We've been here for 10 days so far and have another 10 to go (based on surgery schedule). We've been blessed with a private room and mostly friendly nursing staff. But what has made this stay feel like home away from home is in the details: knowing now where my son's supplies go vs. where our supplies go; knowing which blankets are the warmest and which fit best on the pull-out parents' bed; knowing which batch of balloons are from whom and which get-well cards are our favorites. This place feels like our apartment in the city while we are away from our home in the suburbs.
But speaking about that home in the burbs, I've come to see that house completely differently after 15 years of living there. It's my nature to grow tired of places...very quickly. Since I can't move every year to satisfy my boredom, I instead end up throwing myself into some home renovation project, even if it's one as small as painting the bathroom or simply rearranging the family room furniture. Still, I had grown tired of my house...until ten days ago.
My husband and I alternate nights here at the hospital, and each time I return home, I love it. It's as if I've just moved into this new place and still can't believe I'm so lucky to be in this house. For better or for worse, my son's hospitalization has taught me to love my home again and to cherish all the intangible details it carries within its walls. What once bored me now comforts me.
On some level, I'm afraid I'll come to feel that way about the hospital room. My son has a second surgery to go this summer as a follow up to the upcoming one, and I'm afraid my family will become "institutionalized" and find comfort in walking the halls to and from our car, overnight bag slung over one shoulder.
I know, at the beginning of this post, I called this place my home away from home, but I am determined NOT to let that happen. I am determined to force my creature comforts to remain in the burbs, where I promise to fight my boredom the next time it hits me (probably before the New Year). And I will know that not only did this hospital provide the cure for my son's illness but also the reminder that there's no place like home.