MadMom and Mutt

Saturday, May 13, 2006

So Far, So Good

Well, I'm out in Pittsburgh visiting with my son, daughter-in-law and new grandboy. I did not commit matricide on the 6 (count 'em...six, that's one-two-three-four-five-SIX) hour drive out here, though it was touch and go at some points.

This is the view from my hotel balcony. (The guest room is now a nursery. What can I say? Obviously, their priorities are a little askew.) The hotel, a Quality Inn...very basic but serviceable and right across the street from Magee-Women's Hospital, one of the finest women's specialty hospitals in the country. Below is Magee on its lovely, tree-lined street. A few minutes ago, I watched a helicopter land at UPMC Children's Hospital a few blocks away. Some of the nation's best children's health care takes place there, including organ transplants for children. Kids are referred to P-bgh from all across the US for specialized care.

As long as I've been a nurse, 22 years and counting, it still gives me chills to be in the vicinity of great health care. I felt that way when I worked at Cooper, which was the first Level I Trauma Center in South Jersey and the perinatal referral center for that part of the state. During my tenure, we received transfers from every county in South Jersey for our specialized obstetric and neonatal care. That's saying something.

As much as I didn't like to admit it, I felt a swell of pride whenever I'd pull in to work and there would be a helicopter on the heliport on top of the parking garage. I was proud of the work we did at Cooper. I am proud today when we're able to save someone's life in my ED, which, I'm happy to say, happens with some regularity. It's not the adrenaline rush. Any nurse who's worked in high-pressure situations will tell you they move into "auto" mode at those times. The good ones function that way, anyway. The thrill is in having done the job well and achieving a good outcome as a result. The pleasure comes from helping someone who needed your help and doing so to the best of your ability. Please keep the adrenaline junkies out of my ER? Thank you!

Pittsburgh has got to be one of the most underrated, culturally rich little cities in the country. When one mentions Pittsburgh, it conjures images of steel mills and mullets and working-class people. But Pittsburgh offers some of the best university education in the world, world-class health care, a culture rich with people from all corners of the world, fabulous museums, restaurants, a wealth of history and a healthy sports mentality. Sports fervor means a lot if you've grown up in the Philadelphia area. The P-bgh fans seem to pull off their team love without the ugliness Philadelphia sports fans are saddled with (some of it deserved, much of it mere legend).

On to the important grandboy is simply gorgeous! He's over 10 pounds now and 22 inches long (that's two pounds and over two inches in a month). He's eating like a champ and Jen and Mike are doing great with him! They all seem to have gotten into a very nice routine, which I'm sure we screwed up by hanging around with him all day. He's just so damned content! After he's eaten, he likes nothing better than to scooch himself into a warm, little ball on your chest and drop off to la-la land. We tried to keep him awake a little more but he's still sleeping most of the time and is just so darned fun to snuggle! He smells so, well, so baby-ish and he makes the cutest little baby faces. He gets so comfy on you his little arms just hang limp down your sides like rags. I tell you, breastmilk must be better than heroin!

I'm looking forward to many weekend trips over the summer, especially after he starts spending more time awake and alert and after he starts smiling! One of the greatest feelings on earth is making a baby smile or laugh...Nirvana! Who needs drugs? Another couple of baby shots to keep you all 'fixed' until Mike manages to get some more photos up on his webpage.

Jen was able to put up with us interfering with their routine and futzing over her son like a couple of old hens with relative ease and grace. I hope she gets more used to me. I don't want to steal Brendan. (As for Mike, heck, I'm done with him...she can have 'im! ; ) I just want a share. I just want to play with Baby Brendan and teach him all sorts of bad things. (Oops...I probably shouldn't have put that out over the internet, huh?) Jen can have him most of the time as long as I get to catch frogs and blow bubbles and bake cookies and fly kites and make mud pies and generally get dirty with him! I wonder if I'll still be able to climb a small, low-limbed tree by the time Brendan's old enough...

There's a full moon tonight, hanging out with a few, lowlife clouds. I got to hold my grandbaby all evening while we watched
Ray and he (Brendan, not Ray) snuggles and snuffles and snorts and farts and makes silly, little baby faces. Jen and I seemed to do okay on our first 'real' visit. So far, so good. Now it's time for Nana to float off to Brendan's la-la land to dream of baby boys.

Life is good.

Happy Mother's Day, all!


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