Thursday, April 2, 2015

Magnus & the big chin thrust

I think it's generally best for me to not know much detail about how I'll feel about a particular challenge before I face it. That way I can take it as it comes and I seem to take each step in stride, or well, maybe some tears but mostly ... stride.

Amid beeping machines and movies in my 4-year-old's hospital bedroom, I just read Chrysanthemum to my 2-year-old. I love that story. The basic premise is that a little girl loves her name until kids at school pick on her for it. She thinks it's perfect but then the other kids pick on her for being named after a flower.

My 4-year-old is named Magnus. I'd always liked the name and have a cousin in Sweden named Magnus, who is soft-spoken and kind and I'd always liked him. I wanted a Swedish name and my husband liked Magnus so that's what we picked.

When he was a baby and people would ask about his name, their eyes would grow wide and they'd say, "well, that's a BIG name!"

It sounded strange to them and I could tell because he was a small child but with a big name. Then it turned out he really is this huge person. I don't mean physically; I mean, he's practically invincible.

Last week, at a program I teach with childcare, a bigger kid told Magnus that he didn't like him. I was indignant when he told me, "what a jerk!"
"He wasn't a jerk, mom. Don't call him that!"

Magnus went on to tell me how he'd asked the kid why he didn't like him and the kid had said because he's a little kid. But then said-kid had helped him beat a Mario game and by the end he thought the kid had changed his mind and liked him.

That was Magnus-the-great's response to a kid not liking him. "Oh really, why don't you like me?" And then he determined to change the kid's mind. No hurt feelings, no crying, and it had worked.

This same child post-anesthesia yesterday had to be kept breathing by being held by his mandible in something called a chin thrust while I held oxygen to his face. Trust me when I tell you this is no gentle hold. A nurse means business if she holds someone this way. She means BREATHE.

He spent the night crying and whining and having nightmares. He looked so vulnerable curled in his hospital bed. His body in a wheelchair was impossibly tiny. He's breathing now, oxygen saturation not where we want it so still in the hospital, but no one's forcing him to breath by holding open his airway and forcing life in. He's breathing but I'm still catching my breath. Maybe I should skip over that part and go straight on to the next thing, which happens to be a reading of my book.

I was just about to cancel when I saw myself in the newspaper.

I went and tried out my reading skills amid a friendly crowd at a bookstore that really fits me. It's quirky and dusty with hand-written signs. Two good friends walked up together just before the start of the reading. I had been so stressed with all the ups and downs of Magnus's surgery that I pretty much lost it in relief when I saw them.

I made it through the reading, largely not thinking about Magnus. But figuratively anyway, my friends held me by the chin and I breathed and read.