Saturday, 30 November 2013

I went to visit a

cousin in hospital yesterday. She has had "female" surgery in what used to be the Children's Hospital and is now the "Women's and Children's Hospital".
It is a hospital I am familiar with. When I was teaching in a school for children with profound physical and intellectual disabilities I went in and out frequently because there would, all too often, be one of the school's children in there. A familiar face could help the parents as much as the child.
Visiting hours are flexible if you are immediate family. The rest of us are asked to wait until afternoon.
As I have some understanding of how hospitals work I am happy to adhere to such things. I also know that not everyone is. I also checked at the nurses' station to see that it was convenient to continue on to the room my cousin is sharing.
Yes, the other person had gone home this morning and nothing was going on. Oh, you're her cousin? Did you ride all the way in? (I have my bike helmet dangling.) I need to speak to her anyway so I'll show you where to go.
We get almost as far as the door and someone says, "Hello Cat."
It is a doctor I know. She waves to me as she passes in the other direction.
"Oh, she's so nice," the nurse tells me. Yes, she is.
I duly visit my cousin who is delighted to see me. She is having a second unit of blood and still does not have much energy but insists that she will "probably go home tomorrow". She is not one for lying around and the next few weeks are going to be a test of her patience.
I leave early thinking I need to give myself time to negotiate the building works at the railway station in the city. It is as well I do.
I unlock the bike and then see a woman coming towards me. She is carrying a tiny baby and trying to half carry, half pull a toddler along as well. She is in tears and the toddler is crying. The baby is ominously quiet and still.
"Emergency?" she asks me. 
"No, this is the main entrance. Emergency is around the corner. Come on. I'll show you. It will be faster that way."
I grab the small boy and put him in the big basket at the back.
I pedal. She runs now. I actually ride in through the sliding doors
and say as calmly as I can to the rear of a nurse hurrying ahead of us,
"Code Blue."
It is the term for a medical emergency within the hospital. I don't need to say "infant" because that is obvious as soon as she turns to look. Fortunately the area is, for once, almost empty.
The nurse reverses her steps and takes the baby. The mother swings the small boy out of the basket. The look on her face says everything that needs to be said. It is all done with a minimum of fuss.

I pedalled off as fast as I safely could. I had done all I could. There was no need to stay. I even managed to catch the train with the help of a friendly workman who moved the builder's fence so I could pedal through to the entrance I needed to reach.
I sat on the train feeling a little shaken. I would never have put a small child I did not know into the rear basket and pedalled off in any other circumstances. It made me realise, yet again, that there can be different rules for different situations.
I would just like to know the baby was going to be all right - and I never will.  

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