It's hard to believe we were only here for 14 days.
Time works different in a hospital. You measure hours by when meds are handed out, days by how many clean underwear are left. By Tuesday I had no idea what day it was. I asked at least 3 times throughout the day, certain that 24 hours had passed, wondering when that nurse would leave. We ate at weird times, went to bed at weird times, woke up at ungodly hours for needle pricks and X-rays.
It feels like we were inside those walls for years.
As glad as I am to be headed home, CHOA wasn't the worst place to spend a couple weeks.
I learned a lot.
About Gabe, about Andrew, about myself. I'm walking out with a few new vocabulary words. I loved my family the day we walked in those doors, but I'm walking out with a different level of love. Our bodies are a miracle, finding each other was a miracle, Gabe's heart, while broken, is a miracle.
I realized the importance of smiling at strangers, bending down low to make jokes with a sad little kid. I felt the embarrassment of having your kid puke in the middle of a gift shop and quickly learned it's stupid to be embarrassed by that.
I learned that, sometimes, grown men with lame jokes and .50 cent bubbles can turn a little boy's rough day into something a little special.
Andrew and I want to take this new knowledge and pay it forward. We have dreamed and schemed ways that we can be involved in helping other families through these difficult hospital stays.
In a weird way, I'll miss it here.
I won't miss the pokes and prodes or sleeping on cots like that made us feel like permanent campers, but I will miss the hourless days with Gabe. Nowhere to be, nothing that has to get done. Andrew and I realized that this is the only time that Gabe has had us to himself for more than a few hours. It was fun to listen to him and really hear him.
I'll miss the nurses that weaseled their ways into Gabe's heart and mine. Sure at first I thought they were too gentle, too harsh, too soft, too cold. But days wore on and I came to appreciate the way each of them cared for my boy.
I will forever be thankful for the Cardiac Unit at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
They saved my son. Really, saved his life. How do you ever repay that? He gets to do things that he's never been able to do before. Run, play sports, jump on a trampoline for more then 3 minutes.
This week wasn't easy, but it changed us forever.
And that is something I wouldn't trade for anything.
Today they handed us discharge papers.
We signed on the lines, packed up an absurd amount of things, and hugged our nurses goodbye. We walked down the halls with Gabe leading the way, exactly how we walked in 14 days ago.
Only this time, our son didn't get winded. He didn't turn blue or reach up to be carried halfway down the hall. His heart is working.
And with that, we are busting out of here and headed home.
With my super hero son and his amazing half a heart.
We accumulated a lot of stuff in 2 weeks!
Cathy was Gabe's favorite nurse. Which made her my favorite too. She played football with him and tickled him and talked us through countless near breakdowns. I will forever be thankful for her.
Josie blew past me to squeeze Gabe. And I realized how awesome siblings are.
My people. Together!!!