A few nights ago, Annika asked me to explain where all her scars came from. Annika has a lot of scars. Besides the two gigantic incision scars (they usually follow the old scar lines for subsequent abdominal surgeries, but they had to make a brand new one for her last transplant because the old one was no longer usable), she has scars from JP drains and chest tubes and central lines and on and on. The jump from one scar to the next on her trunk is usually only a few inches.
Usually, I can identify the cause of the scar by its size, shape, and placement. So I was able to satisfy her curiosity pretty well. She wasn't disturbed by any of this, mind you, just curious.
One of her biggest scars was left by a JP drain placed after her first surgery, when she was just 6 weeks old. It's much larger than it really should be, and the skin there actually puckers in like a second belly button. Telling her about that scar, in particular, brought back some of my angrier memories.
When your child is diagnosed with a serious illness, you're mostly scared and there's just no room for anger. But sometimes later, looking back, the anger rushes in when you recognize all the stupid stuff that could have been done better. Like, for instance, not sending in a first-year resident who apparently had stitching skills approximately equal to my own to pull a JP-drain on my baby.
Having had that conversation right before bed, and then finishing off the final Harry Potter (I'm nothing if not timely) with its recurrent theme of sacrificing one's self to save those you love, it was not surprising that I dreamed that night that I went through all of Annika's many surgeries instead of her.
What was surprising, though, was how lighthearted my dream was. In fact, when I got home and unpacked all my stuff from the hospital, I discovered a strange ON-OFF switch tucked in with all my at-home medical supplies. When I flipped the switch, nothing happened. So I put it on the bathroom counter and forgot about it.
A few dream minutes later, and I was naked in the bathroom going through all my scars with Annika when Frankie flipped the switch. Both girls collapsed in giggles when a bright light suddenly shone from my rear.
It turns out that in dream surgeries, the surgeons have to install a light bulb in your abdomen so that they can see what they are doing in there. Evidently, they had left mine in.
Yes, so that light could shine out of my ass.
The next morning, I wasn't sure whether my mind was weirdly self-deprecating, or just plain weird. Then I went to wake up Annika and Frankie for school. Annika climbed down from the top bunk, gave me a hug, and said, "I love the smell of robots in the morning."
Then she went and brushed her teeth.
In the Weird-in-the-Morning Tournament: game, set, match to Annika.