Friday, October 19, 2007
September 26, 2007
Despite my reluctance the morning came. I woke up to see Colby laying in the big bed with Josh and Emmy kind of strewn around him. The surgery was early and we just had time enough to get dressed and rush off - no time to dwell or think about where we were going and what we were doing. Even if we did, there just was no room to be upset, Josh needed us to be strong. We were in this waiting room for a while while they did some paperwork and got Joshua his wrist band and hospital gown. We waited there and sang songs and got some "Toad Toes" as the minutes slowly dragged by. The nurse finally came in and gave Josh his dose of "relaxing" meds, then immediately moved us up to the waiting room where families of children having surgeries that day watched their children play and waited for the moment to come when they'd send their babies off to the ORs. They warned me that Josh would seem hyper at first, then would suddenly crash and become unable to keep his balance. And as he played he suddenly started to fall off his chair. I caught him, thankfully, and carried him back to where the rest of our family waited in a separate sitting area. Ours was the most serious of the pediatric surgeries, and they treated us kindly. Joshua sat on my lap and complained about wanting to go play and how he wasn't going to fall off my lap, and generally got sillier by the minute. It was hard not to laugh with him, his giggle was so unreasonable and so contagious! Then, the anesthesiologist came. He had a certain look in his eye, and I knew it was time. I stood up and handed him my son, who went willingly, blankie in hand, with the Dr. through those double doors and down a hallway, and finally out of sight.
He was not wheeled away on a cold, stark bed, he was carried. And later I learned that he was put under by the use of a mouth and nose mask, before any of his IVs and such were done. I was so grateful that he wasn't scared and in pain after they took him away from me.
When we were composed again, they took us to the Meijer Heart Center and up to the waiting room, where we waited. I don't remember much about those long hours, and I can't tell you how exactly I got through them. Except I remember praying and feeling some degree of peace through those prayers. And I remember thinking of all the other friends and family, and strangers who were praying during that time too, and that comforted me. Elayna and Emmy, and little Levi kept our hands occupied. I remember the PA, Kathryn, coming out to tell us how things were going from time to time, that he was going on the heart/lung machine, that his temperature was being lowered, that the surgery was beginning, and that the surgery was ending and how his aorta was the diameter of two pencil leads instead of the size of a man's thumb, that his temp was being raised again, and finally. Finally. that he was off the heart/lung machine and would be out of surgery soon. There wasn't any leaping for joy moment like I thought there would be, just a gradual ability to breathe easier, I guess because the moment one thing is over you realize there is more to overcome before it's all said and done.
When we could, we went up to the 8th floor Pediatric Critical Care Unit and they let Colby and I go in to see him. I thought the tubes and wires would be hard to see, that they would upset me, but the truth was that all I could see was Joshua. And Joshua was alive! And breathing! And Alive! And after only a few minutes he began to respond. He squeezed our hands and he looked at us for brief moments. That was when the biggest moment of relief came, knowing he was back from the brink and on the road home.
I have some pictures of Josh in his most critical state, which are really too graphic to post here. But if someday you want to see them, you are more than welcome to come here to my home and sit with me on my couch and we will look at them together and cry together and praise God together for the life he has re-given Joshua!