I generally consider myself a “glass-half-full” brand of girl, even frequently perceiving said glass as completely full, sometimes o’erfloeth with the full, and occasionally outright “CHUG! CHUG! CHUG! CHUG!” that metaphorical glass just cannot possibly contain the fullness.
So the past few weeks of household viral misery has been a wee test of all that optimism, not unlike the episode in the children’s classic wherein fate snatches hold of Pollyanna‘s rose-colored glasses only to shove them up her insufferably sunny ass. But not unlike story’s end, a shocking denouement wherein Pollyanna discovers the rectal blue-blockers enable her to poop rainbows, everything was going to be super! And surely, blithe spirits (and a few thousand antibacterial wipes) would prevail, finally ending this Glisson-Ortlieb Fortnight of the Living Dead.
And I was THAT chronically cheerful, right up until 10-o’clock last night when Mike and I were sitting in the emergency room with an infant whose temperature read 100-and-brain-damage, at which point I only wanted to KILL EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING EVER.
There’s something about the intersection of children and hospitals that makes me hand-cupping-mouth nauseous and perpetually fighting off a faint, because there is NOTHING about children and hospitals that should EVER meet, and that includes the two words and one sentence.
So there’s that, and that Nola’s so en fuego I expect the ER crew to encircle her with a bag of marshmallows, and that OF COURSE! the MD diagnoses a weeks’ old viral infection that’s now evolved into an ear infection, and it’s a good thing you admitted her now, unless you think the way a burst eardrum drains makes for, like, your sickest Youtube upload ever.
And that’s how it happens: one minute you’re pooping rainbows, and the next you’re wishing an Old Testament-grade shitstorm on everything and everyone, or at least everyone that will never be as good or innocent as this borscht-hued cuddler in footie pajamas — and yeah, that’s pretty much everyone.
But in the midst of my going all Carrie on humanity, a middle-aged woman approaches the admitting nurse and says she’s there to check in on her friend. “What was she admitted for?” “She had a miscarriage.” “Are you sure she’s still in the ER?” “Oh, I’m pretty sure she’s going to be here quite a while.”
And then they near a patient being wheeled into an adjoining room, a woman tucked into a gurney at a 40-degree angle under that stingy institutional bedding, her head cradled on a gossamer-gowned shoulder. And it’s just seconds, really, in which the woman and I make eye contact and her tear-rimmed glance turns to Nola — who suddenly looks not feverish so much as rosy-cheeked, cooing and batting the air with doll-sized hands — and in that instant, the woman’s eyes flash then dim, like a star collapsing in on itself, before a curtain is sheathed around her.
And like that, the glass has refilled to so very preciously half-full.