Four Years, Four Hours
In Liam’s first five years of life, he had 12 heart surgeries of assorted intensity, from one of the riskiest and most complex on the planet, to marathon caths, to a simple removal of sternal wires. With his Cardiac MRI, he’s been under general anesthesia with a pediatric cardiac anesthesiologist 13 times. Then, in 2008, the week before kindergarten, he got his stent and stabilized.
It’s been almost, but not quite, four years since I smelled the sterile glare of hospital sheets. Glare is the right word, that smell is so harsh and unique. I smelled that smell today as I rested my head next to Liam’s and kissed his tear stained face. It’s been nearly four years since I hid my own tears from Liam while he cringed in a hospital bed, and that ended today too. I knew he was scared after the IV went in, I couldn’t bear to add to his burden.
Liam had chest pains, regular, recordable chest pains at school. We headed to the doctor’s office, but when he complained of feeling faint in the car, I turned into the hospital instead. We then ended our nearly four year streak of office-visits-only with four hours in the ER.
We had a happy ending when the events of chest pain he was feeling set off no difference in the heart rate monitors or his blood pressure. This was even better when a bag of fluid seemed to alleviate his pain and his dizziness faded. Seems our nearly-nine-year old was badly dehydrated. . . but with an impending pacemaker Jim and I took no chances. The doctors and nurses both at our local ER and who I spoke with on the phone at Children’s told us we did the right thing coming in today.
It feels so strange to be “happy” our son had dehydration that brought us to the ER, but the alternatives for Liam are so much worse. So, Liam pretty much gets a bottomless supply of milk and water for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, we’ll consider this a test run for his next open-heart surgery where we don’t just get to have the IV pulled and go home to watch TV after four hours. Maybe, for that reason alone, it was a blessing in disguise.
Oh, since we’re not at Children’s Hospital tonight like we feared we would be, please do come see me at the Aurora Barnes & Noble (225/Abilene) tomorrow night (6:30 pm). Liam won’t be there – he’ll be resting and drinking, but I could use the encouragement!