Saturday, April 2, 2011

5 Signs That Jason and I Have Hospital Pyschosis

During my first two weeks at the hospital I refused to leave. Period. Forgetting the existence of the outside world, I would depart briefly from Sam's bedside only to (a) eat, (b) use the bathroom, or (c) use the lactation room. That was pretty much it. As I stumbled to the lactation room at 2:00 am one quiet morning in the CICU, a kind night nurse took one look at my bloodshot eyes, my unwashed hair, and my wrinkled pajamas, and said, "Honey--why don't you go sleep in the sleeproom with your husband?"

Before I could blow her off the way that I blew everybody off who suggested that I needed more sleep, she told me about a phenomenon called "hospital psychosis," and warned me that I was in grave danger of falling ill to this mysterious mental ailment that creates delusions in patients and people who spend too much time in an intensive care unit. Apparently, the constant alarms, lights, and movement of nurses and doctors take their toll on the body's biorhythms.

I didn't take her too seriously at first, but as I watch the ability of my brain (and my husband's) slowly diminish, I'm starting to wonder if maybe she was right. Here are just a few reasons behind my suspicions that Jason and I may be developing hospital psychosis:

#1: Today, April 2nd, I asked my friends if it was Groundhog's Day. I honestly thought it was, and I wondered whether or not the little animal had seen his shadow.

#2: Yesterday, Jason asked me if I wanted something from the community fridge. I told him that I wanted a chocolate Muscle Milk. A few seconds later, he returned with a cup in his hand and said, "Here's your water." Then he frowned into the cup and said, "No, wait--this is what they used to heat your breastmilk in." To which I replied, "Gross. And I ordered a Muscle Milk, not water."

#3: As I was trying to rock Sam back to sleep around 5 am the other morning, I tried and tried to think of something to sing him. The only song--the only song--that I could think of was "Peaches" by the American Presidents. So I sang that. He seemed to like it just fine.

#4: I perceive my breast pump as an evil dictator who has successfully enslaved me.

#5: Jason and I got sandwiches from Jimmy Johns today, and when I remarked about the how big their pickles were, neither Jason nor I said, "That's what she said."

Remedies for this peculiar disease?

Love from our friends and family. When Maura Moritz brought me the incredibly generous gifts and cards from Arapahoe staff members, I actually burst into tears. I couldn't believe how kind people were. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We also have friends and family who are kind enough to drive out here almost every other day, bringing us healthy food, checking on us all the time, buying us butt paste (for Sam, not for us), paying for hotel rooms, and trekking out here just to go for a run with us. The nurses keep commenting on how popular Sam is, and each time, I think about how lucky we are.

This blog. The process of writing about our experience here makes it less surreal, and people's comments, as I mentioned before, are part of what keeps my head above water.

And of course, the little guy himself. Here are some pictures from today so that you can enjoy him as well. :)

This is Maura enjoying his company. They had a good conversation.

Here he is being burped by Jason for the first time. Not everyone can look cute with vomit dangling from his chin!

He looked pretty cozy in a chair this morning next to his new best friend, Sheepie. He stared lovingly at Sheepie for a full 30 minutes today.

And tonight, I'm off to sleep in a hotel room for five glorious, uninterrupted hours. Nighty night.


  1. Wolfie is so cute! I love the picture of him getting burped :)

  2. Jessica GreenlessApril 3, 2011 at 6:49 AM

    Hi Leclaires! Oh I loved this post. I laughed and cried (I usually do when I read your posts, by the way). As I was reading this I was thinking of something that I am sure you have all covered, but if you need it please let me know: Is there someone getting your mail and making sure your house is ok? Please let me know if you need anything along those lines.

    I hope you have a good day today! Great pics! Keep them coming!

    Thinking about you always,
    Jessica Greenless

  3. Sam is so cute!! And I'm super glad for all the support you guys are receiving, cause you definitely deserve it!!
    The #5 made me laugh and I hope you guys will have time to relax peacefully so the hospital psychosis will go away. xD
    The last picture is just the cutest thing and I'm glad Sam has a small friend to keep with him through his journey.
    Enjoy your sleep!! And thank you for continuing to update the blog, I love to hear updates about the whole journey!! :DD

  4. Oh boy, that does appear to be the case. I can totally relate to #'s 3 and 4 from our nicu days. Wolfie looks soooo adorable and comfy in that little seat..Prayers ~Lis

  5. We will still love you if you go crazy :)

  6. I can understand that nurse ... you are (rightfully) so absorbed in your care for Sam that all else fades away. But it would be so good for you to go outside, if only for an hour a day. Just some fresh air ... and (hopefully) some sun on your face. Just think about it ...

