We are off to Hospital City again in the morning.
Much of our pre-trip routine is unnecessary this time; we have not had enough time to collect enough toys to make our rounds, and we still have an ample supply of pins, so we don't need to visit The Pin Man.
Tried to wash the van, but first it rained, then it got dark, so that didn't work out so well. Did fill it with gas - after taking out a line of credit against the house...
The laundry is done, the ice chest is ready to fill with bottled water, Diet Coke (for me) and juice boxes. The suitcase is never really unpacked, and after I finish this entry, the laptop will be packed into its case and ready to go.
There isn't much left to do, except look forward.
And we do look forward to this trip, every time. I suppose it is hard to understand how it is that we can eagerly anticipate going to The Hospital, after all, it is the one place that (as parents) we pray our children will always avoid.
But when your child is born different, when you have never parented a child any other way, then I think it must become "normal". We have never lived in a world without a support team of doctors and nurses and technicians; we have never bought a pair of shoes for Twink without making sure that they will work with her braces, or her orthotic inserts, or her lift. We have never gone anywhere without a wheelchair for Twinkle; when she was younger, we were able to "hide" it in the guise of a stroller, but nowadays it is what it is.
We plan our days, our nights, our lives differently that most families. And that is never more apparent than right before one of these trips.
There is no rushing about, no frenzy of activity. This is routine for us; part of the everyday fabric of our lives. The suitcase remains "packed" with a set of toiletries all the time; we have "travel-sized" everything; we only have to decide what clothing we want to wear. All is calm, and Twinkle is excited; she looks forward to visiting The Hospital for a lot of reasons, not the least of which this time is that we are hoping that the new braces will help eliminate some of her pain.
I guess that is why I *can* look forward to these trips, also. It's because of the hope. Every time we go to this incredible place, we come home with hope that things will somehow get better. Even when the news is bad, our doctor keeps hope alive, by reminding us how far Twinkle has come since she was born, and that new procedures, new medicines, new forms of treatment for her conditions are being invented all the time.
Hope is all I need for this trip. (That, and a wheelbarrow full of cash, to pay for the gas...)