Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Christopher's Home!

Christopher was released from the hospital last night, and he's doing great!!!

I went to visit him in the ICU on Monday morning. He was asleep when I walked in the room, hugging one of his teddy bears (I think it might have been Beary White). He had a strip of hair shaved from the left side of his head, and a scar running from behind his ear to the top of his scalp. He also had a tube stuck into the back of his head, which was a bit disquieting. I can't even begin to imagine what that felt like.

Sunny was asleep on the couch, and Nick was sitting up in the chair when I got there. He told me Christopher was doing a lot better, that he'd been awake and watching Scooby Doo earlier. "He's still a little groggy from the medication, but he was cracking jokes with us earlier."

About that time, Christopher sat up sleepily, his eyes not even open, and let out a pathetic moan. Nick asked, "You waking up, kiddo?" Christopher let out another groan and laid back down. He sat up a few seconds later, looked at me brightly, and said, "Oh, hey Bubba!"

God, that kid is so amazing.

So we talked about the accident and what he could remember. We talked about his cool scar and how girls really dig a guy who looks dangerous. We talked about comic books ad nauseum. And when the doctor came in to remove the tube from his head, I kept him busy talking about Ice Age: The Meltdown which, he assures me, is way funnier than the first one.

I can't tell you what a relief it was to be laughing and joking with him. And when I told him Stephanie and I would swing by to see him the next day, he got really excited. Especially when I told him we'd bring him one of those big X-Men comics.

(I can't remember if I've mentioned this before or not, but Christopher is totally smitten with Stephanie. She calls him her "other boyfriend," and he totally eats it up.)

So Steph and I were waiting for him when he got home late yesterday afternoon. Steph gave him the promised comic book, plus something called a Chicken Chucker, which is a toy gun that shoots small, plastic chickens. Stephanie said, "You can have this on two conditions. One, you can't shoot the chickens at your brothers or your pets or anybody. And two, I don't want you falling out of any more swings and scaring me like that anymore."

Christopher assured us his days of tire swinging are over. However, he did remind us that he still has a trampoline in the backyard...

Sunny said she knew he was going to be fine the first time he rolled his eyes at her. He's been doing that for about a year now, and been getting in trouble for it. So when he did it in the hospital on Monday morning, she just laughed and said, "I thought we asked the doctor to take that eye-rolling part of his brain out while he was in there."

So it looks like everything is going to be fine. Christopher is already back to his fun, smartass self. He's excited that he gets to miss school for the rest of the week, but he's hoping his hair doesn't grow back TOO fast because he wants to show off his scar to his classmates.

Thanks to all of you who posted or e-mailed to let me know you were hoping/praying/thinking good thoughts for Christopher. It really meant a lot.

Monday, April 10, 2006

I got the call from my mom about an hour ago that Christopher was out of surgery and everything went fine. The poor kid has a shaved strip on his head, and a scar on his temple, but he's recovering nicely and they expect he'll be back to his old smart-ass self in no time.

I just got home, and suddenly I'm so exhausted I can barely hold my head up. Visiting hours start at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow (today), so I'll be heading back up to the hospital in a few hours.

Just a quick aside, so you'll know just how incredibly awesome my nephew is:

Back in November, I was hanging out with him in his playroom, and we were watching some Superman episodes on DVD. He accidentally called him "Pooperman," and that set the both of us to giggling. So we ran with it. Christopher decided that Pooperman's super powers would include "Poopervision," which basically involved him crapping from the eyes.

So I suggested the people could point up at him while he was flying overhead and say, "Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... EEEEEWWWWW!"

By this point, we were both laughing so hard we couldn't form coherent sentences. Finally, we got it under control, and Christopher suggested, "The main bad guy for Pooperman could be Dr. French Yes. Get it? Because in French, they say 'Oui oui!'"

Which of course set us both to laughing again.

By January, Christopher had decided he actually wanted to flesh this out into a movie and, since he knows I'm a writer of sorts, he asked me if I'd help him write the screenplay. I told him we could take a meeting and he could pitch all of his ideas to me.

