Wednesday, December 18, 2013

All in a Fortnight

I think this will be my last post for a while.  I might bring this thing back to life once in a while, but hopefully not for the same reason.  I guess some random good news once in a while might be a good thing.

Ginny came home from the hospital the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  It was great to be home with both girls. While Rachel was out picking up some prescriptions, we watched Monsters, Inc.  Then we all got some much-needed rest.  I've been reflecting on those two weeks, and it's a bit head-spinning how quickly everything happened.  

This was Ginny and me on Sunday, the 10th.  We went to the new Waffle House for breakfast.  (What can I say, we're rednecks...  We did wear shoes, though.)  Ginny was starting to get a little cough, but hey, kids in daycare pass around germs all the time.  

By Thursday afternoon, we were at the Emergency Department at Shands Children's Hospital. 

It took only a few hours before it progressed to this: 

This was the wee hours of the morning on Friday, the 15th.  Watching your three year old get an endotracheal tube is not fun.  Most of the time they won't let you watch, and for good reason.  Sometimes you don't give them a choice.

The number of people that helped Ginny get better can never be measured.  Thanks to them, Ginny progressed to this: 

And eventually to this:

 Until finally, we took her home, and we watched Monsters with her sister...

We're keeping both girls out of daycare until after the New Year, just to keep the germs away until Ginny is fully recovered.  The folks at GRU and the City of Gainesville created a leave bank, and so many people have donated their own vacation time that Rachel will be able to stay home with the girls until then.  Chalk that up to another reason why we're never moving away from this town.  Thank you all!  Gainesville is home to the best people on the planet.

Now we are here reflecting on the whole experience while we try to remember what "normal" is.  Normal will come back pretty quickly, I think.  As far as my reflections, I think some of them are important to share. 
  1. A lot of people have given us great words of encouragement throughout all of Ginny's health "adventures".  One sentiment that we hear pretty often is that we're tougher or stronger than most parents.  "I don't know how you guys stay so strong," someone once said, along with "I don't think we could handle going through something like that. How do you do it?"  Well, the short answers are that we're not any stronger than you are.   How do we do it? Hell if I know.  We weren't really given a choice.  If you were put in the same situation, you'd do it, too.  When your kids need you, you'll find a way.
  2. Speaking of what your kid needs...  I've seen a lot of other families with really sick kids, and I have noticed that there is something different about us.  Other families (none that we know well, but when you're in close quarters in the hospital, sometimes you see and hear things) that often parents question "Why?"  I wrote about this a few years ago, when one of Ginny's neighbors in the NICU passed away on Father's Day.  It's a harsh reality that no parent should have to face, but "Why" is not the way to handle it.  "Why" only leads you to feel sorry for your kid.  It leads you to feeling sorry for yourself.  Your kid doesn't need pity.  She doesn't need parents that feel sorry for themselves. She's in a fight, and she needs a battle buddy.  Stop feeling sorry for yourself, pick up your head,  and march towards the sound of the guns. 
  3. When the world around you is going to hell in a hand-basket, stay calm.  Those that you love will need a steady hand.
  4. Maintain your sense of humor.  I once heard Mike Myers say in an interview, "There's nothing so serious that is can't be laughed at."  My three year old daughter is taking a daily dose of Viagra that would turn an 80 year old man into a walking hat rack.  The jokes write themselves, and they don't stop.  Laugh at them.  Laughter is good for you. 
As we're right in the middle of the holiday season, we've got a lot to be thankful for.  I'm especially thankful for my employer, Chen Moore and Associates.  I've known Peter Moore for over 10 years now.  When I told him what was going on, his only response was "family comes first," as I disappeared for two weeks.  I love that guy.  We're thankful that so many wonderful and talented physicians have chosen to make Gainesville home, and for awesome nurses & RT's who deliver the care.  We're thankful for our families, who took care of Lilly while we took care of Ginny.  Most of all, we're just thankful to be home. 

Merry Christmas!