Wednesday, July 22, 2009

good hands

Dexter has had three good days in a row (thank you Lord!). The anti-parasitic drugs are doing their job and the symptoms have subsided, so now the task at hand is healing Dexter's poor little gut after all the abuse it has taken. We are taking baby steps along the road to eating and drinking normally again; hopefully we will move from tube feeds to drinking formula by this afternoon. Once again, we are deeply grateful for God's goodness and your prayers and support through all of this.

God has been so good to us, even in the hard days of uncertainty, fear, and frustration. Last Thursday was one of those days. They had come within seconds of discharging us the day before (Dexter vomited while we were literally on our way out the door), so in that process they had taken out his IV. We waited to put it back in to see if Dexter could keep himself hydrated without it, but by Thursday afternoon it was clear that he would need it put back in. After 6 attempts by 3 different nurses (and a lot of prayer), we finally hit a vein and got it going again.

For each attempt two nurses would hold Dexter's limbs while I held his upper body, put my face close to his and tried to keep him calm. I have never wished so hard for a non-verbal child. Holding him down and listening to him scream, "No mommy! Stop! Mommy pick me up!" is on my short list of the hardest things I've had to do as a mom. It broke me down completely. But God was faithful to remind me that he knows the pain of watching a child suffer, that he is with me in that pain, as one who has borne it too.

The next night when we arrived at Swedish the doctors decided that Dexter would need at NG tube (tube that goes up the nose and down into the stomach) for feeding. Based on the face the nurse made when I said the words "NG tube", I gathered that the process of putting it in would be no picnic. I couldn't do it again. I couldn't hold my child down while he cried one more time, I just didn't have it in me. We decided that I would go take a walk while the procedure was taking place, and Jon would stay to help. We were waiting awhile for the nurses to come in to do it, and when I asked our nurse what was taking so long she said that she was waiting for "holders", other nurses who could help hold him down. "If you and your husband want to hold him, we can do it now... but you don't have to - its OK," she told me. My eyes welled up. "Don't worry about it, the other nurses will be ready soon," she assured me.

I fled the scene and headed for the hospital chapel, figuring I'd find kleenex and solitude. No kleenex, but the place was empty, so I sat and listened. Well, first I talked: God, if I was stronger, if I was tough, if I was better at handling all this, then Dexter would already have the tube in place and be getting the food he needs. Then I listened. My child, your strength cannot heal him and your (perceived) weakness cannot harm him. He is mine, and I am caring for him. A weight lifted. We are in good hands.

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