After leaving Peter at the hospital, I went home to catch a few hours of sleep before I had to get up at 3:30 am and rouse the kids to take them to the San Francisco airport. Neil had an early flight to catch to visit his grandparents on the East Coast, and he was flying alone, so I was hoping to see him as far as security before I had to kiss him good-bye and hope all goes well. As it turns out, Delta had him designated as an unaccompanied minor with some things that put even this paranoid mom at ease. I could — and indeed, was required to — take him through security and up to his gate, where I needed to be until the plane took off. Meanwhile, a gate agent would escort him on to the plane before pre-boarding and make him known to the flight crew. At his layover in Detroit, another gate agent would escort him to an area specifically for unaccompanied minors, and he’d be escorted from there on to his next connecting flight. And at his destination, his grandmother would have to sign for him. Neil’s a responsible guy for 14, but there was no worries about him getting lost or missing a connection with this method.
I was happy to see him get on his plane and to see the plane depart, but it meant I was at the airport until 7, and it took another hour to get home. I had just enough time to do some work, grab breakfast, and take a shower, until Kelly and I had to go back to the office, where Joe and I wanted to test if we could fit everything we needed to exhibit at Comic Con this year into his car and Peter’s. Peter had forbidden me to do stuff about Comic Con because it makes me psycho, but this had to be done. We discovered some broken things, and it was a tight fit, but at least we knew what the situation was before Joe goes on his vacation in Malaysia.
I wanted to take a nap, but before I did, I checked in with Peter. Despite its luxury trappings, his glamorous room had the room service from hell. They’d walk in and prod and poke him every few hours, making sleep impossible, as is the rule at all hospitals. As we were talking, he found out just then that he was scheduled to get sliced at 3 pm, and I promised to get there at 2:30. But first, I decided I had to have a late lunch, because I had no idea how long surgery would take. And I was hoping I could spring Peter from that joint afterwards.
We arrived barely in time to take his electronics into safekeeping. On the journey to the operating room, we ran, almost literally, into another patient, whose assistant joked about how ritzy the rooms in Peter’s section of the hospital are. The nurse asked me if I wanted to talk to Peter’s anesthesiologist, but I said I’d just ask him not to dope Peter up too much, which would contradict Peter’s own wishes which were to be insensate and unconscious.
Kelly and I lounged in the empty surgery waiting room, and the ennui of hospital waiting rooms I know all too well began. I got a call from Pennsylvania letting me know Neil had arrived safely. Neil hadn’t eaten all day, but had been happy with the potato chip selection in Delta’s child care area. His grandparents were less pleased, and took him to eat in a diner.
You won’t believe how many people will wander past a hospital waiting room as you eagerly await news. I saw the emergency room doctor who’d diagnosed Peter, greeted him and thanked him for his work. I saw the orderly who hadn’t raced Peter’s gurney through the halls last night. I saw a guy in a dark baseball cap and jeans open the door of an empty room in the waiting area, talk to someone who wasn’t there, and then cheerily leave. He wandered past again, greeting someone down the hall who also wasn’t there. Then a security guard asked me if I’d seen someone with a dark baseball cap and jeans talking to himself, because he was looking for him.
Around 5 pm, the surgeon who took out Peter’s gallbladder told me it had gone well, though that had been a HUGE stone. He told me Peter was in recovery, but that he’d be out in about an hour. However, he had to stay in the hospital for another night.
An hour passed, and we saw no Peter being wheeled past. Another hour passed, and still no Peter. My mind spun with my distrust of anesthesia. I know anesthesiologists love giving out drugs; what did those drug mavens do? I asked the security guard if he would find out if Peter was still in recovery. He called admissions, who told him Peter was back in his hospital room.
Kelly and I rushed back to Peter’s room, in which he wasn’t. But I figured he’d eventually come back there, and there were a lot less people wandering past there. So Kelly and I waited, and waited some more. Kelly drew on the whiteboard. I tried to sleep in the armchair. I asked a nurse, who said he was still in recovery. Kelly guessed her daddy was just sleeping in extra hard, like he does on weekend mornings. Finally, just as visiting hours were coming to a close and we would have to leave, Peter returned! Kelly made sure he had another teddy. I made sure he had his electronic toys back. He asked Kelly if she would draw him a comic book about all this, and she happily agreed.
Tomorrow he gets his Father’s Day presents, and if all is well, he gets to come home.