Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Until the party

And so the doctors have my son's name in their appointment books.

A receptionist's calendar. A few marks of lead on a sheet of paper.

These pencil strokes inform us that on the 24th 15th of this month a whole Army of nurses, pediatricians, anesthesiologists and surgeons will gather at Ian's bedside to pierce and poke and prod and cut and spread and sew, to conduct what we moderns call routine heart surgery.

His chest is so smooth. Flawless. I consider it criminal, yes, a felony, to introduce a jagged scar across such milky white and fragile skin. Like taking a blade to Van Gogh's Starry Night or Rouault's The Old King.

No, worse. Much worse.

He will be all the better for it, so they say. And I will celebrate on that day, the day when his lungs fill with the Fall air and his mended heart fuels strong legs to carry him on new adventures.

We will throw a party on that day. A ball.

But until the balloons are filled and streamers hung, we sit alone in this empty ballroom, my wife and I. We wait, and we plan, and through our tears we compose a song to play on that day.

The day when a surgeon's hand touches what I hope one day to also touch: Ian's heart.

15 comments:

Nicole said...

We will be praying for your precious boy!

Carole said...

Beautiful post that brings back memories, and tears, and hopes, and dreams, and fears. I trust Ian will soon be melting your heart with his smiles.

Luke & Amber said...

Our hearts and prayers are with you all. We love you.

aunt bonnie said...

Love and prayers to all of you.

John & Erica said...

Tom, Annie, Silvi, and Ian. We'll be thinking of you and will pray for you on that day.
--John Clark

Leah said...

There is NOTHING worse than sitting and waiting for surgery day to roll around. NOTHING!!! The time C-R-E-E-P-S by, and the morning of is even worse. And then you have to hand him over...and then wait. Once that wait is over, the time will rush past, and it will all be behind you. Unfortunately there is nothing anyone can say or do to make the waiting easier. It is what it is.

Angela had her first major surgery at 11 months. (gastrointestinal issues) I was obsessed with her flawless belly and chest. The week before I took picture after picture of her without scars, knowing she'd never be the same again. Sadly, those were the days before digital cameras, and the pictures I took with a disposable didn't turn out. I don't have any pictures of what I so desperately wanted to remember.

But guess what? It's just skin right? (I'm saying that sarcastically) I hardly remember an Angela before the surgery. What I do remember isn't always great, because she was struggling so to survive. What happened after her surgery is norrible, and sometimes still is 11 years later.

bella said...

Surgery, even when it is needed and a gift and life saving, is gruesome.
Somehow even more so with a body so tiny and skin to fresh and fragile.
Your description is haunting.
The waiting is hard.
Somehow, it happens, the days passing.
Love and courage to all of you.

rebecca said...

thinking of you and your family today, and every day. I hope that surgery comes and goes without any speed bumps, and that your boy's chest heals quickly and remarkably.

Tom said...

Thanks, everyone for the comments and thoughts and prayers. Appreciate them immensely. We'll keep you updated as things progress.

anne said...

This is a beautiful, beautiful post. Thank you for writing it.

Anne
www.archiesroom.com

Brett said...

Everyday I live this. I am hopeful and believe love is sustaining you and us.

Tom said...

Thanks, Anne and Brett. It really does make it easier to "share the load" with others.

Mom and Dad said...

Precious Tom and Annie,

We wait with you. Always together, always family. Heart-to-heart, hand-in-hand. I remember waiting with Dad in the hospital when you were operated on, when they opened your stomach. It was an excruciating wait. And I know you still have that tiny scar. So we will wait together. And then throw the party.

Adelante, con valor, sin temor porque Dios es amor.

En el amor, no hay temor, porque el amor echa fuera el temor.

A song I remember from our Bolivian days and that comes to me often.

Translation:

"Forward, without fear, because God is love.

In love there is no fear, because love casts out fear."

Love, Mom and Dad

Richard Dahlstrom said...

thanks for the response to my suffering questions and the Weil words. Surgery... so deeply counterintuitive as, by faith, we allow the knife in order to bring health. This, as you articulate so well, is why suffering and intimacy are interwoven into the same cloth.

My prayers are with you as you walk this journey.

Tom said...

Appreciate the prayers, Richard.