You know that scene in Jurassic Park when two of the main characters are in the resort kitchen, hiding from the Velociraptors? And he whispers to her that they need to stay very, VERY still. Well, I think that's the scene . . . it's been a while since I've actually watched it . . . but you get the point.
They are being hunted by predatorial beasts; they are overdosing on adrenaline . . . it's Fight-Or-Flight in it's purest sense. They don't know if they will survive . . . so they stay very, VERY still, hoping he won't see them (and then eventually eat them).
I relived that scene today.
Only, I wasn't the prey.
I was the Velociraptor.
My current favorite patient is Little H. He has the BIGGEST eyes you've ever seen. And when he smiles, they get even bigger. He is three, and I'm pretty sure doesn't own any clothes.
Several months ago, he fell into a pot of boiling water and degloved his entire upper extremity, from his armpit to the back of his hand. We're in the process of (finally) being able to do a series of skin grafts . . . but as we wait for his donor-sites to regrow enough skin for round-two, Little H. and I have been working on active shoulder and elbow and wrist movement.
Since I'm doing his daily dressing changes, we see one another twice a day. He won't speak to me in the mornings . . . I can't blame him.
And in the afternoons we go through this little ritual where I come to his bed to bring him to my office to 'play,' he cries for a bit, then takes his daddy's hand and the three of us walk through the ward toward the waiting matchbox cars, foam blocks and sidewalk-chalk.
We laugh and play and have a grand ole time . . . which, by the next day, he's somehow forgotten.
So, this afternoon, as I rounded the corner of the 'ICU' into the couple-dozen bed ward, I expected some tears and drama.
But his response was even better than I had predicted.
From about seven beds away, I saw Little H. sitting in the buff on top of his mattress. He caught a glimpse of me.
I froze and smiled at him.
His eyes rounded and grew.
His eyes got bigger.
I stood there smiling, waiting for the tears and wails.
But they never came.
Instead, the blood drained from his face.
In slow motion, he began to slide in his bed. With the grace of a stealthy ballerina, he moved from sitting Indian-style to laying on his back. Without taking his saucer eyes off of me, he reached down for the thin cotton cloth that was bunched at his feet. It swept over his body like a gentle tide, until he was hidden completely by its folds.
All the grown-ups in the room began to roar with laughter . . . his father and myself included.
As I came closer, I was certain he was hearing nothing but the pounding of his little heart between his bite-size ears. I could imagine his tiny voice whispering inside his head 'be very, VERY still! If you don't move, the monster won't know you're here!'