The enduring question from our days here at the hospital is not any of the following:
Why does God allow suffering?
How do surgeons work on a heart the size of a walnut?
How do nurses operate with compassion and expertise 24 hours a day?
How do you comfort someone who has lost a child?
Why does it take so danged long for breast milk to ‘come in’?
Instead, it is:
Why can’t we ever get caps for our breast milk?
The hospital kindly provides us with sterile GraduFeed containers for the storage and transportation of this magical elixir. And they intend to provide caps for them, as well. Herein lies the strangeness.
They don’t have caps for them. Which is to say, caps exist, but they are mysteriously unavailable. We saw about three when we first got here. When these ran out, they started dispensing nipples as provisional cappage. Open up the sterile assembly, push the nipple back through the ring with the plastic wrapper, place it upside down on the top of the bottle, stretch the plastic wrapper (sterile side down) over the nipple, and screw the plastic ring over the whole works. Of course, I’ve nothing better to do, but a simple cap seems like it would cost about 90% less.
“They caps are on their way!,” we heard, again and again. Indeed, they came. We heard of a mythic, giant box chock full of caps. “They are not clean, though—need to go through the Autoclave first.” And so they did. About three bags of ten came a couple of days later, and then the supply dried up. Ever since, we only get nipples and promises to call Central Supply for those caps. “I don’t know why we can’t get any of those caps!”
But today, the sun shone and the sky opened up. Our nurse gave us a bag of twenty, all for our very own.
“If anyone asks, you didn’t get these from me,” she whispered.