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Let’s Go Sunning

1 February 2013

With both of our children we had to stay longer in the hospital than expected. Andrew, as with Tyler, had jaundice. Jaundice is the yellowing of the skin caused by dead blood cells (that is according to my vast research and paraphrasing of Wikipedia) and, in our case, happened to both of our boys because they had a different blood type than Ashley. To counteract or cure the jaundice (please don’t use me for medical advice), the hospital rolled in a device that can only be described as a portable tanning light. I don’t remember what the machine was exactly called, but I noted that it was made in Germany and it was named something like Ultra UV 5000. I distinctly remember it having a ‘5000’ in the title because everything that is awesome has a few extra numbers in the title. For his time bathing in the blue light like a McDonald’s burger under the heat lamp, Tyler spent most of his resting hours (there were not too many of those) in his Plexiglas crib in only his diaper and mask (they give babies under the lamp a headband-like eye cover).

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There are plenty of more serious issues we could’ve had with the boys, but it was disappointing that we had to have them under the light rather than in our arms. That being said, Andrew wasn’t having any of this time in the plexiglass prison. Andrew would scream when we tried to lay him in the crib and no amount of sweet-talking from his mother was going to be of use. Ashley’s MacGyver instinct kicked in and she came up with a plan; wheel the heat lamp over, let Andrew lay on her chest, and hopefully get a little German-engineered tan herself.

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Get me a garden hose, rubber band, and some duct tape and we’ll have hands-free feeding

It was a good plan and the nurses didn’t disapprove (or they knew better than to say something to a hormone-fueled mommy). Our time in the hospital depended on numbers; the number which indicated at what level the jaundice was at. It was like watching the stock market, only here we cheered for low numbers and became frustrated with the high. Meals on trays would be munched on, blood was drawn, and channels were flipped on what was certainly the last non-flat screen TV in operation (Flat screens are cheap, TMH. Just sayin’). It was a painful wait because time in the hospital is a slow trickle of nurses and fluorescent light.

As I sat in the room with Tyler under the light, a song that felt appropriate to our situation came to mind and it came from the most unlikely of places; a game called Fallout 3.

I’m something of a digital gaming enthusiast, or at least that is the least geeky title I can think up. This particular game takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where a twisted retro version of the 1950s (think an idealized 1950s Leave It to Beaver with mushroom clouds). It sounds fun, doesn’t it? Well, this particular game uses period music from such greats as Perry Como and The Ink Spots and one song, Let’s Go Sunning, really stood out to me. I loved the ironic contrast of the song, with its cheery tune against the backdrop of a nuked wasteland. If you listen to it, you’ll see that it’s catchy. When I looked at Tyler, all I could think was that song and how happy and optimistic the tune rang. Let’s go sunning, get better, and go home was our marching call those days bathed in UV light.

We eventually made it home and the memory of our time tanning gave way to more immediate concerns. Like any memory, something small, like a song, can bring you right back. It’s a happy song to me, a reminder of the boys when they were new to the world. We idealize our memories at times, why not add a soundtrack?

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3 Comments
  1. When our first son was born, we ended up in a similar situation, they wanted to keep us in the hospital for days, but we kinda demanded they let us leave, so they gave us a take home version called a Billy Blanket. It”s like a glowing, flexible pad, you can low them on and swaddle them on. Meanwhile everyone we know our parents age says, “Oh whatever, when yall was yellow we just took ya’ll outside and you came out fine.”

  2. That’s what everyone told us as well. I’m sure it would have been fine to go home with a blanket, but I seem to remember there was a reason we still had to stay.

    • Ashley permalink

      His bili was too high for a bili blanket…they aren’t nearly as powerful as the lights!

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