We smile and nod and don’t breathe a word to sway the doctor’s opinion as he ‘Um’s’ and ‘Ah’s’ over whether to release Kiara today. We need it to be his decision. When you give someone a job and then take it away, you can’t hold them to doing their best.
“Are you desperate to go home today?” he asks, hating to be the pooper of the party.
“We want you to be totally comfortable, Doctor.” He has to feel free to make the call based on his expertise alone.
Her abdomen wound is the more sensitive from a healing point of view as the skin pulls tight over the skull piece. Particularly on her side, where the skin is so thin, and she has hardly any fat to add support. But it’s the head wound, this time, that makes him want to delay. The suture wound runs from the middle of her forehead, right down her midline to the back of her head, with a line coming off the centre down to her ear making it into a ‘T’. The edge of the remaining skull is pushing against the main suture line, and he was hoping to see more healing before discharging her. The scab is still too thick for him to be 100% sure that the wound is knitting all the way through. He wants a few more days to make sure.
The doc leaves and we sit quietly, absorbing the change of plans. What’s there to say? We phone the kids at home to let them down easy, and cancel the family that were traveling to join in the moment.
After that, it’s a bit of an arb day. Rich tries to reinstate meetings that he cancelled. I try to put back into place carers to help at home or hospital, that I thought I wouldn’t need. Kiara doesn’t feel up to doing therapy today. The kids at home are disappointed.
By the afternoon, Rich defines the mood with the right word - scratchy. He’s apologizing for himself, but he may as well be describing us all.
Three things that make us scratchy: when we don’t get what we want; when we don’t feel good enough; when we’re tired. We can put a tick beside them all.
We didn’t get what we wanted today. It makes me feel childish when that gets to me, but it’s there, like it or not.
I signed us up for a family brain-training app today, something the OT recommended for Kiara. We’re giving it a go during visiting hours, but the games are leaving a few of us feeling incompetent. Let’s be real - no one likes to feel stupid! Those who get it quicker than others are giving instructions over the struggler’s shoulders. Scratchy? You could call it that.
When I think of fixing scratchiness, I think of oil. Lotion to lubricate. Balm to soothe. I wonder if we’ve applied enough of this today?
Through the day we’ve kept short accounts with each other, asking each other how we’re doing, trying to be aware of how each one is feeling. I’ve popped home to be with the kids, and caught a moment with those that seem out of sorts. Rich has pulled me onto his lap, and whispered about scratchiness, soothing with words.
Tonight, Kiara and I eat a silent dinner over her bed. “I’m sorry we’re not at home, nu.” She twitches a resigned smile. “Me, too.”
I give her her nightly massage and put her to sleep real early, leaving it to Rich to tuck the rest into bed. I know he’ll do it with words of blessing that will soothe away the scratchiness. I pop him a message: “You wanna pick up something to drink and come hang out with me tonight once the kids are asleep?” Quick as a flash, he responds, “For sure!” and I feel him smiling at me smiling at him.
The scratchiness is resolved. A bit of oil; some understanding; not too much rubbing the wrong way. Short accounts; soothing words - and a drink with your best friend. A certain fix for friction - any engineer could have told you that!