Friday, October 19, 2007

Arriving at the Hospital

We left for Grand Rapids early Tuesday morning with Josh and Elayna in tow. Mom and Dad stayed behind to pack up their things and do some housework for me, and brought Emmy down with them later in the day. We arrived at the hospital and did our registration and pre-op testing out of an enormous playroom. They wheeled in a portable computer and asked questions while we sat and watched Joshua play. They came and put a numbing agent in the form of a cream on both of his arms and taped it in place, then sent him back off to play. 20 min. later they came and took us to a separate room where he never felt them draw blood! Then it was back to the play room again. For each test performed it was the same, easy, smooth, and as pain-free as possible. And nothing scary or painful was ever done in the playroom. Their philosophy is to have "safe" areas, and the playroom is one of those.
After his testing, we met with the surgeon, Dr. Neal Hillman, and the anesthesiologist. During that meeting, we learned that because Joshua's narrowing of the aorta (coarctation) affected not only his descending aorta but also the arch where the corotid arteries branch off, that it wasn't probable that they would be able to fully repair all that needed correcting through an under-arm surgery, which was the plan, as far as we knew, up until that point. What this meant to us was that instead of a soft-tissue surgery not requiring the heart/lung machine, we were suddenly faced with a much more invasive and complicated surgery that would require separating his sternum and putting him on the machine. It was an incredibly hard moment and I really wanted to run screaming from the room clutching my poor little Toad to me. But I couldn't do that, I had to be calm and not lose my grip on reality.
Later we checked in to the Renucci Hospitality House, and tried to settle in for the night, played some games, tried to watch some TV, and gave Joshua a bath. There were moments of disbelief, terror, many silent tears as the children slept and many prayers that night. Sept. 25, 2007.

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