Today Scarlett was admitted to Children's Hospital Oakland for monitoring until her surgery next week. What a difference from our last hospital experience.
The best thing is that we were able to pack and plan ahead. Last time, we didn't know we would be in the hospital, so we were totally unprepared. My mom and sister shuttled clothes and toiletries to us. This time, we cleaned the house, unplugged every conceivable appliance to save power ($$$) and left our house in good shape to return to eventually. I walked with Scarlett to look at the house; her room with jellyfish dangling from the ceiling and the crib she has never slept in; her cozy bassinet next to our bed; the dog and cats who could tell something was awry. I am hoping with all my heart that it was not her last day there.
As we checked in with admissions, we immediately felt the difference from the last hospital. There, the staff in every department we dealt with, from financials to ICU, was caring and patient. Here, we were treated as customers: "sign here, sign here, leave the pen, good luck".
I had a breakdown when I saw the room. It is by no means a bad room, but so different from what we had last week that I was in shock. We had had a large room with a window seat bed and a chair bed, our own bathroom and a sink, shelves, etc. Now, we are in a shared room, where I was told the bathroom is for patients only (I told the nurse I would make sure it was available if Scarlett needed it...) The teenager we were sharing with moved on shortly after we arrived, so we have it to ourselves, but otherwise, there is only room for one parent to sleep overnight. The furnishings are old and worn, and it is dreary; we had to unscrew one lightbulb to turn it off. Scarlett doesn't know the difference, but I sure do. I know the room in no way reflects the care, and the nurses have been fine, but I felt a little bit of remorse. This is a much older hospital, and it shows.
We were lucky to meet our roommates mom, who gave me a quick rundown of the available services and a tour. As we walked, we both shared the stories of how our children had been diagnosed. Her son is fighting leukemia, and they are traveling from Nevada for treatment. She was very kind and wished us well before they moved to their new room.
Now we just settle in and get comfortable as they keep testing Scarlett to be sure she is up to surgery. They are particularly concerned about the possibility of anemia; this would mean she needs a blood transfusion before surgery.