As hoped and anticipated, Ilias was discharged from hospital today.
We delayed going to the hospital to pick him and Sarah up until the afternoon, so that Eloïse and Lucas could attend a clay modelling activity at the VUmc‘s truly amazing Kinderstad facility at 15:00.
Kinderstad has to be seen to be believed. Just about every kind of toy imaginable can be found there, from building blocks to a Nintendo Wii, from football to fancy dress, from finger paint to a gigantic two storey slide, from the cabin of a real aeroplane to a suite of Apple Macs for making movies, from television and Internet to complete DJ suites for mixing records. There is so much to see and do that the children who come here can forget, even if it’s just for a short while, that they’re sick.
Kinderstad isn’t just for sick children, though. Brothers and sisters are welcome, too, which is good, because Eloïse and Lucas can get a lot more out of the place at the moment than young Ilias. Even children returning for out-patient treatment at the polyclinic are welcome.
We didn’t want to deny Eloïse and Lucas their last real opportunity to play there, so we took our time in getting to the hospital. Sarah was in no real rush to leave, anyway. It was her seventh day in residence there and she had grown used to her temporary surroundings, perhaps even enjoying to some degree the peace and quiet of her enforced pseudo-solitary confinement.
After Eloïse and Lucas finished up in Kinderstad, we went to the hospital’s dispensary on the other side of the road to pick up Ilias’ prescription, enough Amoxicillin for another four days of treatment, making for ten in all. He gets it three times a day, orally, via a syringe.
With that in the bag, we left the building and, without looking back, headed home to resume normal family life. The coming days will see us gradually putting this experience behind us, learning whichever valuable lessons we can from it, and retaining whichever peripheral benefits there are to be gleaned, such as the new-found willingness of Eloïse and Lucas to be put to bed by their papa.
The last week has been a stressful, hectic experience. With nary a moment to draw breath, the time has flown by surprisingly quickly. It’s hard to believe this all began last Wednesday. At the same time, I paradoxically feel as if I’ve been making the journey to the hospital for several weeks. Ilias’ sojourn in hospital hangs like a black hole in the firmament of my memory. In time, we’ll look back on the photos of him with a tube stuck in his tiny head, shake our own head and say, ‘Remember that?’
Thank you to everyone who has written with well wishes and kind words over the last few days. Your concern was and still is much appreciated. In particular, I must thank Sarah’s folks, without whom I really don’t know how I would have coped. They fed the family and looked after Ilias’s siblings while I was at the hospital with my baby boy and his mother.
The staff of the VUmc are also due a word of thanks, particularly the nurses (and even more particularly nurse Jansje), who took very good care of Ilias and Sarah while they were somewhat reluctant guests there. They made an awful situation tolerable and we are truly appreciative of that.
And now, back to normal life, whatever that is.