Tuesday, July 24, 2012

After 10 Long Nights and 11 Days ...

Gabrielle is home ... at last. Not the scare we were fearing, but our little girl was put through the ringer. God, we healthy people take our strength and resiliency for granted.

Here are some pictures of her in the neighbourhood around BC Children's Hospital. Almost the only thing that she tolerated by the end of her stay was being pushed around and seeing the sites. After hearing how I pushed her around and around and around all day, and seeing her gripping the chair with her little afghan on lap, Grandpa Wayne nailed it when he said, "It's kinda like Driving Miss Daisy." Indeed! 

Monday, July 16, 2012

There is No Santa Clause (Gabby on Mend)

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes. It's been a pretty crazy week.

Gabrielle is steadily improving since being admitted on Friday. She went to bed last night sounding almost normal, but woke up this morning choking on her coughs ... which is better than the night before when she went to bed choking on her coughs and woke up struggling to breath. So we are seeing a positive trend.

So funny being in the hospital this time around and after last year's marathon experience (which was followed by an incredibly challenging year). A year ago we were just realizing that we were "That Family." Now there's a quiet acceptance.

I suppose that's how it is for anyone who lives with – or is supporting someone through – a life-altering tragedy, sickness or disease... You just come to look at the world differently.

You come to realize that there is no Santa Clause. You're like the kid in Gr.1 who knows what's really going on behind the scenes come Christmas time. You just don't get as excited about all the hubbub as everyone. You enjoy the activities and excitement and go along with the myth because you want to fit in, be a part of things, and have fun. You learn to enjoy the season for what it really is. You are wiser beyond your years.

You know there is no Santa Clause. Weirdly, however, and in a way you can't quite make sense of, you know not to talk about it too much (or at all) with your peers because you don't want to ruin their fun. Their fun is premised on something entirely different. They don't want to know about Santa Clause. They don't want to "go there." Not ready. Later.

That's what it's like this time around. We are not trying to cling on to "normal" like we did last year. Just like when we lived in South Korea for two years, where it wasn't until the second year that we really started "getting" the country, I think we're starting to get it now, and at a whole new level...

Gabrielle has shown us what is really magical. Really real. Really wonderful.

Life is short. Life is fragile. Like can hurt. Life can be wonderful.

So while there is no Santa Clause, we're learning that there are lots of opportunities to quietly celebrate what we have – and who we have – without making it a big deal or super special. The frills and ribbons we see people getting all tangled up in actually take away from what's really going on in the first place. Untangling yourself can be a long and painful process, and sometimes you lose yourself along the way, but what you see at the end is worth it ... because it's real.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

July 15th ~ Gabrielle Update

About 18 hours ago we had to take Gabrielle to BC Children's Hospital as the level of care we were able to provide at home just wasn't enough. We were admitted to a low-urgency ward of the hospital, and the doctors began an aggressive med regiment to nip this in the bud. Thank God they know her so well here.

Gabby's status is definitely not worthy of being sent to the ICU, so that's awesome. She is, however, struggling to breath when the mucus builds up and the coughing attacks hit. It's definitely some form of bronchiolitis. In my opinion, she just needs some straight, deep sleep. It's 5:00AM now and she's maybe had 90 minutes the whole night – then she wakes up and we have to suction the mucus plugs out that are preventing her from breathing... and sleeping. Argh.

Taking away some positives: Gabby had her first bath (since March 2011) without a central line yesterday. It was a nice break from the hospital bed and just wonderful to see her eyes light up whenever she splashed the water.  Amazing how much children – especially I-cell children – can teach us about living in the moment.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Gabby Sick ~ Teetering on Hospital

Just when we thought Gabby was in the clear for summer, her big brother Michael came down with bronchitis and an ear ache, and she caught it a few days later.  Yesterday and today her oxygen requirements have declined significantly... to the point that we will be going to the hospital if we need to crank the O2 tanks up one more notch (i.e. they won't go any higher). Amy has been tending to her tirelessly (an amazing mom and woman).

The coughing fits are tough to watch – our feisty little girl gasping for breath.

I-Cell sucks.

We will do our best to keep everyone posted. Let's hope Gabrielle sails through this like she did the surgery.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Reframing the Uszh

I think I've talked about reframing here and here in a serious sort of way, but sometimes it's good to reframe the very normal (e.g. morning med/kid routine) and turn it into something fun, like an front deck reggae party! (pity you can't hear Marley in the background)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Super Trooper Surgery Star

We went into this surgery a bit leery, but not worried, and Gabrielle proved our intuition right yesterday by sailing through the procedure, waking up fine from the anesthetic, and remaining just fine on her oxygen levels.

A challenging part of any surgery with infants and tots is the 12 hour fast before the procedure. While Gabrielle was cranky, she was also hilariously feisty when her curiosity was captured. It was too funny.

A couple hours later she woke up right on time. We had pretty legit concerns about the anesthetic with I-Cell, but she put those to rest immediately.

And here she is the next morning, chalk-full of enthusiasm and excitement for the new day.

While sipping her morning coffee, and both of us thinking about what a year can bring, Amy said, "It's amazing how much these little children teach you."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Gabrielle at 21 months, the Day Before Surgery, and Getting So Social

It's amazing how much Gabrielle has grown up in her own little way. She cries when she can't see her brothers or when Mommy walks into the room and doesn't pick her up. She kicks her feet and screams when Daddy stops wrestling with her. She gets shy around new people sometimes.

Tomorrow Gabrielle gets her central line removed and a VAD button put in (as well as tubes in her ears so she can hear better). This is huge for us. It means, with her hour-long periods of zero oxygen, we'll be able to carry her around like a normal 21 month old (well, not quite a normal 21 month old, ha ha), and I can take her down to the beach and let her roll around in the sand without worrying about line infections (and a host of other things) and then come home and get in trouble for letting her get so dirty.

Here's Gabrielle playing around with me the other day. If you read this in time, wish her luck tomorrow. I can honestly say that I never thought she would be with us this long or be this strong. Gabrielle, you are the best!