Half A Heart, Twice The Fight

 Today started out awful.

Gabe woke up in the ICU agitated and very, very angry.  

He thrashed around and screamed for hours, giving in only for 10 minute naps after each dose of pain killers.  The team had a hard time managing his pain.  He fought every drug they gave him and had a nasty reaction that made him freak out.  I'm convinced he was hallucinating.  It was scary and sad and I cried really hard behind the curtain around his bed.

I wanted to pick him up and run.  He'd had enough.

At 8 I sent out and SOS to Amber telling her this was impossible.  She reminded me that I can do hard things and that it would end at some point.  So I rallied up, pulled myself together, and took my spot at his bedside.  Rubbing his hair, offering drinks endlessly, begging him to drink.

Thankfully, around noon, they found a mix of drugs that helped calm him down.  He still wasn't happy, but he stopped screaming and was able to drink so it was a tremendous relief.

And when they called at 12:45 to tell us his room in the step down unit was ready?  Well, I did a little jog in the hall.  And y'all know how I feel about jogging.

I'm not sure why, but I felt like getting out of the ICU would solve a whole lot of our problems.

I was right.  

His private room is, well, private.  It's quiet and we have space for everyone to sit with him at the same time.  No more rotating visitors.  The machine pulling the fluid off his heart sounds like an aquarium and the fan Amber loaned us provides a perfect breeze.  Heck, if I squint really hard out our window with a garden view, I can almost pretend I'm not in the hospital.

Gabe instantly acted more calm in his room.

He was able to take quite a few long stretches of sleep as opposed to the random 10 minute ones he was getting.  He's still not interested in eating, but we did talk him into a nice wagon ride around the hospital.  

And when he asked to go again later, we knew our Gabe was on his way back.

Andrew has been amazing.

He hasn't left Gabe's side and is able to move him between the bed and the wagon without hurting him.  Which I failed miserably at when I picked him up.  Good thing my hugs are so awesome.

I really can't believe that he made this much progress in one day.  

The way today started I thought we'd be in the ICU at least another day.  The day was incredibly hard and feels like at least 78 hours have passed in the last 24.  But this child that screamed if you touched him this morning was pushing himself into a sitting position this evening.  He has a long way to go, but he made huge progress today.

Our nurse tonight is great.

Her goal is to keep him comfortable and asleep.  Which align perfectly with our goals.

I know it's hard to tell under these awful florescent lights, but Gabe's color is better than it's ever been.

His nail beds are as pink as mine, the blue in his lips is already nearly gone, and his overall skin color is less grey.  The surgery is working.  There is oxygen flowing to parts of his body, at higher saturations, than he's ever had.  All this pain and crying and wishing I could make it all stop, it's worth it.

Our current prayer requests are for a good, peaceful night's sleep for all three of us.  Also, Gabe has to have labs and a chest x-ray early tomorrow morning.  Both of these were traumatic experiences at pre-op.  Our nurse is going to try to time his morphine so that he won't feel any of the pricks, but we just don't want him to freak out when he sees what's about to happen.  A friend reminded me that as awful as those early morning labs are, they are what will help the doctors figure out the best plan of action for Gabe.  Our goal it to get him out of here and get him home and that means we have to do a few unpleasant things along the way.

Thank you for your continued love and support.  We feel it.  It's the only explanation for how we've made it this far in tact.

Now my pillow is feeling neglected, talk to you all tomorrow.


kimmer said...

I think I left my phone there in the room....? I was feeling so happy when I left, I wasn't thinking straight. Oh well. I feel honored, blessed and beyond the proudest mom/gramma there could be. Spending this time and being there to hopefully help, but mostly support, has been one of the hardest and greatest experiences of my life. You and Andrew are amazing parents, and your love for this child is one of life's most meaningful lessons. My heart is so full. I love you.

Amber said...

I'm sitting here crying for the 800th time in the past week! I'm pretty sure I'm crying both your tears and mine at the rate I'm going. I can't wait to kiss his face tomorrow and maybe get a hug if he's feeling up to it! Prayers you all get some rest tonight!!! Love you all! See you tomorrow!

Anonymous said...

Wow!! From a rough morning in ICU, to taking wagon rides around the hospital later in the day...your sweet boy is making progress by leaps and bounds! That's wonderful!! Prayers for sleep and rest for all of you tonight. Melissa

Nicole T said...

Nicole, praying for you all to get a good night's sleep tonight and that Gabe responds well to his tests tomorrow. Blessings!
Nicole Taulman

Melissa Viljoen said...

oh Nicole, we are praying for you and your family. Sweet little Gabe is such a warrior! Hang in there Momma, you have The Lord on your side and He takes care of all things. Praying you all have a good nights rest and the labs go really easily tomorrow morning.

Michele said...

Praying for you all this morning Nicole, and so super excited to hear your day improved and he got out of ICU! A new room will put a brighter perspective on everything I am sure. Continue to cling to the FACT that very soon this will all be a distant memory and you will be watching him run around and play with a healthier heart! Think of the joy to come! HUGS and blessings for your day!

pam said...

Having a sister who has been 'blue' all of her 58 years, I noticed Gabe's color change right away. I am so happy for all of you. Such a little sweetie.
Good luck with the rest of your stay. pam

Miamihoney said...

What amazing progress, such a strong boy. Your family continues to be in my prayers.

Tess said...

I smiled when I saw the pictures of the wagon and I smiled even broader when you talked about his color. It's amazing isn't it? Recovery time is so hard and filled with ups and downs. I'm just thrilled to read about how well he's doing.From one heart mom to another :D