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Archive for August, 2013|Monthly archive page

My Big Fat Lesbian Life – His Heart

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2013 at 10:29 pm

I’m writing this from a hospital room where I have been for a week now.

Gabriel had open heart surgery a week ago. The surgery went smoothly, but the recovery has been really difficult to watch, as a parent.

When we arrived for surgery, I was so anxious. My son was going to have surgery and I needed to trust his life to people I barely know (which, is actually why the surgery didn’t happen sooner. I’ll share more after he’s home, but I decided not to have the hospital who diagnosed the defect do the procedure). I was actually able to stay with him and walk the halls all the way until they wheeled him into the operating room area. I watched them past the doors until they were no longer in view. Noting can describe the feeling I had at that moment. Nothing. So I won’t even try.

I made my way to the family waiting area, where I proceeded to hold his clothing he’d worn to the hospy that morning, in my lap. I kid you not, the moment the surgeon came to tell me the surgery went well, I wanted to hug him (and I did).

I was able to see him after they’d situated him in the ICU. He was asleep and on a ventilator. The relief of knowing the surgery went well, collided with the stark truth he needed a machine to breathe for him. Tubes everywhere. My little dude was just there, sleeping, and unable to breathe on his own. I stayed by his side, refusing to move from the chair, because even 1 foot away seemed too far away. It’s the utmost feeling of helplessness to see my child in such a state, and lack all capability to help him.

When Gabriel finally started to wake up, the look in his eyes of realizing he had tubes breathing for him, was so wrenching. He laid there unable to talk, trying to signal to me that he wanted the tubes out. Out of instinct I handed him my cell phone and told him to text me. He texted he felt like he was suffocating and couldn’t breathe. I had to try to assure him that the machine was breathing for him and he’d be okay, but then he started coughing and choking on the phlegm that was accumulating in his throat and tubes. His eyes wide, and there was nothing I could do. At one point he started throwing up while on the ventilator, sending me into the hallway screaming for help. After he had been on the ventilator for a day, my rock star son grabbed the suctioning wand from the nurse and did it himself. I think he was tired of feeling like they weren’t getting it all out of his mouth.

So fast forward from those terrifying first 48 hours (they really are)… Gabriel still has fluid around his heart. He has two JP tubes emerging from his abdominal wall to drain the fluid from around his heart, and two pleural caths, one from each lung. They started him on steroids yesterday, in hopes it will start to dry things up. It has a bit, but not enough to remove the tubes. It’s scary. It’s a reminder that we may have taken some big leaps, but we’re not out of the woods. I haven’t left his side yet, and I honestly don’t think I can. I’d rather spend all the time he needs to up here, if it means that when we go home we can go with the peace of mind that the fluid is where it needs to be. I’m still worried. I really want my son to be okay.

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