Monday, March 3, 2008


So I want to help you appreciate "durst." You'll have to come with me into the moment, about 3 or 4 months ago.

Okay, we're in the surgical center where the rooster is about to have eye surgery less than a year after having surgery for tonsils, adenoids and tubes that basically traumatized all of us and did not provide him much (if any?) relief from his medical and sleep issues. We're worried. We're second guessing the decision to do this. We're exhausted. It's 6:30 in the morning. Peaches is a cranky toddler upset at the early wakeup call. Even though I can HEAR just fine, I find it somehow nearly impossible to listen to anything except the scratchy static of fear in my head.

I keep reminding ever nurse, doctor, hospital worker I can that our rooster has a lot of respiratory issues -- he needs special care while he's "under." I keep smiling at him and doing an impersonation of a calm, sure mommy. I am not breathing enough. Time is scrambled.

They give the rooster "happy juice" and oh how much I would like my own cup. (How very gladly would I have the whole shebang in his stead.) A beautiful doctor, Dr. R, with whom I've spoken on the phone several times comes to introduce himself. He is the anesthesiologist, and I've been told he's one of the three best in the country, but that seems like such an odd thing to calculate, and makes me question the whereabouts of the other two, and if maybe they could come along, too. The eye surgeon himself wrote the book on this procedure, and I'm thrilled to know it, but I believe that Dr. R holds the rooster's safety really in his hands. I wish I had baked something for him. I tell him we hear he's the best, that we are counting on this. He hears what I'm not saying as clearly as what I am, "You better take care of my baby. You must treat him as your own son." He finds ways to tell us that he will with his soulful smile and a voice like a grandma's quilt. In front of him, I weep just a bit, but not so much that the rooster sees it. I must guard the rooster and keep him confident. I must impress importance upon his doctors.

The juice kicks in! I am holding the rooster, because he is drunk and slurring now. When did he get so heavy? Dr. R says it's time to go, and he lifts the rooster from my arms. I am not in a good place.

"Durst!" Comic relief, courtesy of the rooster! He cracks himself up, leans toward Dr. R to practically nose kiss. "DURST!" The doctor laughs. "Durst?" he asks. The rooster cackles, "Dursty, dursty dursty, dursty durst!" Drunk. And they are gone, for one very long hour.

I didn't expect the rooster to remember surgery, but he had nightmares for a while afterward, and once said to me, "Dr. W sticks a needle in my eye mommy!" That was hard. Guilt is my nightmare. But clearly the rooster remembered the happy juice, too, and he uses "Durst" all the time. None of us know what it means to him, exactly, but his sister picked it up and uses it sometimes too.

Our rooster has a lot of mystery about him, and I recognize that I'm being told now that much of this mystery lies in a place of struggle, difference, dysfunction. Okay. And I know his language separates him from us in a way that makes me feel like's he's trapped where I can't always access. But whatever his struggles, I see durst as not such a bad coping mechanism, really.

Couldn't we all use some happy juice and a durst now and then?

1 comment:

Niksmom said...

This is a sweet story. Durst and some happy juice...sure could have used those yeterday!