Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Eight days.


 Can I start last month all over? Can I play catch up? Is that allowed?

I think it is. I'm doing it even if it's not.

8 days.

8 days in the hospital that followed 2 scary, stressful weekend days at home. I sat by his side, counted his breaths, watched his retractions. I counted the number of times he vomited, and how many ounces he was taking in. By the end of the day Sunday I knew we had to go to the ER. What followed was 8 days in the hospital. Watching his heart rate speed up and slow. Begging silently for his respirations to drop to a lower number. Watching his oxygen saturation numbers go up and down like treacherous waves on a rocky shore.

1 liter of oxygen. 2......5! Back down to 3. 2.....not ready, 4!

How many ounces of juice did he drink? If we can't him to drink [insert made up number here] ounces we may have to put in an NG tube.

Those 8 days were consumed with numbers, from the hour Elliott's next dose of medication was due to the dwindling number of ounces I was trying to pump for my other child. The teeny number of hours (minutes?) I slept. The pounds I lost. Cups of coffee I drank.

The number of times I looked up at this screen... who's counting, really?

I think any parent finds themselves ruled by numbers when it comes to their child, but having a child with a heart condition makes you that much more aware of it. There have been times my entire being revolved around those numbers on that screen, like it was the most intense, engaging soap opera you've ever seen. The night we finally saw these numbers, 99 percent saturation at a half liter of oxygen, I jumped for joy and made three phone calls. I probably slept a good five hours and smiled two dozen times. And on that eighth day, when I reviewed a 10-page discharge report with the nurse and barreled out of that hospital with five fully-stuffed plastic patient belonging bags and my little boy in my arms, I felt joy. I did nothing for the rest of the day except soak up kisses and snuggles and I didn't even keep a record of them. All I know is there was a lot.

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