotions in my listeners.)
So I was in the family waiting room—waiting, as it were, most anxiously—but also thinking about the sweet and tender moment of our reunion. I imagined the nurse poking her head into the room and saying, “Mrs. B.? You can see your daughter now.” I had one of those big Lands’ End beach bags packed full of (what I thought were) special items: books, blankie, stuffed animals galore. I pictured my little girl propped up post-op style, eyes wide and quietly waiting for her beloved momma, perhaps with a glass of ice chips in her small hand.
Instead the long-awaited moment went something like this.
I heard a strange, siren-like sound coming down the hallway. “That’s funny,” I thought. “That sounds a lot like Avila.” A nurse stuck her head into the waiting room and frantically peered about. “Mrs. B.??!!” Ah heck.
Hastily I gathered up my magazines, books and rosary and followed the nurse out into the hall, where I saw another nurse struggling to contain a puffy-faced shrieking child in a yellow hospital shirt (but not the pants) and a pull-up.
Could that be my little sweetie? Gulp. Oh my goodness. Yes, it was.
God bless my little Avila, but she is one of those hypersensitive kids—what’s the politically correct term these days? Ah, yes—a spirited child—for whom leaving the house can be a major ordeal. The seams on her socks must be perfectly aligned to her little row of toes—that is, if she approves of the socks in the first place. Heaven help us during the winter months, because tights are too tight, you know. Even the lighter Easter dress variety of tights are dismissed with a sob as being too “sweaty.”
The rest of the time she’s a dear, she really is. She is the only one of my children who will go off to play quietly for an hour at a time, and you know that she’s not up to anything other than whatever imaginative game she’s concocted at the moment. But when something bugs her, it really, really bugs her.
So. When Avila came out of the anesthesia she discovered she’d had an accident. Woops. I’d forgotten to have her go potty before the surgery. Consequently the nurses had removed her soiled panties and put her in the aforementioned pull-up….
…and she was furious.
We’re talking flailing limbs and arching back, madder than a little wet hen and letting everyone within a fifty-foot radius know her feelings. I quickly scooped her out of the nurse’s arms and tried to calm her. She wanted none of that and screamed even louder. Someone approached her with a popsicle and smack! She knocked it out of his hand. She then proceeded to rip every last article of clothing—pull-up included—off of her body.
Not knowing what to do with her at that point, I set her down and let her scream it out.
“Excuse me, Ma’am?” The head nurse came bustling over. “This is the recovery area! People are trying to sleep! You have to calm your daughter!”
Fine. What would she have me do, I’d like to know? “Can I just take her home then?” I asked. They were more than happy to have me sign the release form, and the kind male nurse who’d had the popsicle slapped out of his hand even offered to walk out with me.
So we went. Down the hall and out the door went the procession—the male nurse, me, and my daughter (butt naked and still screaming)—out to my big white van a block away.
He was so kind, that nurse. He’d gotten her another popsicle and a nice cold box of juice, to boot. He waited while I snapped her sweaty little body into her car seat and bravely he passed her the popsicle. (Thankfully, she accepted it this time around.) The juice I set up front in the cup holder.
And then he wished me well and we were off.
Man. At the very least I had a story to tell when I got home (and you better believe that I’ve told this story) but I was exhausted. I glanced back at Avila and she, too, seemed completely spent by all her antics. She sat quietly—almost dazedly—looking out the window with her forgotten popsicle and her thoughts, and seemed like she was ready to drift off.
I merged onto the freeway and reached for the juice box. It was a hot summer day and I was thirsty. At that point I heard my daughter, speaking (not screaming) for the first time since her surgery.
Except…it wasn’t really speaking, per se.
It was more of a guttural croak that came out of her. Two words, and they were:
And that’s my Avila.