Well…we have had an exciting few days here in Montreal. Jesse and Hannah came out for a visit because Hannah had two pd days at school. Benjamin had company, and their visit gave us a little break from the redundancy of hospital life. The kids were able to play together and chat. I had an opportunity to spend some time with Hannah.
Hannah and I decided to go out for dinner on Friday night while the boys stayed at the hospital …hoot, hoot! Hannah is adventurous with food, so going out with her is always fun. We decided to go to a place called O Noir because we’re both up for new experiences and I love a good metaphor (wait for it…).
O Noir is a restaurant where everything is served in absolute darkness. It is supposed to heighten your sense of taste, and allow the customer to experience what blindness is like. All of the serving staff are blind. When we got there, I assumed that my highly adaptive survival skills would kick in and I would be able to see after a while.
We arrived at the restaurant, and they asked us to leave everything: wallets, purses, phones, etc. in a locker. After I thought I did that, they noticed my Smart Watch and made me put that in too. Hannah and I were then seated in a cafe section of the restaurant. I thought…hmmm…this is pretty light..maybe they’ll turn out the lights in a bit. So…turns out that this was just the place we place our order. There were a variety of things to choose from on the menu, which consisted of two or three courses, or we could choose to eat the ‘mystery’ choice’ that wasn’t on the menu. In for a penny, in for a pound, so…we chose the ‘mystery choice’. I also chose to accompany my dinner with ‘mystery’ alcohol pairings. It seemed logical.
After we ordered, we were told to wait by a counter. Our blind waiter met us there, asked our table number and then asked me to put my hands on his shoulders. Hannah put her hands on my shoulders. We formed a sober conga line and shuffled this way to our table. I have NO IDEA how any place can be that dark – it was like they had a light sucker vacuum in there. I checked my highly adaptive skills 45 minutes in – I held my hand in front of my face and couldn’t even see an outline. Although my sense of sight was disabled, I was quickly able to adapt to my environment (somewhat). I quickly felt my way around the table and walls. I could hear our waiter’s quiet “attention” (he said it in French, so it sounded cooler) as he walked throughout the restaurant, which gave me a sense of the size of the room. I was able to feel my lace place mat with two same-sized forks on the left of my plate with my knife to the right of me. Directly above my knife was my water glass, and directly to the left of that was my wine glass. It turns out that the food was really delicious, and we had an amazing time. I don’t know if my sense of taste was heightened, but my sense of paranoia was after the first few times Hannah thrust her hand in my face to see if I screamed. (I hope it was Hannah). During our desert course Hannah admitted to me that she didn’t use a utensil the entire time. wtf…”What?!*” I replied (we were eating pudding at the time), “how did you butter your bun”. “With my hands” she stated. OMG!!! My child is a barbarian! I’ve been away from home for three weeks, and she has the manners of a troll!
Before we went, we were talking to some of the nurses who were saying that they would never go there – they were too paranoid. Afterwards I was thinking about the whole experience – blind trust – that’s my entire life (metaphor alert). As a medical parent, we are plopped into a world which is unfamiliar to us, and we need to quickly find ways to adapt and grasp our surroundings. Everything seems scary at first, but familiar too. We learn to trust those behind the scenes and hope they have our best interest in mind. We trust their professionalism and passion for those they serve. And…every once in a while when you least expect it, you get slapped in the face by a cold buttered hand.
Anyways, Ben is doing amazing. We love our people here. He has almost no pain and is working hard at school. We have added two more pounds of traction – which is still very light compared to where we have been before. We are seeing some movement in his spine, but patience is important now. Our weekdays go by quickly, but our weekends are endless. It is the opposite of the real world where you look forward to the weekend ahead. Ben told me the other day he was using this opportunity to see what it feels like to have two broken legs. “Oh”, I said, “so, how does it feel?” “Not bad”, he replied.
For Shriner’s parents, we have set up a FB page for Parents and Patients of Montreal Shriners, so please pop by and ask your questions or share your story.