Monday, February 28, 2011

On the Benefits of Being Blind

Last night I headed to "bed" around 11PM.

I was up again at 12:30AM, 2:15AM, 4:10 to 7:15AM (that was a long one), and finally up for the day at 7:45AM. Each "up" lasted about 20 minutes, unless it was longer.

In those hours, I had plenty of opportunity to ruminate on the benefits of being blind.

Now for anyone reading this blog either by the magic of technology or by the boon of friendship who is 100% blind, I admit... with corrective lenses, my vision is 20/20. However, when I take out my contacts at night to (hypothetically) let my eyes rest, my uncorrected vision is more like 20/4000. That's not an exaggeration. If anything, it's an underestimation. I looked it up on a Snellen chart.

Here are the advantages of very poor eyesight:

When you jump out of bed at the sound of your name ("Mom!") your first predilection is to check the clock to see what time it is. This would make you grumpy because you would realize how little you had slept.

But! When you're blind, you can't see the clock! So, you go about cheerfully pouring juice and cleaning and creaming small bottoms, weighing diapers and changing chucks.

Finally, the time comes to record diaper weight and the time, at which point you turn on your cell phone and hold it 2 inches from your face. And voila! By the time you realize you should be grumpy, it's time to lay down again.

When you regularly swathe a baby's bum in Night-time Desitin it doesn't take long to realize that 40% zinc oxide smells a lot like fish. Not yummy lemon-pepper thyme roasted orange roughy but freshly-caught raw and wriggling lake trout. Or perhaps a dead and rotting fish of any variety.

Of course, this means you're getting that smell all over your hands, Desitin being chemically designed not to come off of your skin. With a lot of scrubbing, you would realize that most of the smell can be muted except for the Desitin still stuck under your fingernails. You would also realize those offending nails would *have* to be removed, post-haste, if you ever wanted to fall asleep again.

Here's the benefit of being blind. When you try to catch all those fingernails in a tissue on your bed, you have NO idea if you did it!

What!? You think that's *not* a benefit?

Let me explain.

First, you don't have to take any time to hunt for them. Second, just like any exam, it's way easier to pass your princess test if you've practiced a little.

"Mattress #1, go!"


"Right! Mattress #2, go!"

"Fingernail. Pinky... no. Ring finger!"

"Correct! Mattress #3..."

You know, as prepared as you think you are, the Bridgette-comfort items lined up at the bottom of the bed will not be sufficient. There's always *something* you have to search and rescue: a flashlight so you can read the scale without blaring the light, a specific snack for her, a specific snack for yourself, *more* diapers, etc.

And when you're blind *and* in the dark, the hunt is awesome. Placing your nose inches from each piled surface, in the manner of the coon dog, you... no, you don't sniff... you squint.

What you see is so much the art gallery! For free! In shades of gray, you see objects pass in and out of view, Bas Relief mixtures of Picasso and Pollack and Salvador Dali. It takes a long while to interpret what is what.

Some people churn their creativity with the use of hallucinogens, but you don't need drugs when you're blind because *everything* looks a little wonky. It's exhilarating. Really gets the imagination going.

Well, I don't need to tell you about all the things you're simply happy *not* to see. The mess of powder you spilled that matches the bed sheets perfectly. The diaper slop that somehow all looks... well... dark! There's no need to compare it to smashed barley soup or slightly beaten egg yolks or piles of green stretchy boogers or ... well, you know. It's just not necessary.

When random strangers come in and wake you during your precious minutes of rest, you don't know who to kill later! That saves you from an eternity of damnation.

Seriously, it's great being blind.

Once you pop your contacts out, it doesn't matter how much you want to read the next chapter of your fabulous book or how tempted you are to look at one more person's Facebook profile... you can't see them! This tricks you into thinking you can stretch out and sleep. Perfect! All the more time to think of blog entries when you lie there awake.

When you are forced to listen to Winnie the Pooh's Search for Christopher Robin twice before 6AM, you don't actually have to watch it. In fact, even if you try, it just looks a bit like fireworks in the distance.

And fireworks are festive.

When you put your contacts back in at the time of day people arbitrarily refer to as "morning," you almost feel like you've slept because the world is suddenly sharper and more colorful. The blind night looked like such a different place... it's as if you had been *dreaming* all night long. It's a neat psychological trick.

Well, those were all the blessings of blindness I could come up with in one night.

Actually, speaking of dreams, I had a lot of dreams about Bridgette. What a surprise!

And thanks to waking up so often, I remember most of them. In the last one (I dreamed it in the 30 minutes from 7:15 to 7:45), I had opened a daycare and all the kids were running amok bleeding out of their eyes or with broken arms or puking from tummy aches, etc. I had to pin them down and fix them before their parents came to pick them up.


Don't worry, I'm not opening a daycare. Ever.

Here's this morning's update on Bridgette... which has nothing to do with being blind. If my contacts weren't in, I couldn't have typed this.

No one knows anything.

That's not me being mean; it's me being honest.

Overnight (11PM to 8AM), she drank 2 liters of Pedialyte.

Oh, I'm sorry. Did I write that in small letters?