When the time came for our meeting, he actually had only one new idea. He'd decided he wanted me to play a villain in the movie. I swear, the following is his pitch, verbatim.

"His name is Dr. Bubba, and he's just like you, only he's a bad guy. And there's this one scene where he's in his hideout watching The Passion of the Christ, and he looks up and says, 'Ewww, that is so not right.'"

Hell, it's already better than the Fantastic Four movie! Jesus, I love that kid!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Christopher, my 8-year-old nephew and namesake, is in the hospital right now.

He was playing on a tire swing earlier this afternoon, and the rope snapped and he hit his head on the driveway. Turns out he's got an epidural hematoma, which means he's got blood accumulating in the space between the skull and the menbrane that surrounds the brain. Or something like that. I'm not a goddamn brain surgeon, you understand.

He was pretty lucid when they took him to the hospital. He had some short term memory loss, but he was conscious and he recognized his mom and dad (Sunny and Nick). The side of his head was swollen up pretty bad, so they took him to the emergency room at Presbyterian.

Once he got to Presby, he stated complaining about the pain, so they gave him morphine and something else that they don't ordinarily give kids. They looked him over there, and decided to transport him to Children's Medical Center (across town) by ambulance for observation.

The doctor at Presby had said it looked pretty serious. The EMTs who rode in the ambulance with Christopher and Sunny said it didn't look like a big deal, and he'd probably be released that day. After all, he hadn't even thrown up (which is a major symptom of epidural hematomas).

So once they arrived at Children's Medical, they did a CT scan and realized it really was an epidural hematoma. By the time I got to the Emergency Room, poor Christopher was in a bad state. He was screaming about the pain, saying he couldn't stand it. He was fighting the doctors and nurses, and he kept trying to pull off his monitors and pull out his IV. And he was starting to vomit. A lot.

He finally settled down and fell asleep almost immediately. Even when the nurses came in to draw blood or check his pupils, he didn't wake up. He just kept snoring away. (Christopher snores like a goddamn old person. It's the funniest thing to hear it coming from that tiny little guy.)

The neurosurgeon showed up, and for the first time started talking about surgery. He said he wanted to observe Christopher a little bit longer, because he wasn't sure if the grogginess and slow reactions were from the head injury or the drugs he'd been given at Presbyterian.

(From what I can gather, they fucked up at Presbyterian. There are medications much more approriate for kids Christopher's age, and the ones they prescribed actually made his diagnosis a bit harder.)

At first, the neurosurgeon was pretty optimistic. He said he hadn't seen anything really alarming on the first CT scan, so he was thinking they'd just move Christopher out of ICU and into a regular room so they could observe him overnight. Then, tomorrow, they'd decide whether or not to operate.

My mom was at Sunny and Nick's house, watching the twins. Just as Sunny was calling her with the good news, the neurosurgeon came back in and said he was still concerned by Christopher's lack of response and couldn't really determine if it was from the drugs or the head injury. So they were going to keep him in the ICU overnight after all.

They took Christopher down to get another CT scan, and the poor guy didn't even wake up when they ran him through that huge machine. They moved him back down to ICU, and I left to take a turn watching the twins so my mom could go up to the hospital.

By the time I got to their house, they'd already called to let my mom know that the blood clot was twice as big in the second CT scan as the first, and they were going to operate tonight. My mom grabbed some clothes and things for Sunny and Nick, and took off for the hospital.

So now it's about 10:00 on Sunday night. I'm at my Sunny and Nick's house, manning the phone and babysitting. The twins are asleep in the other room. Adult Swim is playing on Cartoon Network in the living room, and I'm in here blogging because I'm going out of my fucking mind just sitting around doing nothing.

Nick just called. They took Christopher in for surgery about 10 minutes ago.

It's supposed to be a slam dunk. The neurosurgeon explained it to us while I was there. Said they'll make an incision, cut out a small circle of his skull, remove the clot and drain the blood to relieve the pressure, then plug the piece of skull back in place and sew him up. The surgeon made it sound like he'd be up and around the next day.

Christ, I hope he's right.