I kept my flipbook of friends and family praying for us, going in my head. I was unusually calm (Guys, keep in mind I had only had 1 can of Diet Coke up to that point).
And then they wheeled him away.
(That is the infamous coveted waiting spot. It’s right outside the CVICU doors. Also, I just wanted to document what our “snack” choices were…How do any of those snacks fill the hole in your gut while your child is having open heart surgery? WHERE ARE THE OREOS?)
When we finally got to see Bogey, that’s when I lost it. But not immediately. I was able to make it to my “Meltdown Manor” (my private little spot in the hospital where I always go to, well, meltdown) and I bawled like a baby. It took a minute to regain composure, but when I did, I got back to Bogey just in time to watch him get extubated. He was crying. He was scared, and he didn’t really want to be where he was. I could do nothing to save him. I felt so helpless (a familiar feeling in that hospital).
Later on, we were moved. I was furious. I don’t do well with change—especially when I haven’t already adapted to my current situation. Oddly enough, we were moved to the EXACT same spot where we struggled 3 years ago. We even had the same nurse. The smells, the sounds, the familiar surroundings brought my struggle with PTSD to life.
Without missing a beat, Ace, sent me to the hotel to get a breath of air—real outside air—and to change my clothes. He had sensed that the adrenaline and the little rest from the night before were wearing off. He was trying to intercept my nasty glares and unfiltered comments to keep the peace with the doctors and nurses working with Bogey.
At the hotel, I knelt down next to the bed and just asked my Heavenly Father to bless the nurse taking care of Bogey. I also thanked him for the friends I was texting that were taking the brunt of my frustrations. It’s amazing how quickly peace comes when I open my heart to allow it. I took a little nap, showered, and changed into my sweats and my hoodie. I was now ready to take on whatever was in store at the hospital. (If you’re wondering, yes I apologized to the victims of my weaknesses.)
The next couple of days in the CVICU, wires, and iv’s were just coming off so quickly! Bogey was making quick progress. So opposite from last time we hung out in there. I was able to hold him. He returned to his regular diet (yellow chips and bacon) and seemed happy.
When we got to 3 West, we were able to leave our room (although we had to drag around that chest tube and monitor) to go to the hospital library, pre-school, and the Forever Young Zone (a room full of toys, books, puzzles, crafts, games, electronics, etc. all paid for with some $$ donated by Steve Young. I’m a big fan of his). I absolutely LOVED the fellow and attending doctors that were caring for Bogey.
Dr. Spencer (fellow—I totally wish I knew his first name—) came up with this Tube out Tuesday thing. Meaning, Bogey would be able to get his chest tube AND G-tube out on Tuesday if the chest tube didn’t have a lot of draining.
Tuesday came. Dr. Spencer came in early in the morning and told me the output from the chest tube exceeded the standard for removal. I was DEVASTATED. He left, and of course, my first reaction was to doubt that the prayers of so many had been heard. But this little voice reminded me to have patience in God’s timing. I randomly checked my text messages and read a text that had been sent days before, but that I didn’t read (I didn’t see that I had missed it!) That message brought me so much comfort (Thanks for the duck story Liz!). It was no mistake that I read it when I did. Those tender mercies from our Heavenly Father are not coincidences.
During rounds later that morning, Dr. Spencer presented, while Dr. Vamsi Yarlagadda stood silently watching Bogey. After Dr. Spencer announced that Tube out Tuesday had been cancelled and that we’d have to wait another day, Dr. Yarlagadda jumped in and said, “Let’s take it out. I like the Tube out Tuesday. We’ll never come up with something that good for Wednesday.” I could have kissed him. That meant we’d also be celebrating “Walk out Wednesday”. The light at the end of the tunnel was growing brighter.
Later that day, Liz McBrearty did the honors (Dr. Spencer was off) and pulled out the chest tube. Bogey requested that daddy take out the G-tube. Finally, my little buddy was tube free. Trips to the Forever Young Zone, and walks around the third floor were glorious! Bogey was starting to act like himself again.
Walk out Wednesday was as dreamy as it sounds. We were out of that hospital by noon. We celebrated with a trip to In-N-Out burger and Krispy Kreme. We trekked on to Winnemucca—another Wednesday wonder.
Thursday night greeted us with home sweet home. We felt so blessed to be home so soon. We had been looking forward to watching General Conference with our children in our home. It has been the perfect way to refill spiritually. Again, a perfectly orchestrated plan from the hands of our loving Heavenly Father.