Heading out the door!
I remember writing the same title for the post on our carepages site for Bella when she came home 12 days after being born in 2009.
Boy, has a lot gone down since that post.
I SWORE this was a coffee cup when I first looked at it...
Today, everything went right. We convinced our nurse to get us rolling by 6pm so we could prep Ali for tomorrow... her first day of kindergarten. We hit the road by 6:15. Leaving the hospital with EVERYONE this time had that feeling of "this is how it is/was supposed to be." We didn't leave St. Joe's with Bella when mommy discharged, and we didn't leave Minnesota with Bella, either. This time, it seemed like "A happy ending/beginning."
Grandma was good enough to leave ahead of us, hit the pharmacy for Ang, and drop off several bags for us both yesterday and today to make our transition as easy as possible. In the fridge was a yummy dish from Dina, our sister-in-law. Angelique us already more comfortable here. I sat in this same glider I am typing from with Bella, and this time around, it feels like parent heaven. The difference in the stress and intensity of fear and anguish from last "first night home" and this one is like night and day.
The day wasn't without sadness, though.
Ali in her new classroom!
Fresh off of a trip with Ali to her school to meet her kindergarten teacher followed by a stop at Cherry On Top, we were waiting for the elevator. Ali and I were happy and excited to get back to the room and dig into frozen yogurt, when a guy I know's 9 year-old son walks off the elevator. He was with his grandma, and asked, "Hey! What are you doing here?" to which I explained that Ali's mommy just had a baby. I asked him what he was doing here, and he replied, "My dad is upstairs in critical condition."
No 9 year-old boy should ever have to utter those words.
And yet, we live in the land of Is and not the land of Should, so he did.
I had seen his dad recently, and he looked really sick, so I guessed whatever it was that was hitting him so hard recently had knocked him down. His dad is younger than I am. I walked back to our room dazed. I had walked through that hospital in pain before, and some of the sadness came flooding over me. Ali picked up on it, and asked me what was wrong. I told her how sad I was to hear about our friend being so sick. I could tell she really didn't wanna go there, and she relied, "Well, just don't think about it!" She wanted happy daddy back. I wish it were that easy for me.
I walked into our room and explained to Ang and her mom the news. My ukulele was in the room with me, and I tuned it up and explained I had to go to him, if only for a few minutes. I found out his room number, and within a few minutes, I peered around the curtain at him and he did a complete double-take. Like it was for his son, it was one of those, "What are YOU doing here?" Not in a bad way, but just how-would-I-know-he-was-there kind of thing. So, I sat down and he just looked at me and said, "I'm dyin', man." His skin is green, and his eyes are completely yellow. His liver is obviously shutting down on him and fast. He makes the motion of drinking a bottle, and says, "It's my fault, bro. I did it to myself." I could see the guilt on his face. I raced in to try and tell him about the disease and allergy models of addiction out there in order to try to ease his mental pain, but there was little I could offer with words.
So, out came the uke, and I told him what I did for a living, and that I was in the hospital for my kid's delivery and just happened to run into his kid in the elevator. I asked him if I could play him some Hawaiian music to soothe him. Now, this dude is a big, tatooed, blue collar tradesman, so I didn't know if it would be his thing or not, but I went for it. At one point I looked up, and his eyes were closed and he had a peaceful almost slight grin on his face. After one song, I could tell that was all we would do together. His demeanor however had already shifted. He thanked me for coming to see him, and I parted ways.
Part of me was bummed at myself. Was I working during my vacation? Just 6 days ago, I was playing for a man dying of the same condition at work. Couldn't I just leave it alone? I was worried my wife and her mom would be bummed at me for galavanting off to save someone I really only could call an acquaintance. I even felt a little guilty as I was leaving our room saying that I simply wouldn't be able to forgive myself if I was literally THIS close by WITH an instrument and didn't do SOMETHING. I think I usually come down on the side of going for it, whatever it is, because I never want to live with the "I wish I... or I shoulda..." As a result, I have had to deal with the occasional, "Maybe I shouldn't have..." or "I wish I didn't..." but hey, my personal philosophy is not without its faults, but at least I know where I stand.
Part of me was also completely grateful for the "coincidence" (I prefer providence as most of you know) of running into his son in the elevator. The odds of that happening were so infinitesimal I can't even comprehend, and when things like that happen, I don't take them for granted and usually jump on them. That hospital doesn't have music therapy, so I know no one else was ministering to him just like that on this afternoon, and I know he certainly wasn't expecting someone other than immediate family dropping in to see him in the middle of a Wednesday. I think I gave him an unexpected surprise. Maybe just a little ray of hope that things, opportunities, chances, life doesn't have to be a forgone conclusion.
Elsewhere, I have to tell you a crazy story about Ang getting a blister. The big adhesive pad they dress her incision with left blisters the first time she had one on her for Ali. Of course, we knew NOTHING about EB at the time. This time, Ang was hypersensitive to this to the point that we got the nurse to bring Uni-Solve, the adhesive remover we used to use with Bella, to help get the bandage off this time. Well, the nurse really hadn't had enough experience with this wipe and sure enough, gave Ang a blister on her abdomen!
So, while trolling for finger nail clippers tonight, I stumbled across a bunch of sterile needles left over from Bella. Wouldn't you know it, a few minutes later, Ang and I are treating her blister the way we did Bella's, with our "Lasagna Technique." First, Ang lanced the bugger, then drained it. Then I put a layer of Desitin followed by a layer of aquaphor and a bandaid to finish it off. A little while later, Ang commented how much better the blister felt after our care of it.
Interesting, huh? It actually made us feel good in that she could in some tiny way experience getting a blister and then the relief from the treatment of it. I like to think that for all the blisters Bella got that we lanced and treated similarly, we made her life a little more comfortable.
Last but not least, I have to tell you about an amazing project one of our very own blog readers is undertaking right now. My hometown friend, Tracey Dauphin, has "adopted" a soldier stationed in Iraq. He commented to her that he and his buddies are afraid the american people have forgotten about them. So, Tracey has launched a gratitude campaign on her facebook profile to let this soldier know how many of us are grateful for the work he and his fellow soldiers do for us, day in and day out. She is asking people to make little "Thank you Ethan" cards/posters and take a picture of them holding it wherever they are from. She has a facebook photo album called Our Thanks to Ethan! where there are 48 photos of thanks from all over. Please go check it out, and if you are as inspired as I am about this, make one and message her for how to get it to her. She asked me if I would make one and put it in Julian's bassinet at the hospital, and I was so choked up by the idea, I did it immediately. You can see baby Julian in the photo album!. Well done, Tracey, it was an honor to be asked to participate!
I wanted to share this story yesterday as the pics were taken yesterday, but for some reason, Blogger wouldn't upload the pictures, so I didn't want to tell the story without showing the picture obviously!
Alright, time to get some sleep. We are home. We are so happy. Tomorrow is Ali's first day of kindergarten. We all get to see her off in the morning because Julian was 8 hours early on Monday.
Good job, Julian and Bella for orchestrating that one! It made ALL the difference.
We couldn't touch Bella in her isolette, but the music could. I recorded mommy reading bed time stories to Ali and positive affirmations to Bella with me playing guitar in the background in mommy's hospital room, then played them through my iPod to Bella in her isolette.