Good afternoon everyone,

I knew something was up this morning when Mom and Dad arrived this at the NNICU on a work day – then as I starting waking up, and the fogginess of the night’s sleep began lifting I remembered “Road Trip”! There was much excitement around the ward as it was confirmed that the ambulance was en route to me to take me to Unitas in Pretoria.

The ever punctual ambulance arrived at 9:00, and there was a mini reunion as I was reunited with my friend Carel. I looked for his partner Ryan, but it was his day off. Although this was sad for me, I was also happy at the same time to meet a new paramedic, Shaun. As per his colleagues and peers, Shaun was very diligent with checking my stats and meticulously reading over my charts and notes before the transfer would commence. I thought it really funny how he was hooked on always washing and wiping his hands with disinfectant. He is actually correct in doing this.

After the usual move from my crib onto the gurney, there were hugs and greetings all-round the ward, with everyone wishing me lots of luck. Even Granny was there to see me off. We trooped down all the long corridors to the emergency entrance / exit where my ambulance was waiting. Before long we were underway. Fortunately the motion of the ambulance moving put me to sleep. Just as well, as I hadn’t eaten since 6:00 this morning as they all think it a good idea to starve me before going on my trip. I really don’t understand this rationale, as I’ve always understood people to be well nourished before embarking on a journey.

What felt like a five minute snooze was actually a 40 minute trip to Pretoria. According to Dad we were about two blocks away from Unitas when I awoke. As usual he sat on a seat in the corner of the ambulance, keeping a hawk eye over me. Every now and then he’d show a thumbs-up out the back window of the ambulance to Mom following behind.

Pretty soon the ambulance parked in the emergency bay and I was taken through the casualty ward up to the paediatric ICU. Another reunion ensued as I meet my caregivers at PICU that I had gotten to know during my last trip to Unitas. What was sad, but at the same time nice, was to see some of my inmates were still in PICU since my last visit. After another ½ an hour or so later I was settled in a cot in the ward. It was already noon by now, and I couldn’t believe how quickly the morning has slipped by. Soon after settling down my blood was taken for pathology tests and swabs were lifted to confirm that I was not patient-zero of some tropical disease – this is standard procedure, by the way, given the high risk of infection in babies. I managed to throw quite a tantrum during the blood drawing exercise, and had three nurses in attendance and my parents. A new record for me.

Mom and Dad managed to settle me down nicely and then they went off in search of a late lunch. Pretty cruel if you ask them, that they were discussing having lunch over my cot, and I’d still not eaten since six in the morning. I hauled out my little black book and made a note of the date and time of the incident, should I ever need to extort my folks. At about two o’clock Mom and Dad came back, all cheery, with full tummies of lunch and cake. And finally I was fed.

I’d just finished eating, when the pathology lab called to say the blood that was taken earlier did not yield the correct results, as it had clotted by the time the lab tests had started. Needless to say I was delighted by this news, and pretty soon two nurses (vampires) from the pathology labs arrived, brandishing needles and test tubes. Blood was taken a second time; I tried to protest, using the argument that I was really little and that I didn’t have all that much blood to give! The vampires wouldn’t hear of it, and before long my arm was grabbed and extended, as one of the vampires gripped my arm, acting as a tourniquet, while the other extracted, with a long needle, my blood. Dad held and tried to sooth me, but I continued to protest, to no avail. As my ordeal ended I figured that it would be a whole let easier if the vampires more closely resembled the vampire nymphs in films.

To settle me, Mom arranged to bath me. It was the first time that my Mommy got the opportunity to bath me, as Dad bathed me last the day I was born. At Morningside Medi-Clinic I get bathed by the night shift, between two and five in the morning, and Mom and Dad have just never managed to make it at that time. After being bathed I settled down nicely and had a snooze. Unfortunately this was short lived as I awoke struggling with mucus and phlegm in my throat. After being suctioned I settled again; and although I detest being suctioned, it does make me feel somewhat better.

The good news is that all the final blood tests and assessments reveal that all is a go for tomorrow’s procedure. So the next time I’ll be writing to you will be after my little sojourn to the operating theatre, and with brand new shinny platinum coils in my head. During the that time I must please implore upon you to keep me in your thoughts and prayers, and muster up hosts of angels, archangels and guardians to watch over me and guide my medical team in their actions.



Figure 1 My little nest in the ambulance

Figure 2 Mom stalking the ambulance

Figure 3 Shaun attending to me in the back of the ambulance

Figure 4 Mom settling me down

Figure 5 Being bathed by my Mommy

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2 Comments on At Unitas for a Third Time

  1. Oliver Lederer says:

    Hey Jarrod
    We’re holding thumbs for you. By the way, the term “holding thumbs” brought back some funny memories when I first used that phrase here in the US. My friend Dan had a funny visual of people holding each other’s thumbs. We eventually figured out that Americans keep their fingers crossed while South Africans hold thumbs. Anyway, know that people around the world are crossing fingers or holding thumbs and praying all the time.

    Best wishes
    Oliver, Gillian, Ryan and Kirsten

  2. Tanya says:

    Hey Cuddlebunny!
    I’m so happy your mommy had an opportunity to bath you for the first time. Mom’s touch is always so soothing (especially after the naughty vampires!).

    We are praying for you and know that your guardian angels are holding you in the palm of their hands during the procedure. They will be with you until you wake up so that mommy and daddy can take over again. (Don’t worry Cuddlebunny they will always be there of all three of you)

    Lynn and Norwin, it is wonderful to experience the love you have for Jarrod. May today’s gift be just the beginning of many more to come.

    All our love, blessings and prayers
    Tanya, Anthony and Morgan

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