"Has your son ever been a patient at Hopkins before?" she asked. I could hear her fingers tip-tapping on the keyboard.
"Well, yes, actually," I replied, "He was in the NICU at Bayview when he was first born."
She asked for his birthday. I heard more tapping. "You're Nancy, right?"
"Yes," I said. "He might be under--"
She cut me off, "We don't have Joel, just BabyBoy Campbell."
I sighed, "That's him."
And just like that, I felt angry and powerless all over again.
A year and a half ago, when I walked into the NICU, two days postpartum, my face puffy and my stomach a saggy shell of pregnancy, I asked the nurses, "Do you know his name? He has a name. It's Joel." They quickly put his name on his isolette, but the medical records always listed him as "Baby Boy."
The nurses called him Baby Boy when talking to each other. I know this was for clarity's sake, to ensure that he got the right doses, the proper documentation. There could be no room for confusion. The little tag around his tiny ankle said, "BabyBoy Campbell."
When we left a week later, we took home Joel, and left the specter of BabyBoy Campbell behind, along with the ghostly lullaby of the heart-rate monitors and the tangled cords of the IVs.
Hearing BabyBoy Campbell come out from the shadows caused me to take a deep breath. I know that a hydrocele is a routine, piece-of-cake surgery, and I'm lucky-damned lucky- to have a world-class hospital like Hopkins in my backyard.
But, still. I thought we were done with BabyBoy Campbell.
I decided to do an exorcism. I asked for the number of medical records. I made the call. It took all of three minutes, but digital BabyBoy was gone with a keystroke.
And now, when we meet the pediatric urologist (who knew such a thing existed?), he will meet Joel. He will see a gorgeous little boy with a very easy, very fixable problem, and he will take care of it.
He will never meet BabyBoy, who spent the fourth day of his life on a respirator, his lung collapsed. He won't know the infant who fought for my milk, thrashing in the isolette, a scrapper from the start.
He will only know Joel, the kid with the big heart and big smile (almost as big as his impressively large left scrotum.)
And I, his mother, will not ever--ever---allow his name to be silenced again.