Let me try again.

Overnight, she drank 2 LITERS of Pedialyte!

There. That's better.

For the first time I felt like her diapers were as much urine as they were diarrhea, though, as formerlyheretoforepreviously mentioned, I couldn't really see what I was changing.

Her diapers were certainly full. The fullest was over 5oo grams and had spilled out all over her chucks, through her chucks, and through all the sheets.

This morning she was so puffy from rehydration that I chose to take her off her IV fluids. Before I'll feel comfortable going home, I need to know we can keep her hydrated. The best place to test that is here at the hospital with her IV tubes still hanging wrapped from her arm.

Her eyes went from sunken and black 5 days ago to puffy this morning. She looks like the Botox injections were put in her eyes.

In addition, Bridgette is *acting* like she feels better. She's been out of bed wandering the room, drawing on the walls, dancing to the music on Disney Junior. And that's considering she didn't sleep well last night.

After spoon feeding a tub of applesauce into her mouth around 4:30AM, I decided to order a big breakfast for her as soon as room service opened.

Bridgette has eaten four small containers of peanut butter. First she wanted it on toast. Once she finished the toast, she dug in with a spoon. I just looked up and she's ditched the spoon and is scooping it out with her fingers.

She's also eaten scrambled eggs "dipped" in sliced strawberries (don't ask... she does what she wants), and some ketchup. She's polished off another 2/3 liter of Pedialyte.

So, that's all good. But...

Yeah, knew *that* was coming. Her girth is even *bigger* this morning! And she's still pretty much sloughing nothing but water and green mucous from her intestines, although admittedly, the slough is thicker today.

Warning! Science! (Mucous in our intestines is normal for all of us. If you want to know why you can poop, it's because your intestines naturally produce mucous which allows your food to pass easily first through digestion and eventually into the toilet. We call it "body lube." Bridgette is obviously over-producing mucous which is then being sloughed off in droves. We don't know why.)

I talked to Carolee from surgery. She's one of my favorites.

She said, "I'm gonna be honest with you. We're not convinced it's enteritis. We don't think she needs surgery. And none of us know what's going on. She needs to be here, but she may be shuffled off the surgery team's visits."

Our options now are to involve more people to create a care plan that is specific to Bridgette instead of to cases that are similar to hers. She doesn't fit any common profiles.

Now she's running around the room stuffing her face with Honey Nut Cheerios and asking to play outside.

Whereas I feel exhausted. I assume I look exhausted too. Perhaps I'll take out my contacts before checking the mirror...

Can't go wrong being blind.


JulieAnn said...

Kelly you are so funny, especially in the midst of all this.

If you'd like, I have a coupon for free glasses at this online place. I got Rob a nice pair from them for under 10 bucks, and it came with a coupon for another pair. It's just sitting on my desk, waiting to be used, and I don't wear

Heidi said...

I think this is my all-time favorite post of yours. :) ... I hope Bridgette continues to feel good, that will certainly make things easier while waiting for ... whatever's next. :P

Alisha said...

YIKES! Sounds like a LOOONG night :P We thankfully had the most peaceful night since we've been at that hospital... well as peaceful as you can get at the hospital anyway.

You have a great way of writing about it though!

Unknown said...

oh Kelly! It pays to have a sense of humor when stuck in the hospital cleaning up 'poop' all night and not getting any real answers from the doc's! How frustrating! On a good note so glad to hear B looks better and is eating and peeing; ALL GREAT signs!
HUGS from anotehr HD mom. I know just how you feel right now!

Michelle said...

Sounds like my little guy. The last stay in hospital he had the last few days he seemed like a normal kid. But his bowels were a mess. He went from not being able to keep anything in and green mucous coming out everywhere to his bowels stopping and nothing coming out at all. Turned out he had entrocolitis and after 10 days of antibiotics his bowels became backed up so we went from one extreme to the other. Good luck. Love the post and I can sympathize. My eye site is pretty bad and when I get those calls during the nights I don't put on my glasses. Sometimes it's just better not to see what they have in store. :-)

Jennifer said...

I have pushed the "Like" button! Glad she's feeling better, even if there are no answers yet. I'm glad you had your blind experience too, I thoroughly enjoyed re-living it with you!

Sarah Vazquez said...

I LOVED this post! You are such a creative writer. I've always said I love your sense of humor and especially everything you said here. Love that girl and my girls have been praying for Baby Bridgette! They get so concerned as every day passes and I tell them you are still in the hospital. Hope you get to go home soon. Love, Sarah

Ann-Marie said...

Kelly, you many amazing things that I don't have a single word that would do justice to what I would like to tell you right now. Hang in there, and know that we love you and your family and are supporting you and praying for you all. High fives to B! She's a tremendous trooper. Thanks for your incredible examples. I know you'll continue to be guided in every step of the way. I hope you can all recover at home soon!

M.R.Bunderson said...

Kelly, great post. Your talent extends not only to your writing but also your outlook on life. That's some darned good lemonaid you're brewing.

All the best in a rough situation.


Unknown said...

Thanks for all the LOL moments this morning. It was funny gross.