Thursday, November 20, 2008

No more excuses, Be there


A year ago today, I hit rock bottom.

I had already seen my child fighting to live.
I had already watched his entire body shake from the oscillator.
Fighting so hard for each breath you could see every rib on his side.
I had already seen the doctor tilt his head back, open his jaw, and insert the breathing tube for the third time.
I watched the monitor show his heart beating 200 times a minute,
O2 sats in the 80's, dropping, 100% O2 and wondered if this was it.
I had already sat through a spinal tap on my one month old.
I had already watched a 3 hour, 5 attempt, picc line placement, blood all over his sheets.
I had already watched the 50th x-ray on his little body, the 100th poke on his heel for a blood gas, I had already waited while the doctors cut open his tiny tummy to put his intestines in a better place, I had already become quite the expert on sticking a tube in his nose, down his throat, into his stomach just to feed him a meal.
I had already heard the words delayed, and syndrome.
I had already been away from my family for 6 weeks.

A year ago today Alex and I were back in the hospital because of aspiration pneumonia. I was done, I was so tired, I had no hope. This was it for me, we were going to be in and out of hospitals forever. I had no time for Noah and Joel, forget about a happy marriage. I was alone, while once again the nurses were waking him up for blood pressure checks, here come the questions, here come the procedures, here come those med students........I was so tired.

I sat at his window watching everyone getting ready for Thanksgiving, I saw a parade go by, I heard the nurses talking of their holiday plans.
I knew the choir at church was still practicing to sing,
everyone I knew continued to get ready for the holidays, shopping, planning parties..............
My phone never rang, NEVER RANG. No old friends walked through the door of that room. In fact in the 7 weeks that Alex and I were in the hospital I had one visitor, family not included here, and I had never felt more alone.

Thanksgiving day I had dry hospital turkey for lunch, it was just me and Alex, and I had hit rock bottom.

I have learned a lot about my self this year, found strength I didn't know I had, and have learned so much about people. I'm not writing this for any one to feel sorry for me.
I'm writing this for anyone who is too busy to make a phone call, too busy to stop by the hospital. For anyone who is so caught up in their own lives to reach out to someone who may be at rock bottom today.

Yes the holidays are coming up, yes we all have our traditions. Yes we are all busy.
While we are driving to choir practice, Christmas shopping, being annoyed at our healthy kids, someone is watching their child fight to live today, a mom is so tired she simply cant focus on the enormous task in caring for her child. Families are separated for endless days. Do you understand what I'm saying here? A mom is watching her baby die right now, a mom is watching her baby fight to take a breath. Where are you? Do you know someone in the hospital? Go to them. People can sit in church and talk about love, then go home and wrap themselves up in their own lives.
God didn't mean go to church, fake smile, and talk about love, He meant go out and love. Be burdened by those who are suffering, not by your to do list. Be burdened for the sick, not by your Christmas solo, be burdened for the weak, not by your next shopping trip or Christmas party.

Start a new tradition this year, and reach out to someone who is hurting. Who is dying. Who is helplessly watching their child suffer, and there is nothing they can do but watch.

Meet somebody at their rock bottom today. Take the sting out of this.

If you know someone who has a sick or special needs child don't tip toe around them. Reach out, make yourself available, even just to talk.
If you know someone who is in the hospital with their child don't avoid them, I guarantee you they would like a visit.
If you know someone who has a special needs child make it a point to love on their child (with clean hands of course).
If you know someone with a sick or special needs child don't just say I'm praying for you and never call, write or visit.
If you know someone with a special needs or sick child don't slip out of their lives because you weren't sure what to do or say.
If you know someone who has seen too much, watched one too many procedures, waited for one too many surgery's, waited on one too many results, heard one too many bad diagnosis, reach out, be there. Yes it will take sacrifice of your time, you will probably be uncomfortable, it will take work, but you will bring someone out of their rock bottom when they don't have the strength to do it themselves.
Im so tired of people turning a blind eye because they dont know what to do, they are uncomfortable, and they are too busy, the truth is there isnt anything for you to do, but to just be there. BE THERE.

Happy one year healthy and out of the hospital Alex.......I'm so proud of you.

24 comments:

siscaboo said...

That hit me right in the gut. I have been where you are and it isn't pretty. I had one person to lean on. My husband wasn't a good support at all. And even then with having my friend there, it is still a lonely place. If you don't mind I am going to link your post on my blog today. Because it says all that I have ever wanted to say and more.

The VW's said...

Tears.....I totally know where you were a year ago and your words are quite profound! This is a wonderful reminder to me, although busy with a special needs child, to still make time for those in need and hurting at this moment! Thanks for putting this into words! A very important lesson, especially this time of year!

And, Congrats on being out of the hospital for one whole year!!!!! I also know what a GREAT feeling that is! Way to go Alex and Momma!

hennhouse said...

Thank you.

Marissa said...

You are so beautiful.

Alicia

angie said...

Amazing post!! Thank you for the reminder too. Although I have also been there....the further away from it I get the easier it is to forget the feelings. I NEVER thought I would be able to say that or feel the way that I do. I thought that we would have to move to Denver the first 2 years of Em's life. However (and I am knocking on wood as I type this) we have been in-patient hospital free for 2 1/2 years!!! What a great feeling it is to write that!

