Thursday, March 29, 2018

Missing Body Parts are No Joke.

Here is an opportunity lost to really mess with one of my kids. Oh the fun I could have had with this:

Many years ago my younger son had to have his gazillionth surgery.  This time around it was endoscopic surgery on his stomach.  His brother and I waited for what felt like a lifetime to hear how things were going.  Eventually, the surgeon came out to tell us we could visit my son in recovery.  So in we went, anxious to see Nico.

We turned the corner and there he lay, doped out of his mind, drooling and licking dried lips.  One on each side, we held his hands letting him know we're there and we love him.  Of course, we were also reassuring ourselves that he was still alive and still Nico.  Although slow moving and unfocused, I am relieved to say that he was indeed Nico, and he appeared to have all of his limbs and necessary parts attached.  No mistakenly amputated arms or legs- whew.

As we stood there he struggled mightily to make his mouth obey him and manage to mumble, "mo...mmm...mom....".

I lean closer. He's clearly distressed.  "What is it?  Are you feeling  sick?  Do you need water?"

"Mom... Mom... I can't  find it." He's really worried about "it." He looks like he might cry.  I exchange puzzled glances with his brother.

"Find what?"  I confess I was somewhere between alarmed and amused.  What could he possibly be looking for after a stomach surgery?  Why is he so distressed? His hand is wandering around under his blanket as if disconnected from its human.  Searching.

"Moommmm.... they.... they took it."

"Took what?" I ask.

 "I can't.... I can't find my belly button. It's gone."

"What?" I'm not sure about his brother, but now I'm beginning to smirk and have to work to suppress the giggling.  His brother says with a little laughter in his voice, "They took your belly button?!"

Younger son is not amused.  This is serious business.  In fact, his distress is increasing.  His hand is becoming more frantic.  "Would you like me to check?" I ask, "I'm pretty sure it's still there."

His relief is almost palpable.  His hand stops its restless searching.  "Yeesss," he breathes as if with his last breath of life.

Carefully, I lift the blankets to see that his belly button, one of the entry points for the surgery, has been packed with gauze and covered with a smooth clear bandage.  Now I am laughing at this point because I could see how, by the feel of a hand (and with the assistance of some good drugs), it really would feel as if there were just a smooth continuation from chest to crotch and no belly button.

Even though I told him he was fine, I had to reassure him several more times.  He wasn't satisfied his belly button still existed until he was able to sit up and look for himself.  Even at that he wanted to take the bandages off and check.  I can only imagine what it must feel like to wake up and think your belly button has been stolen.


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