Monday, February 15, 2010

Two-years old and all alone in a hospital crib

This has nothing to do with asthma, yet I'm going to report it off to you anyway. I had a 2-year-old kid I was just scheduled to give a breathing treatment. He was actually diagnosed with pneumonia, and doesn't need the treatment, but that's beside the point.

The reason I mention this here is because the kid, when I entered the room, was crying. He kept saying over and over, "Mommy! Mommy!" Yes. He wanted his mommy. He wanted the one person he is most attached to. And yet, she was no where to be found. Once the child was admitted, she went home.

So, after I gave my treatment, I sat with the kid. I put on a cartoon on the TV, and I talked to him. It took a while, but I eventually had him calmed down. Then I sat with him for a while, as he snuggled with his little stuffed puppy.

This kind of reminded me of when I was two and my parents left me in a hospital all alone. Yes, I was 2 years old in 1972, and my parents left me alone. There was a policy back then that parents weren't allowed to stay in the hospital after hours, so once visiting hours were over, they had to go home.

I remember a room where a bunch of hospital cribs, which were actually metal cages, were all lined up. I was put in one, and the side was raised. I remember standing up, all sad, as my mom and dad said good-bye. I remember them slowly walking to the door, looking back, and then exiting the door.

I also remember mom and dad looking in the little slit of a window on the door. They stood there a while, and then left. I was sad. I remember the nurses coming in every once in a while to put something in my bottom. I didn't know it then, but it was probably the temperature probe.

I was in the hospital because I had bad eyes, and the doctor was going to operate in the morning. I had a wandering eye, and the doctor had to tighten a muscle or something. Surgery may not be needed for this in 2010, or if it is, it would be an out patient procedure, but back in 1972 I had to stay the night for whatever reason.

I remember after the surgery, having a patch over my eye. I kept trying to take it off, so the doctors actually wrapped my head so I couldn't do it. I also remember leaving the hospital. I don't remember mom being there, but she probably was. She probably stayed in the hospital to do paper work or something while dad took us kids out to the car.

I remember my older brother Bobby, my younger brother David walking along side me. I was in a wheelchair, being pushed by dad, or, perhaps if my memory fails me, maybe it was a nurse. Regardless, I remember my brothers (one or both) wanting to ride in the chair, and dad saying something like, "Rick's the sick one. He gets to ride in the chair today."

I remember the car. It was a station wagon with brown and white wooden side panels. That's the memory. That's how I remember it. And, yes, I was only two.

I told my memory to my mom once when I was a 10 or so, and she confirmed it. Yet, I brought it up a few years ago to her, and she said what I described was not how it was. She said my brothers wouldn't have been there, and stuff like that. However, I think my memory is accurate, as it happened to me, and mom didn't have a need to remember it the way I did.

Anyway, sitting there with this kid kind of reminded me of this episode, when I was a kid left all alone in the hospital. It's episodes like this that give me empathy for kids, especially kids that are left alone by their parents in a hospital, and the kid is all sad.

The kid was calm, staring at me, the ceiling, and occasionally getting lost in the movements of the cartoon on the TV, and I was hesitant to leave him all alone. Yet, remembering that I tolerated it somehow when I was a kid, I was certain this kid would do just fine. Perhaps, as it may have done me, strengthening him somehow.


  1. Oh Sheesh, how very very sad. She doesn't deserve to be a mother. Sorry I had to write that.

    Yep, I remember being 2, 3, 4.....7,8,9....alone in hospital beds/cribs. In fact I think I was still in crib with bars aged 10. No wonder a certain hard luck asthmatic calls it his prison sentence.

    Take Care

  2. Actually, after I wrote this post, the mother showed up and she turned out to be a very good, Christian mother. She had a very good reason for leaving her son too. I ended up sitting with her for over an hour having an intelligent discussion. Ironically, it turns out we go to the same church.