Monday, December 25, 2006

Dear 10th Floor Folks, I am not there with food today because...

A friend of mine has designed some t-shirts that pretty much sum up my take on 2006. I'm voting for a do over - the New Year as less 2007 and more 2006, beta.

After our early December MRI, we realized Christmas was really coming. I tried to think of something that would help inject some meaning into the holiday for us. We decided that it would feel redemptive and good to take Christmas dinner up to the families stuck on the 10th floor for Christmas. Sounds nice, right? I love cooking, and I was sure the families would appreciate a home cooked meal, and we even had a turkey some nice people had donated to us.

So, I got everything half-cooked and then went to work on Christmas eve. Just as I was getting off my shift, I got the call I'd of course feared as we started making holiday plans. Scott was on the way to the ER with Thomas.

*note - Thomas turns out fine in this story*

Thomas had pulled out his trach at the mall, and Scott couldn't get the regular size or the smaller one back in. I was horrified. For one thing, we (the nurses and I) started calling Scott "the equipment whisperer" because he's so patient and persistent and clever with all of Thomas's gear; if Scott couldn't get the thing in, it might not go back in at all.

Also, Thomas needs the trach to breathe. Scott said Thomas didn't seem bothered at all and was breathing fine, but we both knew that, with nothing in his trachea, the airway could technically collapse at any time.

I paced the store for a second, trying to assess the level of the emergency. It wasn't cancer-related, and Thomas seemed fine at the moment . . . was rushing to the ER worth showing up at my grandma's tomorrow without sweet potato tarts? My mom would kill me. . . finally, Scott called back. They had hustled Thomas back into a room (instead of waiting around with all the infections in the line at the door) and he was satting at 100%*.

Ok, Emergency Level is Orange, not red, I decided; tarts it is. I picked up my phyllo dough cups and a cup of coffee before heading down to the hospital.

When I got in the room, my son was sitting on the bed, his stoma gaping and red. He was holding the room's phone, talking seriously into it. "Uhlo? Uhlo? Euh? Uh-oh. eh. 'ye!" I downgraded my asssessment to Level Yellow and sent Scott out for burgers.

Anyway, everything turned out fine. Well, except I think he might've caught pinkeye from the phone in the ER room. But they were able to open his trach with some kind of little instrument instead of surgery, and we were home by 11ish.

I made some cranberry sauce and cornbread, and ran out of eggs, and gave up. Thomas needed suctioning about every 30 minutes last night, and we are all recovering gently today. We are doing very well, but every time I think things are back to normal something comes up and socks us in the kisser.

Not all the surprises are bad ones, though. We have gotten some extraordinarily kind gifts from our friends and loved ones. Last night, I got home before the boys and found a box with a bear and a card. The card told us that someone had asked some priests to pray for Thomas tomorrow.

I thought of someone who didn't know us thinking to himself, "I will ask the best people I know, people who are friends with God, to ask God for good things for Thomas, on a day when I think God will be in the best mood all year." I am not ashamed to admit that I hugged that bear very, very tight.

So, 10th floor parents, I'm sorry our plans fell through. But here's what I can send you and your sweet kiddos - our prayers, and the prayers of the people who love us. It's a good day to ask for special favors.

*That is, the level of oxygen in his blood was 100%, and he wasn't working hard to get that, either.

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At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

christmas was wonderful with you guys! thanks so much for joining us!

aunt rhonda loves thomas!

At 2:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Trachy out. What a nightmare, or at least its one of my regular ones. Glad Thomas is ok. Amazon parcel heading your way. Ctel


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