    I love Sam ... he is soooo cute!!

    Prayers for you all ♥

  7. Take care of yourselves! As school starts back..know that we are thinking of you.

  8. Not a moment goes by without thinking of the three of you.
    I love the stories, thank you for sharing.
    Good Night.
    Love, Walsweer

  9. kristin-- you just made me laugh hysterically! thank u, i needed that. unlike you, i suffer from a permanent psychosis, so diversions, such as humorous blog posts, are good!!! probably gonna see karen this week-- she's in town :-)))

  10. Oh, Kris. I love you. There's a 10% chance that this message will actually post. Yes, I am still technologically challenged. I wish I could be there with you guys. My plans for China/Hong Kong have changed a little bit because of grandma, but I'm still going to HK for the wedding and then will soon be able to see you! ICU psychosis is truly real. I took care of a couple kids who developed it...bizarre. I'm glad you're going to sleep. Nighty night. Love you!

  11. I would never want to appear as I am on expert on what you are going through- cause I can't even imagine. However, I was a therapist back in the day and these things do appear to be true for many people:
    Post traumatic stress syndrome: This was my specialty. I could go on all day about it. I'll spare you. However- it's somewhat preventable- the visitors and support you receive. If people slow down on coming around- call them. Ask them. Odds are most people like to help- just don't realize that bringing a cup of coffee and shooting the breeze is a highly effective treatment.
    Also- writing. Totally one of the best ways to take care of yourself before and after events like this. Any form of creative expression should do the trick. Glad you are doing it. Truly improves mental health.
    There's tons more I won't freak you out with- I love talking (and typing) about this stuff.
    Sorry to go all crazy therapist on you :)
    (the stranger from Oklahoma who reads your blog every day and leaves questionable comments.)

  12. P.S. I used to sing peaches to my oldest son whenever he was eating baby food peaches. Whenever Sam gets to that age and you feed him peaches it will totally get stuck in your head every time.

  13. i love you, kris!!! please don't get hospital psychosis. i'm in spain right now (on vacation), but had to check to see how sam and you guys were doing. i'm thinking of you and miss you tons!

  14. Dear Kris and Jason,

    I've been reading and thinking of you guys for weeks now, and only just now posting. Sam is so beautiful, and your journey incredible, and even though these words mean nothing, sit empty, I type them still.

    I am laughing at this latest post, which really, truly, speaks to the strength of the relationship that the three of you have developed in such a short time. The good-and-the-bad mixed into one. For you both, and for the budding literary scholar, a literary reference that moved me and made me think of you:

    Sweet are the uses of adversity,
    Which like the toad, ugly and venomous,
    Wears yet a precious jewel in his head;
    And this our life exempt from public haunt,
    Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
    Sermons in stones, and good in every thing.
    I would not change it.
    (As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 1)

    More soon. Sending as many vibes of strength and love as I can find....

  15. oops! Correction--not that these words "mean nothing" but that they struggle to mean, that I find myself struggling to put word to emotion, to fill them properly to reach you. Oy.

  16. For reasons that might be somewhat dubious, I started singing the "Titanic" song to the twins early on. They love its cheerful melody and still ask me to sing it, but now they know what the words mean and look at me strangely when I get to the "Husbands and wives, little children lost their lives" line.

    Anyhoo, the point is, whatever works - do it.
    xoxo Anna

  17. KK- I always thought "Baby Got Back" would be the first song you would sing to our little Wolfie. Love you all-


  18. i love you guys! well this blog is amazing: (excuse punctuation mistakes) it makes me laugh, it makes me cry, it makes me feel validated as a mom, and it let me know kare was in town! the song choice thing, though i am not nearly hip enough to know the song 'peaches' is totally relatable, as max loves the boss and bob dylan. number five was the funniest thing in the world, and though i am behind in 'the office' you know how i feel about comedy as of the best! harriette and i are all caught up on your blog, and like everyone, think you guys, and our favorite baby Sam, are the best, strongest, most amazing individuals and family in the world!
    ps allie and i think we have twin psychosis : )
    xoxo jules and harriette

  19. I heart all three of you!!!