Alone – But Not For Long –

Yesterday I had Jackie and Mark to keep me company during surgery.  We ate lunch together and then sat together in the waiting room on chairs that are only comfortable for about 45 minutes.  Today I am on my own – I discovered the PICU public shower rooms, ate lunch alone with my book and now have my own private room in which to wait.   It probably isn’t quite right to feel so at home here – but it is essentially the same bed and the same view I had while Greg lived here.  The window etchings on the 10th floor deal with sea life and these all have to do with trees.  The oncology unit also has individual showers in each room.  Nice perk, but after Natalie’s nausea last night, I am reminded how very much I pray that this tumor is benign.  Sitting with a child undergoing (suffering through) chemotherapy is hard.

There is, however, something special about caring for my child in a hospital.  Much like getting up with a newborn baby night after night – it is not my number one choice of activities, but it is a special time.  I am so glad that I can be here with Natalie.  I am more aware of all of this because of the quilt that is here on the bed.  I am recently acquainted with an incredibly sweet woman.  She made this quilt and gave it to me in anticipation of Natalie’s hospitalization.  She has been a mother-in-the-hospital much more often than I have and reached out to me during Jackie’s surgery – particularly in regard to angels watching over us.  She knows what she is talking about – and on this quilt there are angels, with words such as Guard, Protect, Guide & Shelter.  Her card said that she wanted to make sure that I would never again be cold as I nurtured my children in the hospital.  (In reference to the cold and uncomfortable ICU stay with Jackie — Doernbecher is much better for parents.)  I thought that was a beautiful sentiment and I am happy to report that as I slept last night, I was very aware of angels, seen and unseen, that are watching over our family.
I just had a nice surprise as Bob, a longtime family friend, dropped by our room.  His son had an appointment at Doernbecher today.  What a nice break to have some conversation – I was glad he came and we laughed and agreed that Natalie would be glad she missed him.  Good timing.
I have otherwise been alone with my thoughts –as I blogged this morning I was wondering why?  Not why like “why me?” or “why us?”  Just contemplating – I wonder what the significance of all of this will be.  It seems unusual – whose life will be touched?
On Sunday I was trying to distract myself and write about some seemingly random high school events – a boy I didn’t like saying words I didn’t like; and a boy I liked saying words I liked – both had such a positive effect on my life to this day!  Neither of them know, but I do.  So how often do we interact with people, have a positive effect, and never know?  The events of today changed our plans, but also the plans of many others – there may be a ripple effect that we will never know.
In March, Jackie’s surgery was postponed after two hours in surgery by the emergency resuscitation event and the doctors’unanimous decision that they all needed to begin fresh in two days.  The doctors expressed gratitude  to us then (as well as at post-op visits) for our calm support of their decision.  Apparently this had happened before but the family had been very upset.  Maybe our calm response can help them deal with future situations… who knows?  I know how that event touched us deeply – but I think that there were ripples also.
Ok – Dr. Selden just came in.  He said that they are closing the wound and all went great.  Definite tumor tissue and it has been looked at by their top pathologist who said it looks like a low grade tumor.  He said they are thinking it is just a —– (I thought I caught the name but when I tried to look it up, it didn’t exist).  That’s ok, it is all so preliminary that I should not be reporting such details. They are still wondering about the unusual cortex that surrounds the tumor.  I asked about the part of the brain that that was removed yesterday – he said it would have come out anyway because it was on the path to the tumor, they simply didn’t go deep enough.  He said it was unusual and even if the computer had been correct, he would have sent that tissue to pathology.
Dr. Selden also reported that when they started the computer once again showed that the tumor should be gone – somehow her brain “sagged” and so the readings are off.  He was essentially on his own but since the latest MRI showed the “path” taken yesterday as well as the tumor, he was able to go right to it.  This has been an unusual and frustrating case for him. Yet somehow it has been important to more than one person involved –but how???  This is what I’m talking about...
 I wonder what we would all find out about our brains if someone went digging around in there?  For the past couple of years I have been thinking that if I could start my schooling/career again I would like to have focused on brain research (especially if I were born 20 years later).  However, what about all of those positive experiences that I had as a surgical nurse?  Those friends made in nursing school?  The effect that my career has had on my family and in other situations… So, I guess I would not want to change.  Even when I consider poor decisions that I have made – I usually don’t want to change them because I am grateful for lessons learned from them — this is what I am talking about
Life intrigues me.
Now I will put this away so that I can be ready for Natalie to return. She had a bad experience yesterday when I stepped out of PICU (no cell phones allowed) to call home and she couldn’t reach the call light.  She has requested that I stay very near and accessible – good time to put away the computer.
 

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