There are 4 of us in here; the silence is maddening. The hum of the air conditioning provides the sound track. I know it is just a routine procedure, but the expedited nature of it, in a place so far from home...it's all just a bit unnerving. Far from home- that's kind of funny. The truth is we have no home anymore to hold out as our final destination. Now is the time that a positive attitude can really spin a situation and frame it for others leading them to congratulate you instead of worry for you. I vacillate between positivity and unleashing tears and fears onto this page. The anesthesiologist was great to offer her a plan that spared being stuck for an IV but this meant going under without one by gas. I was flabbergasted that they gave the 8 year old the option instead of looking to me for guidance but decided hours ago to trust them so saw it through. They warned me it could happen but it was still disconcerting to see her limbs fight the gas with convulsions, and her eyes stayed open for an eerily long while…these are hard things for a mother to see. A cell phone rings, the silence is broken. That guy's ringer is so damn loud. He utters some Mandarin and leaves the room. Now we are just 3 in this temple of patience.
My husband has made it to Tokyo but starts the last leg of his journey back to us while she is in the OR so will be in flight during the procedure. Ugh how awful that must be for him, but to push the surgery a day back gets us in an unacceptable window for flying so our choices are pressurized and not ideal. I spent 10 of the last 20 minutes before the gurney journey in intense discussions with our insurance provider who hasn't been paid and consequently won't give the authorization for payment. Some things have slipped through the cracks during the transition. The positive-attitude me shrugs it off with the silliness of simple oversight but my evil twin wants to take the opportunity to project the ball of emotional energy I am managing inside directly at all those involved in missing the payments. Ah, the transition. Nothing like transition to create emotional fireballs needing to be contained in our bellies and not spewed out like dragons on the innocents. Our daughter isn't the only one facing the discarding of something that has long been a constant attachment in her life. My stomach leaps at both the possibilities and the challenges attached to the reality that starting 1 June we have no employment therefore no anchoring force mandating where to live, where to keep our things, where to send the kids to school. I knew this trip had the potential to be life-changing….and it has been…extreme makeover underway. Even our lightening struck, hurricane ravaged beach house is in the process of being sold. What an amazingly strange time it is. The Yahtzee dice yielded no promising patterns so they have been loaded into the shaker and turn 2 shake is underway. Some days the pressure mounts and it feels like turn 3 but my nerves in time swirl back to calm as I am reminded that the game is wide open and even Chance has yet to be filled. Swirling- a good word for my emotions these days. They are like rapids- gurgling, bubbling, glorious, dangerous, areas of crystal clear and purified mixed with depths that yield darkness and unknowing. I try to do nothing and observe all these feelings. My close contact with Buddhism here in the east, perhaps? As much as I love its mindfulness tools and ways it can guide living a good daily life, it is God that I pray to as I sit in this OR waiting room now with just 1 other.
Her adenoids have totally obstructed her airway and her entire respiratory system has hence struggled starting in Sydney and continuing with little relief. Hell, it was an issue long before that. To allow her to continue to struggle like this leaves her vulnerable to attack by other illness and me crazed about things like Dengue because I know her tenuous state. Therefore after lightening speed decisions born of an uncertain life ahead I am here in Singapore, my husband is on a plane, and she is under the knife….and I sit and wait, now all with no one near in this deafening silence.
Just a half hour later I am with her as she makes her way back from her drug-induced journey. She looks like a vampire with her eyes blood red and her skin pale white. Her motions are reminiscent of the reanimated creatures in Pet Semetary. I so appreciate all the unsolicited efforts to allow me to be with her as she goes under and comes back but these service levels really cross the line of normalcy in my base culture. In the countries I have lived they would force the issue of an IV for safety before putting her under and would not have called me to her side until she regained consciousness and proper coloring in skin and eyes. I gladly embrace the opportunity to be with here in these moments but they do deliver a little gut punch. Like all of us mothers I embrace the kick and file it in the box- the same box that holds the memory of forcing our eldest in my arms at just 1 month of age into the shape of a C so her spine could be tapped and holding each of our 3 down through the baby years absorbing their looks of confusion and pain that I would violate their trust and be party to holding them down facilitating the piercing of the vaccination needle. The tough love box I suppose it is called- hate that thing.
She remains strange for another 2 hours and I cold compress her, fan her, feed her as she slowly restores to normal. Once she does I close the tough love box with a prayer that I won't need to access its key for a long while. As the ordinary is reestablished she tells me the tale of how she forced her eyes to stay open and fought the gas to make sure they didn't mistake her for being asleep when she was really awake I reflect on her indominible spirit, and the experience. It was just yesterday that our eldest had her second nasal passage cauterized and our patient of the day had an allergy test and nasal scope. A CT scan, 2 consults, a review of 2 different approaches to surgery then a check into the hospital and surgery all within 24 hours for a non-emergency procedure. The efficiency in procedure and quality of care is remarkable. The hospital is new and the room is like a hotel complete with a large flat screen TV that babysat the other 2 kids during the procedure and our sentry during recovery. It had youtube, a ton of games, movies plus regular TV. As a matter of fact a request from the little teddy bear gowned patient for youtube episodes of Bewitched was the signal for me that I could close my adrenal factory, and the dreaded box.
For me, this is Singapore. The shining gem of quality amidst the Asian sea of mediocrity that surrounds and serves to contrast it. Nowhere else in Asia could I have received the same quality, efficiency and cleanliness. I may extend that to nowhere else in the world because certainly in the USA and UK it would have been weeks to get all the tests and opinions and surgery scheduled that Singapore banged out in a 24-hour period. Germany may have been able to deliver. In-Singapore-I-Trust has me wanting to extend our stay and get all those nagging healthcare issues resolved while we still have great insurance and are here in this part of the world….but India awaits..we fly just 3 days after her surgery. What a place to go post surgery to heal…let the diarrhea begin.
In the 2 weeks we were in this steamy place just 1 degree from the equator we frequented the civilization of Cold Stone to counter the intense heat, went to universal studios and had some beachy fun on Sentosa, spent some time at the science center, visited some intense garden structures eclipsed by a massive pool hanging 30 stories in the air atop a hotel, and perused the free-roaming monkey-rich zoo amidst an electrical storm.. but for the most part it was all about takin care of business. I get the sense that knowing the infrastructure is in place to take care of business and the unity of being amongst a cohort that shares the same standards for taking care of business is what Singapore is all about. The community has been planned- they don't even allow gum here, but even with such planning and neurotic edicts it maintains a tropical attitudinal chill- probably because proximity to the equator demands it. Nature has been beaten back and organized to accommodate side-by-side living but amazing architectural structures have taken its place to perform the aesthetic duties delivered by things such as mountains. This place is like a hammock cradling its populous with the promise to meets its needs- even if in unconventional ways. We walked down Orchard Road many times to hear birds chirping but saw none- I swear it is a recording they play to meet some sort of auditory need they have unearthed is necessary for wellness born of natural world connection. I get the feeling in the next 20 years robotic birds could take to the skies.
Thanks for keeping my baby safe Singapore, 1 ° N, 103° E.