You are SO right though. We need to constantly reach out to those in need.

You have amazing strength Jessica! Thanks for your beautiful words:).

Pinkalicious said...

Another perfectly put post....Wow! That is just about all I can say....

EVERY person should read this. I will be sharing if you don't mind.

I am thankful for you sharing your journey. I feel less alone and stronger because of reading your blog.

God bless,
Sara

mrsrubly said...

this is so awesome! go alex! your smile still melts my heart alex! happy holidays!

Anonymous said...

Your words put me into tears. I spent 6 wks w/ my preemie in a hospital & felt totally alone, even though I was not. It was a feeling of helplessness watching all the tubes, machines, equip surrounding a tiny-delicate body.

Looking back, I feel guilty for having a healthy toddler now.. while some babies didn't make it, or are now considered "special needs".

There's no words that can express "why them? and not me?" I see life as a blessing & shouldn't be taken for granted.

My heart goes out parents of special needs chidren.

Finding Normal said...

Okay, you're officially a soul sister. I was JUST thinking yesterday as I was gathering things for this morning about posting something similar, just a reflection on our life 2 years ago, and how sad it was to watch the world keep turning when mine had completely stopped. I, too, had NO visitors. Not a one. A friend came to our house when I was home a couple of times to drop off dinner, and we got a few cards, but no one wrapped their arms around me and told me it would get better, even though they didn't know it would. And I so needed that. I needed my friends to call and check on me even though they live in other states, and they just didn't. And now most of them aren't friends anymore. It was hard to watch everyone planning for the holidays when we didn't even know what would be going on the next day. The next hour. The next minute sometimes. Addison came home for the first time on Thanksgiving Day, but went right back through the entire holiday season. The hardest thing ever was walking out of that hospital room on Christmas Eve, leaving her alone in the PICU so Noah would have his parents there on Christmas morning.
I do better now. I reach out to parents with sick kids, even if I don't really know them. I offer support in little ways, and I hope it helps.
Great post!
And happy one year healthy and home, Alex! You rock!

Kristi said...

I know that feeling. I felt so alone when Noah was in the NICU for 5 weeks. My friends no longer called or visited. Those friends are still gone. I had to create new friendships.. Hugs to you always.

Melissa said...

I'm sorry. If I was there, I would totally be THERE. I don't know you, or where you live or really much about you beyond your blog. But I do think of you, I do pray for you, and I do wish you nothing but the best.

But thank you for the advice. If I ever come across someone who needs what you needed, I will make sure I'm there for them.

connie said...

Oh, Jessica. I AM so sorry that you were so alone. This was so well-written, and stirred up so many memories for me.

Cathy said...

Amazing! Speechless!

nola said...

Thank you for your post. I know that those days in the hospital are lonely and scary. Not knowing for sure what the prognosis will be or if you will lose this precious child you are holding. Doctors coming in and out saying things like, "you have a very sick little boy" or, "we almost lost him last night". I think that is something we never forget. It was a lonely time for me as well. I am so glad you are there for so many who are struggling. God bless you for that.

Nannette said...

Well said, I am proud of you!!

Delberta said...

I really have no words for how your post touched me. I followed a link from Finding Normals blog. I will share your post with others so they will know how important showing love and support , being there for someone, means everything.

Denise said...

That was a very powerful post, thank you for it. I hope that you reach many people and that they will do exactly as you say. God Bless you and your family.

Columbia Lily said...

What an amazing post.

Mrs4444 said...

Beautiful. Thanks.

Mandy said...

Jessica,
I just found your blog. I hope you will get this comment.
My baby boy was born on Nov 28, 07. At 7 wks old he stopped breathing and we began a 3 month journey of PICU, vents, aspiration pneumonia, RSV, picc lines, central lines, cardiac episode, ng and nj tubes, xrays, etc., etc., etc. I know that what we've been through is only a fraction of what you're dealing with but I soooo feel your pain and isolation when you're with your baby at the hospital. I have a daughter too and I cried so much that I wasn't with her. I had lots of family come by but very few friends came. Partly because my son had to be isolated but partly because I think they were scared.
Your children are beautiful and I plan on following your blog.

Domestically Disabled Girl said...

This struck a cord with me as my brother died on Thanksgiving of 2002. One day, about 3 weeks into his hospital stay an old girlfriend said she was coming to visit. He had my aunt trim his hair and wash it. He asked a nurse to change him into a regular shirt- and waited. and waited. She never showed.
The next time we heard from her she was crying after his death. Too little, too late. Other friends did the same thing. Apparently sometimes in our busy lives, we are too busy to take 1 hour out to visit others, to cheer them. I don't blame these people, I don't have the heart to, but I hope that they think the next time they make a promise- it might be the last time they can.

tara @ kidz said...

I found you through HennHouse and I'm soooo glad! This was beautiful.

My blog (kidzorg.blogspot.com) is a place to put all these types of stories in one place so they're easier to find. Would you give permission for me to use this, or another one of your amazing stories if you'd prefer. Please let me know. I would love it!

Thanks

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