This is Boy, on Night One of his hospitalization:
His father is with him on Night Two. I have got to stop tempting fate.
I shall back up. As I've mentioned, I was in Stockholm for the last half of the previous week. Stockholm is really amazing and when our conference ended a bit early on Friday afternoon, I had at least seven hours of awake alone time left. Perfect time to acquire one of the many tattoos I am planning.
Yes, yes, this thirty year old married mother of two with a respectable job is working on tattoos. I am looking forward to nothing as little as I am looking forward to telling my father. But that's for later.
I emailed a few Stockholm shops, but they were booked. Luckily, one took walk-ins on Friday and had a solid reputation. Come back at 8. And so I did.
Behold, my first tattoo, an elephant for my Girl:
Normally my t-shirt covers most of it, just leaving the face poking out, but I pulled it aside for you fine folks. I very deliberately faced it that way, so that I wouldn't end up risking just an elephant ass sticking out of my neckline. Easy to cover for work, quite small, very cute: I love it.
Despite Girl grabbing at it as soon as I arrived back in Tallinn on Saturday, I've managed to keep it very clean as it heals. I was anticipating wearing a suit on a work trip to Haapsalu on Tuesday, but picked out a soft cotton top that wouldn't irritate it. When Boy dumped an entire container of fish food in the tank and Husband and I set out on an emergency tank-cleaning mission, I carefully avoided splashing fish-poopy water on it.
When Boy woke up that night crying and spiking a high fever, I stopped worrying about it.
His symptoms were such that we nursed him through the night and Husband took him into the Children's Hospital on Monday morning, where he was immediately admitted. I visited at lunch, but I had visa appointments in both the morning and afternoon, and thus was a bit tethered to the office. Nothing makes you feel like a horrible mother with misplaced priorities more than that type of situation. To be clear: if the doctors indicated that anything were a dire emergency, then I'd be the first to forget everything else and get to the hospital. But they didn't, so I was doing the best I could. I ditched everything when Girl was in the hospital, but I had backup then and, if I'm honest, a 14 month old needs her mother even more than a preschooler does at times.
I feel like a jerk even typing that sentence. You know what I mean. Husband was locking it down.
I switched with Husband yesterday evening so that I could spend the night with Boy. I stayed there today so Husband could go to work, and we are doing the reverse for tonight and tomorrow. I canceled my trip to Haapsalu, or rather foisted it on someone else. It had been long planned and kind people were going out of their way to welcome the U.S. Embassy. If my son hadn't been in the hospital, I would have been horribly disappointed to miss it. Alas, these crises never happen at a good time.
Today, as Boy regained much of his normal verve, I lolled about on the hospital bed, playing jets and lizards and whatever else he requested. At some point, it occurred to me that the worst place to have a fresh tattoo still in the healing process was a hospital, the land of MRSA. I suddenly became an insufferable Felix to Boy's fairly disgusting Oscar (a role reversal, as in all other circumstances he's the particular one). I'd squeal and wave my hands defensively if he sent a blanket my way. I washed my hands twice every time I ventured in the bathroom for whatever reason. My jacket hanging on the coat rack became suspect, as did the straps of the bags I had brought with me.
My tattoo hasn't erupted with flesh-devouring anything. Yet. It's a good reminder to be cautious, though, and as Girl sleeps upstairs and Husband tries to convince Boy to settle in for another night of fitful sleep, tethered to an IV pole, I am shopping online for a few cheap long sleeve t-shirts, preparing a thin layer of protection for round 2.
Boy will come home tomorrow, with any luck. Never fear, if he weren't faring well this would have been a very different post.