Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Status Quo

The status quo seems to be the norm around here. Not that I’m complaining … really. It doesn’t appear that the month of March “got” Jack. Do I dare say that we’ve made it through the entire Winter without nary a sniffle? In fact, we’ve not even had to bump Jack’s Pulmicort up to 2x per day, which we typically have to do during the Winter months. It was a “healthy” cold and flu season all the way around – the flu bug somehow managed to completely miss our house this year. Now, if I was the superstitious type, I’d expect the god of sickness to immediately swoop down and throw up all over my house just to show me that I’m not so lucky after all. But, I’m not the superstitious type, so I’m not too worried that I just jinxed myself.

The status quo of non-crisis is a good thing, no question. The only down side is that when your mind isn’t occupied with just trying to get through the crisis of the day, it has too much time to think. The last few weeks have been emotion packed for me. Between putting together the CMD video and recently being asked to talk with parents who were in the same decision-making situation I found myself in nearly 10 years ago, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately.

I’ve transported myself back to where I was this time ten years ago. March 7th marked the day - ten years ago - that Jack officially became vent dependent. The last week in February he had been discharged on nasal CPAP following a three week hospital admission. It was this discharge that I had my first experience with nursing (the pig farmer, if you recall). He didn’t last too long at home and I remember the Saturday night we finally gave in and took him to the emergency room. I was adamant that he was not going to be admitted again. Unfortunately, the doctor took me to heart and never even got a blood gas on Jack that night. His sats were fine (he was on O2 via nasal cannula), so they sent us home with an antibiotic. Sunday morning, Jack was as white as a ghost and so, so worn out. We forced ourselves to take him back down to Children’s ER where someone had the sense to get a blood gas. When his CO2 came back at 120, things started happening … and fast. Jack was intubated March 7th and from that day forward he has never been able to “fly” completely off the vent again. Jack wasn’t trached until May 19th and I clearly remember the day I signed the consent form. I joked with Jack’s cardiothoracic surgeon that I finally “did it”. I think they scheduled the surgery within seconds of me signing, just in case I changed my mind. They tried to get us to agree to the trach months before, but I couldn’t force myself to do it. Jack was discharged on June 8th. I don’t think I cried once during those three long months Jack was in PICU. I was too angry to cry. I was emotionless the day of Jack’s trach surgery. The surgery was at two in the afternoon and I was barely able to see him after he came out of surgery before I had to hurry off to Mary’s Kindergarten graduation. It was surreal as I sat there watching Mary sing and dance with her Kindergarten class while Jack was lying in a hospital bed breathing through a plastic tube stuck through a hole someone had just cut in his neck.

It seems like forever ago and yet it seems like just yesterday.

So, what was I saying about the status quo? Oh yeah … it’s a good thing. Except for the thinking part. I wish I could just.stop.thinking. You’d think (there I go thinking again) that you could get to the point where you just let it go once and for all and move forward. Ten years into this and I can’t seem to get there. It’s those darn triggers. They take you back at warp speed to where it all began. It never gets easier to go back there.

And on that note, I think it’s time to call it a night. If things go as planned tomorrow (actually, today), I hope to have something Eric related to share with you.

Thanks for checking in, thanks for caring.


Karen said...

I don't have anything profound to comment. Thanks for the post - you are not alone. And yes, we do care. A lot.

shaffersouth said...

I know what you mean. I seem to fly through crisis pretty well, it's those calms between storms that throw me into thinking spells, not that I'm asking for more storms! I wish you peace and happiness and good thoughts.
I chuckled at the illness god throwing up on your house. Great imagery. We got it pretty bad here, so I guess it's time to clean the roof!

Dana said...

Oh, Ann! The reminders are hard. I love the idea that you can speak to others who have to make the same decision. You will be such a blessing for them. I wish I'd of had you to talk to them. That is wonderful that Jack has been so healthy this winter. Yea! We joke about this in my house but maybe we need some of that air. Love your reaching out efforts. I hope I can find a way to do so myself. Good JOb!

worthy said...

Like you, I cope pretty well in a crisis, then during periods of calm, start thinking, and thinking doesn't do me any good.

You are not alone Ann, we care, lots!

The Marangella Family said...

Try as we may you and I both know that you can never "just let it go", we may learn to psuedo-cope with it but the darkness of that one certain moment (more like months)can never be completely forgotten. In some aspects it is these very events that make us who we've become, for better or worse....
Hang in there kid!

Susan said...

Hugs. We can get into trouble thinking too much. As I said on the trach forum having a child like Ainsley is a true test of staying in the moment. Which I'm not very good at. I fail it every day.

I did laugh about the illness jinx. I am a little worried for you. Please knock on wood.