Friday, August 13, 2010

Divine Care Provider

At 9:20 a.m. Shammond calls me on my cell phone. I've been at the clinic since 7:30 a.m. blood draw, 8:00 physical therapy headed toward a 9:30 a.m. central line pull. "Mom, I'm coming to be with you," Shammond says. "I'm on the shuttle now." "I'll wait for you at the front door," I reply. When he shows up I put my arms around him. "Thank you so much, this means so much to me," I explain. "Day 100 and my last clinical procedure and you are here to witness and be my care provider."
We check in on the 2nd floor. I get a wrist band. Shammond gets a wrist band too with "care provider" printed on his. We are escorted into a procedure room. "Now, you don't have to watch," I caution. The nurse is cautious too. "How are you with medical stuff," she asks. "O.k.," says Shammond but I know he doesn't know what he is getting himself into.
Dr. Petty is the ace who put the Hickman into my heart and juggler vein. When Petty arrives in the room, he shakes Shammond's hand and pretends that he is stuck palm to palm with my kid, then he finishes off the good fun with two high fives. I'm already on the table with a warm blanket and the nurse telling me what to expect.
I start singing a song about my boy being strong as the eagle. Strong as the bear. Then I realize that animals have nothing to do with this. Shammond is standing next to me because he is created in the image of the divine with compassion and love of God.
Shammond gets a chair for caution sake. The nurse knew to bring the chair. Even I have heard about the adult care giving observers who pass out when a central line is removed. Petty invites Shammond to sit closer and get a good look. I remember dissecting the fetal pig in high school. It was the kids watching who threw up. The students with scalpels were too busy and curious to be grossed out.
A firm tugging and the line doesn't budge. "I'm going to numb this area," Petty explains. He produces a large needle, just long enough so that our eyes get wide, then shows us the pediatric needle that will in fact be used. His manner is more expert surgeon providing instruction than tease. Shammond watched the cutting of a very small portion of my skin that had formed around the line cuff that needed to come out before the line could be set free. Then the line pulled out with one wonderful swoosh. Pressure on the site for 10 minutes. Only then did I realize that I was squeezing Shammond's hand so hard, I think it might have crushed. Shammond cool as a cuke through it all.

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