Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pedia Ward

Slowly, my mother's wheelchair rolled towards the emergency room. We had just left the admission department after securing our private room, when we heard an infant cry.

The shrill of his voice bounced across the room. Gut instincts told me who it was, my mom thought otherwise.

"Teka, si Lenin yun ah!" Lenin is my 2-month old nephew

"Hindi ha!" While the matriarch was arguing with me, I pushed her wheelchair faster to where the cries came from.

Curious onlookers stood outside the small quarter across the pedia ward.  Inside the room were my sister, her husband and a female nurse with a huge syringe in hand. Lying in bed was my nephew whose wails simply begged for mercy. My sister hushed him, my brother-in-law tried to get his attention  with toys while my mom and I stood outside, helpless at baby Lenin's condition. The nurse was drawing blood for observation.

It's been two days since Lenin showed signs of ailment. His fever shot up by several degrees only to disappear a few hours later.  On the second day, I told my sister to call her doctors for opinion. She even asked me to send a text message to my favorite aunt, which I refused to do.

"Anak mo yan, dapat ikaw ang makipag-usap sa mga doktor niya."

I wouldn't mind pressing the speed dial to reach the favorite aunt.   When mom was unwell, the favorite aunt's phone was bombarded by text messages seeking instructions on how to deal with her sickness. I wanted to teach my sister how to assert as a mother.

She needs to learn it by all means.

At past seven in the evening, my nephew was finally admitted to the hospital. His blood sample reveals infection. As of this writing, the doctors are still tracing its source. Urinary tract infection appears to be our best candidate.

But we could still go wrong.  

When baby Lenin's chills had subsided, it was as if things were back to normal. Except that we're in a small room in a big hospital, waiting for the doctor's diagnosis. 

In the lull between the body heat surges, my nephew was kicking in bed. I was stroking his tummy with my fingers - like I often do - while his parents ate dinner with my mom. For someone who is too fragile, too innocent and too sheltered to feel such suffering; my hands could only watch in vain. For someone to wail like he did at the emergency room earlier, when he never cries at home; his pain sears through my calloused skin. For someone who is well-loved, who keeps the peace at home,

who is our bundle of joy.

The sight of those steel needles piercing his flesh will haunt me for sometime. 

No wonder, between the baby talks and whispers of "get well soon, little one,"  while Lenin smiled, held my finger and kicked his legs harder - like he's not sick at all.

I felt my eyes moist.  In my heart, I was already in tears.