Waiting in the pediatric surgery wing

I’m waiting here in the pediatric surgery wing of this sprawling high-rise hospital. The waiting room sports some unusual toys, like a Little Tikes toddler car with an IV pole bolted on the back. The sweet syrup on every spoon induces amnesia so they won’t remember being wheeled away from their parents by masked men. No routine check-ups here – all the incoming adults are apprehensive.

The stars and moons on the carpet repeat over and over in every direction. Thousands of stars, and hundreds of moons. It makes me wish there were stars with only one moon, hiding in a corner somewhere for a curious child to find as they wandered in their gown, covered with prints of Tigger and Eyore. Why did God give us only one moon? More would have made the night sky far more interesting. I think he must have kept it simple out of compassion for the mariners. The sea is treacherous enough as it is without overlapping and uneven tides.

Back in the waiting room, caretakers are lounging in fluffy chairs, but their minds are out among the ocean waves. Some play games on their phones. Others read a page in their novels, then read the same page over again. Cell phone calls come and go, touching base, calling the same number again, just because. The nurses try to strike a balance between encouraging and not too perky.

Soon she’ll wake back up. They tell me she will be herself an hour later and won’t remember a thing. Neither will I as her little life supplants and replaces mine, bit by bit. As Capon warned us, it’s them or us and inevitably, it’s going to be them.

Later, it is revealed that the surgery was not a success. Must we remain in the ship? I’ll take any harbor about now.