Sunday, March 8, 2009


Yesterday during my parents’ visit to the hospital, we took Blaise for her first walk outside. Boston’s finally been getting a taste of spring (though we’re due for “wintry mix” tomorrow) and so it seemed like a perfect window of opportunity to introduce Blaise to the world beyond the walls of Children’s Hospital.

Needless to say, this isn’t your typical walk in the park. The first question was whether we could get a stroller for Blaise to ride in. She’s actually too small for a stroller right now, so once we found one we were going to have to bundle her in with some extra blankets, lay the seat flat, and snug her in with a 5-point harness. All this was made irrelevant by the absence of strollers, however…the first nice day in months means stroller demand is WAY up. We waited for a bassinet for a little while, and then asked if Erin could just carry her. This turned out to be alright with everybody (including Blaise) so off we went…Erin with the baby, me with the IV pole, and my Mum and Dad with all the cameras.

Now the IV pole…there’s a piece of equipment that’s screaming for a 21st century upgrade. It’s got six wheels on the bottom, so it’s nice and stable. The stability is further improved by the fact that at any given time about 4 of those wheels refuse to turn. If Blaise has “Short-gut Syndrome,” then the IV pole has “Shopping-cart Syndrome.” You can push the thing, but you’ve got to go very slowly and not be too concerned about what direction you want to move in. Since Erin’s got the baby and I’ve got the pole, it also means a lot of stopping and starting while you try and match pace. You know that industrial carpet they’ve got to soak up all the snow and rain from winter boots? Great absorption…in fact, the wheels of the pole were almost completely absorbed by a piece of that stuff just outside the elevators. My Dad & I eventually had to just lift the whole pole carefully over a few of the carpet edges and door runners along the way.

Still, we made it! We went down to the 1st floor of the hospital, to a small courtyard called the Prouty Garden. It’s a nice little space, with a small pathway that makes a loop around the lawn and a few patio tables and chairs for when the weather is nice. The sky had clouded over since we’d come in, but it was still about 50 degrees or so and there were lots of birds chirping, a nice breeze blowing through, and green grass to look at. What did Blaise think of all this? How did she react to her first visit to the outside world…her first breath of fresh air, the feel of wind on her face?

Yup. She slept through the whole thing. We kind of expected her to, honestly. She had been pretty excited about napping all day, so we thought the trip outside would either totally freak her out, or just be a nice change in setting while she slept. The former would have been a lot more difficult than the latter to say the least! Besides, whether she’s awake or not, it’s great that we could take her somewhere besides the playroom. And even though she was pretty sound asleep, maybe something snuck into her dreams for a bit (although we’re both convinced that she dreams exclusively of having more milk in her bottles).

After our brief adventure, Blaise settled in for a nice evening and said goodbye to her Grandma and Grandpa before they headed back to Pittsburgh. Today’s been similarly restful, to the point that we had to wait for her to get a little wound up so that her weekly blood draw didn’t take forever (crying makes the blood flow!). We described the series of events leading up to the current recession and that did the trick…instant tears and ~7cc of blood in no time. We followed up with blankets, a hug, and the assurance that limited nationalization and re-privatization of insolvent banks could indeed be a viable solution. She calmed right down.

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