If you missed part one of the story, you can find it here.
The next day, January 17th, I returned to work and Jesse went down to be with Simon in rehab. It killed me being back and I probably didn’t do my best work because I was so distracted. I was running out of sick days though, so it was a necessary evil. My students were incredibly supportive and all of them had written me individual letters in my absence.
The support of my coworker, Kathy, especially got me through the next day when Simon went in for surgery to get his bone flap put back in. It’s not like I could have done anything being down at the hospital, but it was incredibly hard not being there. I broke down crying more than a few times that day at work and Kathy was really supportive and understanding. The surgery went really well and they extubated him quickly, which was a huge relief. They took him to PICU to recover overnight.
That night, I had bible study with my close friends at my house and I told them about my day. I explained that I felt like I was at my breaking point and couldn’t even go back down to the hospital until Simon was back in rehab. I couldn’t return to PICU because there were so many hard memories attached to it and I didn’t have the strength to do it. It’s hard to explain, but it’s as if there was a mental block combined with massive amounts of stress that made me have a near panic attack even thinking about going back to the hospital let alone PICU.
Almost as I finished explaining this, I got a call from Jesse saying he was going to be sick and that I needed to come down, so that he could come home. My wonderful friends prayed for me as I thought like I might lose my mind and then they stayed with Liam until Jesse got home. It took all of my strength to go back to PICU that night to see Simon in a drug-induced coma with his head wrapped up and once again hooked up to a lot of machines. It is true that God gives you strength you don’t think you have to do things that feel completely beyond your own human capacity and I did my best to lean on Him for that strength.
Jesse ended up pulling into the driveway that night, opening the door and throwing up on our front lawn. One by one, we were all coming down with this evil flu. My mom and sisters were also fighting the bug at this time.
Simon woke up happy, as long as I was holding him. He wasn’t a big fan of being hooked up to all the machines again, nor was I as it made it really difficult to hold him. Again we waited for them to move us to rehab and again it took all day.
Finally that evening we were moved back to rehab.
This time we were on the other side of the building and now had a view of the playground below us.
At this point, we were thrilled at how well Simon was doing with therapy and we were completely ready to go home. Now that the bone flap was back in, we just waited for the approval that we could be released. Again, we spent our time roaming the halls, trying to keep ourselves busy.
Very early the next morning, Simon woke up crying. Because I wasn’t ready to be awake yet, I stumbled over to get him out of his bed and rolled his machines over with him to my bed. I lay down with him and a mere five minutes later, Simon threw up all over me. With both of us covered in puke, I again paged the nurse for assistance. As soon as we got cleaned up, Simon seemed fine and even ate a little.
He was incredibly tired though and spent most of the day sleeping with me holding him. My arms got super tired and it was difficult to get up to go to the bathroom with a kid that wouldn’t let me put him down without screaming, but I relished holding my baby.
Simon definitely had the evil stomach bug, but because he had just had surgery, they were hyper vigilant over him. They needed us to make sure he was eating and drinking, otherwise they were going to have to hook him back up to a feeding tube. We are normally very cautious about what our kids eat, but because of the situation, we were trying to get him to eat or drink anything, including soda, which he wouldn’t take. I can understand when you feel lousy that you don’t have an appetite, but it was very frustrating that this evil flu bug was holding us back from being discharged when all we wanted to do was to go home to be sick and recover.
Liam and Jesse came down to visit that day and Simon perked up at getting to see his brother, but still refused to eat anything.
(this is the giant smile he had when Liam walked in the room)
It is true that God doesn’t give you more than you can handle and we hung in there and tried to be thankful for the fact that Simon fighting this flu meant that he was alive to be able to fight.
I took Liam home that afternoon and he was also sick. We took a short walk to stretch our legs, but for the most part, we lay on the couch watching movies and eating Top Ramen. In a way, it was nice to be lazy, but I yearned to be active, healthy and “normal” again.
The next day, January 22nd, they took Simon’s IV out. They said that if he showed that he was eating and drinking, we could be discharged by 4pm. My parents came over to our house to be with Liam, so I could head down to the hospital to wait to be discharged. The doctor came around 11:46 in the morning to sign our papers and we were released from the hospital.
It is very anti-climactic to be released. There isn’t really anyone there to say you can go, help you out or say goodbye. After you’ve been through this traumatic period, you sort of expect a party or a parade to wish you farewell and escort you to the car. It was completely the opposite. We quietly packed up all of our stuff in the wagon that we still held ownership to and carried Simon out the hospital doors.
It was a wonderful feeling clicking him into his car seat and knowing we were headed home. As we drove up the freeway, Simon pointed out all of the trucks and I cried happy tears knowing he was able to see, move his body freely and communicate his feelings, all of which I had taken for granted a mere twenty-six days before.
Thanks for reading! The final part of the story will be continued this Wednesday!