Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ian's heart surgery

If I was directing a film and trying to show externally what the parents were feeling internally, I could not have chosen a more appropriate morning than yesterday.

We woke at five to wet streets and darkness and light drizzle, bundled Ian in his car seat and drove the twenty minutes along the deserted neighborhood roads.

Ian slept and Annie and I didn't say much.

The parking garage. Skyway. Security badges.

The tension is broken by the first nurse we meet, who reminds us of the Mohel hired to perform a circumcision in an episode of Seinfeld. Shaking like she's eaten coffee beans straight from the plant, and talking entirely too loud for the situation, she has us fill out all the necessary paperwork.

A private waiting room. Another nurse. Blood pressure and oxygen levels and weight and lots of medical history questions.

We are alone. Dharma and Greg is on television. It's either that or numerous infomercials telling me how to make a million dollars while sitting on the couch eating Doritos.

We meet the surgeon. He is kind and soft-spoken and tells us that he has performed more PDA ligation surgeries than any doctor in the US. One of the benefits of living in Minnesota, home to Mayo Clinic and the U of MN medical research center.

They need to redraw Ian's blood. One of the test's they needed was not run.

We kiss Ian and give him a hug and they take him from us. We are alone again.

We find the cafeteria and eat the hospital food, which is right up there with airline food. Two people approach us and tell us they are from my parent's church and want to pray with us. My dad arrives.

Annie finds a room to pump her milk and my dad and I wait in the appropriately named "waiting" room. There is a computer screen that tells me Ian's surgery has begun. Our cardiologist stops in to update us. The screen changes to a picture of sutures, letting us know Ian is almost done.

Annie returns just as the surgeon informs me that the surgery was a success and there were no complications. We are sent by a volunteer to the wrong part of the hospital to visit Ian.

I lose my cool with her when we return from a frustrating search. (I see her later in the lunch line and apologize. She also apologizes.) A few more hallways and we find Ian.

He is doing well. We look at an x-ray of his chest and his heart is nearly half it's previous size; it is back to normal. We sit with Ian for an hour-and-a-half, then meet Annie's family in the cafeteria. All the sisters and their kids have come. It is cheery and chaos in the same moment.

I eye the portable heart defibrillator on the wall as I finish up my large roast beef sandwich and chocolate chip cookies.

We return to Ian's side. He is doing excellent. We find a private room and sleep and begin to feel a tinge of hope again.

The nurse tells us that Ian will remain sedated most of the night. They remove his breathing tube and he breaths well on his own. They tell us it is ok to go home.

Silvi arrives from her grandparents house a few minutes after we get home. She is full of hugs and joy and dancing and running. It is good to be home.

Annie calls in the early hours to check on Ian. He has cried a little so they increased his medication. Annie and Silvi and Grandma are at Ian's side now, and Annie will stay the night to feed and comfort him. I am back at work, but will take tomorrow off to take care of Silvi.

The cardiologist says Ian may come home as soon as tomorrow. I'll keep you posted...


Leah said...

hugs hugs hugs and more hugs.

bella said...

So happy to hear that the surgery went smoothly and Ian is doing well and gets to come home soon.
Breathing big sighs of relief for all of you.
From here, these miles away, I send my love.

Kim Ayres said...

I remember.

This is a life changing experience, not just for Ian, but for you. You never look at the world quite in the same way again.

Your son is alive.

My thoughts are with you.

Tom said...

Thanks, all, for the words of encouragement...