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Friday, October 10, 2014

The things we get used to

I hate to imagine that I've become somewhat used to this whole hospital and surgery malarky, but I've become somewhat used to this whole hospital and surgery malarky, even at a different hospital with different waiting rooms and different cafeteria food. It feels somewhat normal to see my son paralyzed and under deep sedation with a plastic breathing tube coming from his mouth like an awkward straw. It's somewhat normal to see the IVs in his feet and arms and neck. It's somewhat normal to see drainage tubes dangling from his torso and attached to briefcase-sized boxes under his bed.

My familiar vantage point
What I hadn't gotten used to was the waiting, the waiting without updates, the waiting in which you begin to imagine that no news is definitely not good news. He was in surgery for more than 12 hours yesterday and I didn't start to panic until after nine hours. Because the surgeon had told us nine hours at one point, I'd latched onto that number. And during that time, I meandered around the hospital and slept and ate and doodled and chatted to the assorted family members here. It went by quickly without as much as sob or gasp. Beyond that, I fidgeted, rocked, sobbed, and could picture the dark place where my baby lay on a table, cold and naked.

But overall, three hours is short in my lifetime. And now we are on the other side of this dreaded, but successful operation. Things are calm, and I'm grateful that he's still sedated, still pumped full of pain medicine. It's when he starts coming back into his body and feeling the trauma of open-heart surgery, then it will be hard again. His howling voice, my helplessness. But for now, I settle into the chair at the foot of his bed. This familiar place, this familiar vantage point and marvel at what we can get used to.


  1. what a familiar scene. the medicine dispensers look all new and updated, though. and you have windows. when we were in PICU it was so dark. i know being there for my son was so huge... you are not helpless; your love is medicine to him.

    1. "Your love is medicine to him..." What a sweet thought. I will think it over and over again--eventually without getting teary-eyed. Thank you for putting that into my head. I will draw strenght from that in the coming weeks. xxoo