After a night like we had night before last, there is an aftermath that occurs in the CICU. We’re currently still living the aftermath. Each medical move that is made with our girl is now carefully calculated, and for a period of 24 hours, maybe even more, nothing really changed. Life just stopped, and we held steady, hoping that if we just froze time, there would be a corner turned in the patient’s condition. There was. Last night, at almost exactly the 24 hour anniversary of her code, Dolly decided to turn a corner. Drips were weaned, ventilation settings were lowered, kidney function improved, everything just started moving. Their little patient showed significant improvement.
That patient though, is my daughter. So, for me, the aftermath of her nearly dying involves re-analyzing the sequence of events that led to the crash and burn in an almost obsessive/compulsive manner. I stood for hours yesterday, until my feet started to bleed, literally, staring at her monitors trying to remember if they matched the numbers of the day before. What had her blood pressure been when she had taken that turn for the worse? 60/30? The monitor reads 70/50 now, which is better, but is it ENOUGH better to avoid what happened that night? Why is her CVP two points higher than it was before? What’s her temp right now? What was her last urine output? I haven’t left this room once except to walk down the hall to fill my water cup, and when I did, I got a feeling of impending doom. What if I returned and her room was filled with people? What if I left and she died while I was 100 feet away? What if…? What if…? WHAT IF…?
I don’t know that there will be a night soon that I don’t lay down and hear the chimes and the voices in my head, a night when I won’t close my eyes and see them standing over her, pumping her tiny chest to get her heart to beat again. There have been other close calls in my life. We narrowly escaped Ghana with Giggles and ShyGuy. We watched Giganto go into Anaphylactic Shock after a routine vaccination. I have watched Bubbly live through unimaginable emotional hell. All these moments have shaped me, and my children even more. This moment is no different. So, now I decide if fear takes hold, or if I build on this. Do I let this shape me and her, or do I let it define us? Living through this, remembering it, and building on it is different than allowing it to consume us. We can’t live in fear. So, we live in hope.
It’s time to move on.
I have never parented Dolly as if she would die at any moment. We do parent her differently then we parent our other children, but we don’t parent any of our children exactly the same. They are individuals. They deserve to be treated as such. We have always parented Dolly as if she will live to be old and grey. I have to remember that, to hold on to it. I have to say to myself, FPM, parent her as if there are one thousand tomorrows in her future. Don’t ever acknowledge that there might not be. I have to think about the future, focus on her whole self, and not just the sickly physical self that currently lives inside these four walls where we nearly lost her.
So, I did what any emotionally healthy, well-balanced woman does, and I got online and bought her dresses and shoes. She can wear them for some of those thousand tomorrows.
–FullPlateMom, who is one epic shopper.