Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hospital Life

For months we were told that our  lives would change forever when our son was born. We were warned, so we weren't surprised that life has changed in such a brief span of time. How it's changed has been the surprise.

Today is Mrs. Blackwell's tenth straight day in the hospital; ditto for junior. He still hasn't been outside yet. 

She's healthy and he's also a perfectly healthy little boy so we're very, very fortunate and grateful. But, they're still in the hospital. Mrs. Blackwell (AKA Mom) and my mom (AKA Grandma) are with him as he plays out this string of days in the neonatal intensive care unit.

As anyone who's spent time under these circumstances knows, living in a hospital is trying    even when the hospital is as nice as the one we're fortunate enough to be in.

For a time I was there, but then reality struck and I've since been balancing work responsibilities. Mrs. Blackwell's mom and my mom have since picked up this slack. So, they too know exactly what the new mom is going through. 

"What is this 'outside world' you speak of?"
I'm proud of how my wife has stayed positive. She smiles regularly. She dotes over her son and, as I've told countless people since this odyssey began, her cup is perpetually half full, even if she is spending her waking life in the hospital lately.

This life, living in hospital limbo, is uncomfortable. It's frustrating, scary and tiresome. It also absolutely pales in comparison to the sacrifices other parents make, and for much longer periods of time than we are enduring.

Weeks, months and, yes, even years can be spent waiting, waiting, waiting for an infant's health to turn for the better.

I've seen it firsthand and now have no shortage of examples.

There was Tim, from Omaha. Tim took an 18-hour bus ride to be near his grandson as he awaited a new heart and then transplant surgery. Tim took his bus ride in December and has been living in a Ronald McDonald House since. His months-long wait is now his life and amounts to a perpetual, solemn, vigil. Everything else in Tim's life is on hold.

Tim told me his daughter has spent every, single night in the hospital with her son since December.

There was Aaron. Aaron has a beautiful 18-month old daughter who was born with club feet, brain and heart issues. She's had "several surgeries" and requires "dozens more." Her young life has been spent almost entirely in the hospital.

Despite this, Aaron smiles a lot. He too is grateful and he didn't hesitate to ask questions about my boy. He was genuinely interested in my son's well being and, in light of what he's enduring, I felt almost sheepish telling Aaron my son was going to be fine.

My reticence was unwarranted as he was thrilled for us.

Some folks have told us we've had a difficult ride. At this point, I'm inclined to say only that it hasn't been ideal.

My son's neighbors at the hospital    the little kids who's lives are spent there    they and their families have it difficult to a degree I pray I'll never know.

Our lives have changed alright. And we couldn't feel luckier.  

Editors' Note: the above picture is indeed the son of Mr. and Mrs. Blackwell. 

1 comment:

TracyM10 said...

I was informed of your blog by one of Mrs. Blackwell's co-workers and I am so happy to read that baby Blackwell is doing well! I met Mrs. Blackwell at The Yarn Shoppe a few weeks ago...I too spent many months last summer caring for one of my babies while he literally fought for his life. It is a trying experience but the doctors and nurses where you are are some of the best. I wish you all the best. Also, I am sure you all are good but if you need anything, I travel every Thursday to the city for therapy for my baby. I would be happy to transport anything or anyone that would Mrs. Blackwell might need.