Well, I found my last post a little ironic yesterday as I was riding in the back of an ambulance again. Was I truly able to be thankful? Was I truly able to trust?
Yesterday, while sitting not even 8 feet from me, Mimi put something in her mouth and began to choke. She coughed and vomited, coughed and vomited, and then turned blue. Even as I was doing all I knew to do from all the CPR/First Aid classes, my baby turned blue and lost consciousness.
I am praising God that it did clear, although we never saw it. But she was still very blue and very unresponsive. The firemen were here in less than 5 minutes and they were the most wonderful men! Hard to know if they just seem bigger and stronger because they come in the moment of your greatest need, or if they are just THAT big and strong. To see strong hands holding my tiny girl so tenderly reminded me of my Heavenly Father holding her even then.
Although she was disoriented and a little blue still, she quickly recovered. Much quicker than I ever will! I don't think my heart is beating normal yet. Because of her special needs and how slowly she was returning to normal color, the EMT wanted us taken by ambulance to the nearest children's hospital. I was torn, but he didn't give me much choice! He was bigger than life and very insistent...so no arguments from me.
So, once again I found myself in the back of an ambulance with little Mimi. How different this trip was from the trip almost 5 years ago. Instead of being whiter than I ever believed an "alive" person could be, she was pink and rosy. Instead of being unresponsive, she was cranky to be stuck in her car seat. She eventually fell asleep and I had plenty of time to think over the last 5 years. I was still a bit in shock and we still didn't know for sure that she was okay, so there was a lot of prayers. Asking Him to show the doctors what was wrong, if there was something. (At the time, we didn't know she had swallowed something - so it raised a lot of questions as to why she would pass out...)
But once again, I was able to praise my Savior for His Hand upon my family....back to my story from the previous post....
After Mimi had been brought back to life - we were told she was "resuscitated" - but were never given any details - there were so many questions. She obviously had a severe infection, but what was it? Her abdomen was full of fluid - where was it coming from? They stopped all feeds and just gave her nourishment through the IV.
This is when I truly learned that medicine is a "practice", not a science. I still had had the impression that doctors could figure all this out with tests and knowledge. But the first day I heard the shifting from the PM doctor to the AM doctor, I was shocked how different their views were. We had quite a few doctors, in fact. One that I called Dr. Gregarious (and not in a nice way), wanted to just "cut her open" and see what the problem was. Fortunately, the other two doctors (whom I highly respected) shut him down like a too eager puppy. Horrors. All that could really be done was to wait....and wait....and wait.
The only thing that marked the passing of my days was the changing of the nurses. I slept in a chair in the PICU because I couldn't stand to leave her. I wanted her to know that I was always there, holding her hand or singing to her. Plus, I realized from our previous hospital stay that although the doctors and nurses cared a great deal - they had to take care of all the patients - not just Mimi. She does not cry aloud, she does not fuss a loud. There was no way they would know she was hurting or scared unless they happened to be standing there....
Finally they moved us out onto "the floor", into a regular room where I had a chair that converted to a bed and where I could eat in the room. (In the PICU, I would run outside the doors and scarf down my food and rush back within 5 minutes. I don't know if the staff was impressed or grossed out - I just didn't care.)
But, the pic line was already beginning to fail....and her liver was starting to react to the "food" put through the IV. I could tell by the serious look in our doctor's eyes that he was gravely concerned....
They decided that while we were there, they would have some of the specialists that we were supposed to see, just come see us on their rounds. One was Dr. Stefanelli, an amazing pediatric cardiologist. I first saw him at the other hospital when Mercy was born. Before I knew who he was, I would see him walking through the hallways. I must admit he was drop dead gorgeous. However, I took an instant dislike to him because he seemed so cold and curt to the staff. However, when he came in to Mimi's room, he was so tender and kind - one of those that truly and tenderly cared for his little patients. After a week or so, I realized that he had to be so cold to the nurses because they flirted so outrageously with him. Poor man!
When Dr. Stefanelli came to see us this time, I was pretty worn down and emotional. I was glad for his honest questions and straight forward answers. He was there with his assistant to do an ultrasound on Mimi's heart. (She had 4 small holes). He was gently telling me what he was looking for as his assistant flipped the machine on. He smiled at me and then glanced at the screen. His face went rock hard as he clenched his jaw. He nodded at his assistant and she raced out of the room. WHAT? What just happened? He leaned forward and put his hand on my shoulder. He softly said, "Her lung has collapsed. Please don't worry. I will get her the help she needs." Even as the tears began to fall down my face, he strode out of the room and began calling out orders to the nurses to do exactly as he said. That man was a force to be reckoned with! Another angel in disguise?
Within minutes, Mimi was back in the PICU with a tube inserted in her lung to drain it. This is extremely painful - how much more could my little one take? And the pic line began to fail in earnest....I couldn't take it anymore.
One of the (many) difficult things about staying in the hospital is that there is no place to cry. If you cried in front of the nurses, or they could tell you had been crying, they immediately sent for the social worker. He was very nice - but I didn't need to assure him again that I would be alright. Some days my mom would drive the 40 minutes to the hospital and I would take her car and go home for a few hours to be with my other treasures at home - but I would sob all the way home and all the way back. Gut-wrenching, loud sobs - because it was the only time I was free to let it all out. I don't know how I managed to safely drive - God must have guided the car with His own Hand.
So I bit my lip as we seemed to have taken 10 steps backward - after only one step forward! Finally, one of the surgeons that I highly admired (and who helped to keep Dr. Gregarious in check) came to see me privately. He said he was sure that the pic line was going to fail completely and that he wanted to run a Broviak line to her heart before that happened. He said it was a bit of an unusual step because Broviak lines are usually reserved for cancer patients - but he said he was afraid for Mimi. How do you hear the concern in such an intelligent man's voice and say, "No"? He did the surgery the next day, just as the pic line failed completely. God's grace, again.
Her body was still having a tough time with the IV feeds, but they could only put about 3 mls of food in her per hour without her throwing up. (Just to give perspective, she should have been having about 25 mls per hour) Her lung was still draining nasty pus. By now, we had been in the hospital for 3 weeks....3 long weeks away from my home. 3 long weeks of not knowing if what the next day would bring.... Finally, a doctor told me that she would probably need the drain in for another few weeks. A few WEEKS? I couldn't bear the thought. I collapsed in prayer the moment he left. I loved my baby and would do anything in my power I could for her - but I didn't have anything left to give.