Monday, June 8, 2009


I'm a protestant Christian and therefore do not believe in purgatory. In fact, I don't even know the true definition of purgatory and am too lazy to look it up. I'm going to be COMPLETELY sacreligious and tell you what I imagine it to be like: some place where you are waiting, uncomfortably, though not in physical pain, to be admitted into heaven.

I imagine purgatory is different for different people. For my husband, purgatory would probably be some place where he was forced to listen to Enya while sorting cherries. For me, it would either be having to suffer through a lifetime of dinners with my four children, or the following:

Wandering the floors of a hospital with Benjamin, the twins, and a broken stroller. On Wednesday, I had a surreal experience at Rochester General. Ella had an appointment with her urologist. We arrived ON TIME. I had Ben and Daniel in tow, as well. I put the twins in the double stroller which, I should tell you, has a broken wheel. The wheel is no longer attached, per se, to the stroller. It can, however, be briefly maneuvered into place where it will stay for very short periods of time until it pops off. Then I have to stop the stroller, give it a good kick back into place, and continue. In the meantime, every person I pass feels the need to tell me my wheel is about to fall off. I feel like a boob telling them, "I know... I'm just making due because I'd rather push a broken stroller through the hospital than let my toddlers walk. They're BAD walkers." By "bad" I mean they tend to walk in circles so that it feels like I have two giggling satellites orbitting me. This is pretty much the way my life is like at home, too. Giggling, orbitting, drooling satellites.

We made it to the doctor's office where we were informed that we were supposed to be at radiology. I missed this somehow. It was probably my fault, but I'm blaming them. I did NOT receive the memo.

Radiology is a horrible place. The last time Ella had her kidneys and bladder x-rayed, they literally stuck her in a tube where she could not move so that they could get accurate pictures. She was only a few weeks old at the time, and I could not believe I was actually ALLOWING some person to stick the baby girl I had so longed for in a plastic tube.

From Ella's doctor's office, radiology happens to be on the complete opposite end of the hospital. To give you some perspective, Rochester General has two separate parking garages: one next to the building we were at, and one next to radiology. I dutifully pushed my sad stroller back into the elevator we had just arrived on. The twins munched on pretzels as Ben pushed the emergency button. A voice came suddenly from above (this happens a lot in purgatory) and I quickly yelled, "my kid did it! It was an accident! Everything's good here... how are you?"

Except for stopping several times to fix the stroller and taking a brief respite at the hospital oasis (i.e. the water fountain), our journey was fairly uneventful. We arrived outside radiology where a large man with a shaved head, a tattoo of a fire-breathing dragon, and a Yankee's baseball jersey sat on a bench packing his cigarettes. Ben looked at him, narrowed his eyes and said, "the Yankees are stupid." At that moment, the wheel to the stroller popped off and landed at the man's feet. He stared at me. "I'm so sorry," I whispered. I grabbed the wheel and then Ben and somehow we all made it through the door and into the waiting room without getting shot.

Now I would have procured babysitting for the boys if I had realized I was going to have to hold my daughter down while people I have never met before stuck a catheter into her urethra. Really. Hearing Ella scream like she's dying while she looks at me plaintively is not a picnic. Ben and Daniel sat outside the room with the nicest nurse in the world drawing pictures of Jedis and wavy lines, respectively.

After the x-rays were taken, we were supposed to head back to the urologist's office to discuss the results. I felt we could discuss them just fine on the phone and took my kids and my broken stroller and headed for the parking garage... on the other side of the hospital. On our way out a woman in hospital garb chased after us... "Miss! Miss!" I stopped and turned around. "Your wheel is about to fall off!"


Joyce said...

Star Wars reference!

btobey said...

We liked the video! So was that the stroller you got used? Too bad it wasn't such a good deal after all! :(

MGBR said...

1) I, too, have experienced the catheter-in-child part of your "purgatory"--but not with additional children in tow.

2) "The Yankees are stupid" part made me laugh out loud.

Holly said...

Nope, I bought my new stroller Sat several days after I trucked through RGH with my old one. My new stroller kicks butt.

Debby said...

I can soo relate to this. We make the trips to Boston and I have had more experiences than I want to remember. There is nothing better than going through the lobby of a hospital and having a 6 yr old pull the temper tantrum of a lifetime and it all echoes. Everyone (of course this is a Childrens Hospital) stops and looks at you.

I have had to tell myself just laugh you will survive this! Excellent writing Holly, I love it.