'I want you to know I serve a BIG God. And He can do whatever He wants to do. He can open what He wants to open and shut what He wants to shut. And a [family] that plays for His honor and glory, will have His blessings follow that [family].’ ~ Facing the Giants
This was my Facebook status on Monday, March 5. I thought it was incredibly applicable to that day, to the moment I was in, to the emotions that over flowed from my heart and soul. That day, I had never felt more at peace and more calmness and serenity about the choices and decisions we had made for Nathan’s care. That was until yesterday…
Monday, March 26 ~ Our first appointment was at 9:45 am and we had appointments until 1:00 pm that afternoon. I filled out a couple of sheets of paper work, feeling fine and having my amazing Momma sit by me in case I threw the clip board her way in utter protest. Things were going smoothly and I was as calm as I could be, until I hit the ‘Advanced Directives’ section. ‘Do you have any advanced directives? Do we have copies of your advanced directives? Would you like to be given any information on advanced directives?’ Thinking about advanced directives, ( i.e. their will, their last wishes, life support choices, etc. ), is something that no parent should ever have to even possibly consider for their child. It was beyond torturous to even have the notion in my head that Nathan wasn’t going to pull through this surgery. Yet protest as I did, Brian and I made choices for Nathan in the great hope that this would be the last time we ever talked about his short life ending.
We met with media, who took pictures of Nathan’s head. Then we met with a paleontologist, who took measurements of Nathan’s head so we could have a baseline of where he was before surgery. ( Excuse me for ever thinking that paleontologist only played with old rocks and dinosaurs. ) If he took one measurement of Nathan’s head he took twenty of them. That appointment did not go so well and Nathan kicked, squirmed and screamed to let everyone in the office know he wasn’t happy with what was going on to him.
Pre admission testing followed and Nathan had some lab work performed. I was thoroughly impressed with the pre admission process. While I spoke with a nurse and went over Nathan’s history and what brought us to their facility, Brian took Nathan to a playroom, where Nathan played with a Lightening McQueen and a Towmater. Then, it was off to running laps around the nurse’s station as I gave as much information as I could on Nathan’s surgery and condition to the nurse. No one ever seemed to mind that Nathan was racing his Daddy around a nursing station, while cackling like a little hen the whole time.
Our last appointment of the day was with Dr. Fearon. He was just as thorough in explaining everything that would be happening during surgery, as he was in our first email correspondence. We felt at peace. We felt comfortable. We truly felt as if we made the best decision for Nathan and we were in the right place.
Tuesday, March 27 ~ We were told to be at the hospital at 6:00 am. Ever the planner and planning family that I come from, we were at the hospital at 5:45 am and greeted the nursing staff as they came in for work. We were called back to an exam room around 6:15 am and answered more questions about Nathan and his condition. We were told, we would be asked the same question at least three times and we were completely accepting of that. Nathan was given Versed or ‘Goofy Juice’ to assist with anesthesia and separation anxiety. At 7:00 am we were wheeled back to holding. Besides the effects of the Versed, Nathan was in heaven with his own little mini DVD player watching Cars. He was wheeled back to surgery around 7:35 am – 7:45 am.
We were given a direct phone line into the OR and told to call at 9:00 am, 9:45 am and every 30 minutes after that. The OR was reserved from 7:00 am until 1:00 pm and we prepared ourselves to not see Nathan until 1:00 pm. Besides conversing by phone, Medical City Dallas has a wonderful way of keeping family informed of surgical progress. TV’s can be found in waiting rooms and the cafeteria that show a little butter knife, ( incision has begun ), stitches, ( sutures are being placed ), or a band aid, ( recovery ). Since Nathan couldn’t eat that morning, we didn’t eat breakfast. We made our way to the hospital cafeteria and plopped ourselves in front of the TV waiting to see updates. We rejoiced when we saw a butter knife.
From the cafeteria we found the Family Resource Room. A wonderful and unbelievably quiet and tranquil family lounge equipped with chairs, couches, computers, coffee machines, wifi access and peaceful waterfall. We made ourselves comfy there, until 10:40ish when we were told to head to the PICU waiting room and wait for Dr. Fearon. Dr. Fearon and Dr. Sacco came out around 11:15 am and let us know that surgery went wonderfully. They were able to recycle all of Nathan’s blood and a blood transfusion wasn’t necessary. At 11:45ish we were called back to the PICU and were able to see Nathan. We prepared ourselves for the worst. We knew there would be tubes, we knew there would be swelling, we knew Nathan wouldn’t be happy.
Brian and I were both overcome with emotion when we saw our sweet miracle. It was very similar to seeing him for the first time after he was born. He was ok. He looked great and because it was so soon after surgery, swelling had not set in or taken place just yet. The PICU nurse described every noodle of the monitor’s to us and made sure we were as comfortable as we could be.
Seeing Nathan, felt like breathing for the first time in two months. We were done. We were on the other side and Nathan was doing great! More than we did on Monday, March 5, we realized that we serve an incredibly BIG God. We, as a family, had never felt more at peace or at ease with our choices or decisions for Nathan. We knew we did what was truly best for him.
In the standing, walking and stress of the day, my ankles had swelled to grape fruit proportions. It was highly recommended and encouraged that I go to the hotel, sleep and allow Brian and Momma to work the night shift with Nathan. I didn’t even bother putting up a fight. To the hotel I went, placed my grape fruits on three pillows and slept as best as I could. In the morning, Daddy and I would trade off with Brian and Momma and they would go sleep.
Wednesday, March 28 ~ Nathan is doing as well as can be expected currently. His right eye is swollen shut and his eyelid is incredibly bruised. His head is very large, round and swollen and can be very adequately described as another cranio mommy put it, ‘Charlie Brown.’ He’s doing wonderfully though and we hope to be moved to the general floor later this afternoon.