Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Last Sunday, Grayson had a congenital cyst under his tongue get infected and burst causing swelling that not only started to close his throat but pushed his tongue up and back, blocking the air from even getting to his throat. For the first time since we moved here I was cursing living in the country. It takes thirty minutes on a good day, hitting all the green lights, to get into 'town' (the town with the hospital which is actually two towns away). We made it there in fifteen minutes, tops, speeding up from 70 mph to 90 and finally hitting 110 mph (on the highways between towns) in our big ol' diesel truck as Gray struggled to breathe. I never want to repeat that ride. A 911 call made on the way seemed to change lights to green for us, stop any cops from trying to stop us, and had doctors waiting at the emergency room door when we squealed to a stop and I threw Grayson into their arms.

He was life-flighted to a bigger hospital about an hour away who in turn life-flighted him to Children's Primary in Salt Lake City, a state of the art hospital that could not only diagnose his mystery problem but could treat it.

Getting off the fixed-wing life-flight.

Hannah with Grayson.

All of the girls with Grayson.

Playing with stethoscopes.

Being at a hospital like Primary Children's, which specializes in unusual and rare diseases in children, was such an experience. I went in there a bit traumatized but holding it together, having a three month old son who was now stable and breathing, but with a then-unknown cause to his troubles. In the four days we were there I saw

-a four year old girl, my oldest daughter's age, pulling an oxygen tank behind her as if it was part of her body

-so many parents, siblings, and grandparents pulling little plastic wagons with children to weak to walk

-children obviously in the middle of cancer treatments

-a baby ward that was huge and full of babies in much worse condition than my little tyke

-parents that ranged from those that, as one nurse put it, "have to be told to leave the bedside of their kids and go to the bathroom" to parents that "have to be called and told that the doctor wants to talk to them about their child, so could you come in to the hospital" - so many different ways of dealing with sickness

-a six year old girl that stopped and talked to me about my son and asked all sorts of probing questions about his condition - questions that could only be asked by someone intimately familiar with doctors and tests and shots and hospital stays - her little brother (also named Grayson) lived at the hospital due to his problems

-so much kindness from everyone - janitors, nurses, doctors, life-flight EMTs, cafeteria workers - everyone in that hospital had a smile for my children and that hospital is *made* for children

Ainsley and the 'Fish Tank'.

-a cafeteria that was more like a restaurant in the quality of food it offered - we've missed that cafeteria since we left - it was nice not to feel like we were living on fast food

All in all, after being there a day, I wasn't thinking that what we were going through was so terribly awful by comparison after all. By the time we left I was fully cognizant of how lucky we were to be leaving so quickly and with such resolution in his case and wishing we had something similar close to where we lived so that I could volunteer there.

We go back in two weeks for some more tests and hopefully some resolution. I'm not looking forward to the poor kid getting poked *again* - he hated that worse than anything else.

After talking with the ambulance driver on our way from the fixed-wing life-flight (which landed at the airport) to the hospital, I now realize that even if we lived in the middle of Salt Lake City it would have taken us fifteen minutes at the least to get to the hospital. So country living works for me again.

Here are some random pictures of the girls during the trip:

To pass the time with the girls, Matt used the colorful gauze to make the girls look like 70s joggers.

Relaxing at home.


green said...

What a learning and growing experience! I'm glad the family came through it so well. Thanks for sharing your insights and perspective from such a rare occurence.

ladybug-zen said...

my oldest son makes monthly visits to a large childrens hospital in tokyo much like the one you've just visited. it's a small city actually. every visit is definitely an eye opener.
it's sort of comforting, sort of unsettling, sort of depressing...i always feel exhausted, sapped, drained completely of energy everytime i leave with my son.

ladybug-zen said...

ps. i'm glad your little guy is home now and safe and healing. peace.

sparrow said...

I'm so sorry to read about this...
strength to ya mama...
strength to your boy...

Annie said...

I'm just so glad that you are all home and okay. What an experience you had! :(

Katherine said...

Have I blogged about anything important? Have I said anything important? Not compared to this. Brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

katharine said...

We spent about a month with our middle child in the hospital for sick children in Toronto where we live and it was amazing and terrifying and ultimately uplifting. We've been back with her many times before, sometimes for appointments, some times for weeks at a time and truly there is nothing like a hospital full of sick children and their families to send you out into the world feeling a little luckier and a little lighter

BTW I made my blogs private a little while ago but if you want an invite let me know...