Toronto Mike

A Night For Perspective

My New Year's Eve

Last night I enjoyed a calm, relaxing New Year's Eve.  I prefer it that way.  Five years ago, my New Year's Eve was anything but calm and relaxing.

Five years ago, we had one child.  James was one and Michelle was on the way, arriving in July.  James also had pneumonia and we spent five nights at St. Joseph's Health Centre.  Here's what I wrote five years ago today.

There was the oxygen mask because his oxygen levels were low, there was the intravenous to keep him hydrated and to give him antibiotics, there was the withdrawal of blood and chest x-rays to determine the extent of his pneumonia.  All of this in the pediatric emergency room and it was approximately 11:00 pm.  James was admitted for a minimum 48-72 hours, but there were no beds available.  The nurse blamed SARs, claiming new rules limited one child to each room, and the rooms that were previously used by four children were now holding one.  So, James and I were stuck in the ER for the night, but were given a stretcher-like cot to sleep on.
This cot was a little narrow for me, let alone a sick child in an oxygen mask and intravenous injected into his little arm.  I managed to squeeze myself against the bars of the cot so that I wasn't interfering with the flow of the intravenous but could still keep James' oxygen mask on his face in spite of his attempts to rip it off every few minutes.  At this point I glanced at the big digital clock on the wall and it read 11:51.
Nine minutes later, an announcement was placed over the intercom wishing all of us in the emergency room on New Year's Eve a Happy New Year.  I leaned in and gave James a kiss on the cheek whispering in his infected ear "Happy New Year Sweet Baby James.  2004 is going to be a great year."  And it will be.

Nothing drenches you in perspective like holding your sick, weak one-year old.  Your crazy hectic life zones out into a singular focus.  You just want your child to get better.

And he did get better.  Last night we watched the hockey game together before he hit the hay.  I'll take the calm, relaxing New Year's Eve every chance I get.

Happy New Year, everybody.

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